I recently acquired a cat. I did this of my own free will but I cannot say just why. Presumably I was impressed with it’s fierce reputation as a mouse killing machine. More likely I was just too damn happy and needed another cat to make my life suck.
I hoped to replace Curmudgeon compound’s markedly inferior indoor cat with this supposedly excellent mouser. (See The Best Sales Pitch Ever, Chipmunk Wars Part I, II, III, IV, V, and Useless Cat Update.) When it arrived I gently introduced the new cat to the out of favor (and soon to be fired) cat. They greeted each other with the joy of the cold war and the sound of scarcely contained rage. They didn’t, however, fight.
I considered explaining the new workplace hierarchy to the fired cat by grabbing it by the scruff of the neck and tossing it into the snow. Alas it was -11 that day and I figured nothing could survive the transition. I hate cats but I wouldn’t toss one into bitter weather if it had no experience in the cold. Unless, that is, the creature in question gave me an excuse. Miraculously the fired cat sensed my mood and behaved like an angel. Opportunity lost. I decided the fired cat gets to stay indoors until the robins return or it pisses me off; whichever comes first.
The two cats spent the next several days circling each other like tactical submarines. Also like tactical submarines they stayed hyper alert yet refrained from going to all out war. It was mostly prowling and bluff. The new cat seemed to accept that other cats exist and are not edible and are therefore to be ignored or occasionally bullied. The old cat was furious at the interloper but whenever it got too aggressive it was batted down like a bowling pin in front of a tank. I had to admit the newcomer wasn’t a wimp.
The dog, which is condition white with fur, occasionally bumbled near the new cat. Whenever it did, the new cat would poof up to twice it’s size and make sounds like a transmission getting powershifted from overdrive to first gear at 10,000 rpm while being thrown into a volcano. It would lash furiously out at the dog. The dog, which has fur like a woolly mammoth and could probably eat a Buick, scarcely noticed. One day the new cat landed a claw through the dog’s twin armor of size and oblivion. The dog instantly and without hesitation let out a single bark that would make a wolf die at a quarter mile. The cat more or less vaporized. It wasn’t seen for days. Apparently it learned it’s lesson because now it co-exists with the dog quite nicely. I like my dog.
Then, because I’m an idiot. I left town. I instructed the cats to stay away from the credit cards and firearms, kill and eat anything smaller than themselves, and crap only in designated areas. The same instructions I’d give a teenager. Then I drove away wondering what sorts of entropy would ensue in my unsupervised house. The dog was kenneled off premises. A good friend (and original source of the new cat) dropped by once daily to give the cats food and water. Every so often she’d text us on the road to report the situation.
[Day 1] “Everything fine.”
[Day 2] “Everything still fine.”
[Day 3] “One of the cats is missing.”
Um… how can an indoor cat be missing? It can be dead or on fire but it can’t simply not be. Even Shrodeger’s cat was somewhere. Unless it tunneled through the foundation it hadn’t left. I texted back. “Missing? How?”
The answer, and I deserved it, was this:
[Day 4] “It’s not here… that’s how.”
I assumed the new cat had gotten lost in the subbasement and was dead. That would be a gruesome task for spring when I finally figured out it’s location. Yuck!
[Day 5] “Old cat still missing.”
What’s this? The old cat was gone? Not the new cat? The old cat should know the nooks and crannies of the house since they’re the parameters of it’s known universe. Where could it be?
[Day 6] “Found the old cat. It was locked in a bathroom. It’s hungry but ok.”
We’ve lived in this house the old cat’s entire life. Now, and never before, it found a way to lock itself in the bathroom? I didn’t buy it. I concluded foul play had ensued. The new cat had traitorously lured the old cat into the room and locked it there. I was impressed. “That’s how you win a fight!” I enthused to Mrs. Curmudgeon “Lock the opponent in an unpleasant situation of your choosing. Starve the bastard to death. Win the war without a shot fired. Well played!”
Then it got weird.
[Day 7] “What’s with the garlic?”
Ok I’ll play the game; what is with the garlic? I gave up and called. Turns out that one or more of the cats had found a big bag of garlic powder and spread it all over the place. Obligatory jokes about vampires ensued. Mrs. Curmudgeon and I wondered where the hell the cat (or cats) found a bag of garlic.
Then I made the worst mistake of the month. I came home. In retrospect I should have stayed on the road. Possibly firebombed the house and headed south where a man can wear a t-shirt without losing limbs to frostbite. I like my house but it’s in a cold location. Furthermore it’s a shithole and my truck is neat and orderly…also mobile. Which is a better place to live? It’s a no brainer if you ask me.
Both cats greeted us at the door as if to assure us of their undying love. I wasn’t fooled. Cats, like robots, psychopaths, and politicians, cannot feel love.
I looked at the garlic powder. It was a thick layer throughly coating one floor of Curmudgeon Compound. It was a terrible mess. I had dark thoughts involving running cats and pellet rifles. The dog stuck close by my side as if to cement it’s already iron clad alibi. Smart dog.
It turns out that the cat, and I’m sure it was the new one, had decided to attack my “camping food”. I’d carefully stored my stuff sealed up and in a closed cabinet but that wasn’t enough to stop the damn creature from getting in and running amok. It spread several plastic bags worth of powdery mess around like it was paid by the square inch to trash my house. It wasn’t entirely garlic. It was a combination of stale pizza crust mix, fish breading, spices, and something unidentifiable which originated in an MRE. It was everywhere.
What kind of creature starts a fight with an MRE!?!
I’m still cleaning up the mess. I’ll be shaking powder out of backpacks and hunting jackets forever. Rather than cleanup I proposed we move to a new house. Mrs. Curmudgeon is less dramatic… but then again it isn’t her camping gear that’s been tainted by a feline terrorist.
Meanwhile I haven’t seen the slightest hint of a mouse. Mice aren’t stupid; they’ve all left the county. Anything that’ll eat an MRE would consider a mouse to be steak with feet.
And that’s today’s cat update.