Zombie Cat started out life as a generic pet-shop kitten. No one knew what genetic mutations were hidden away under that blasé exterior. He was just a plain looking flabby tabby cat that was known for his stupidity. He would often walk into doors and fall off of furniture. He never landed on his feet. He would wander around the house honking out his peculiar meow, staring at things that weren’t there and drooling. Sometimes he would jump up and run around like the devil himself was after him, almost like a seizure, and then stop mid leap and turn into a completely calm and normal cat again. Not panting with a wild look in his eye, or exhausted on the verge of comatose, just normal. It was as if some sort of switch had been flipped on and then off. Back then his nickname was “Short Bus Kitty” and we all loved to laugh at him.
Looking back part of his problems may have been attributed to his lack of whiskers. Our older cat made sure through extensive grooming rituals that Short Bus’ whiskers never grew back, not even his eyebrows or the tufts in his ears. I suppose that may have created some balance and awareness issues. After our older cat’s untimely death by coyote poor Short Bus spent a whole year surprised by every random air current, startling every time a stray whisker brushed against a wall or a piece of furniture. But that wasn’t the whole problem.
Once, after the return of his whiskers, he got stuck high in a tree. I found him as I was heading out to work and rather than fetch the ladder and be late to my job, I decided he needed to learn how to climb down for himself and left him there. When I returned late in the evening I found him in the exact same place in the tree with no voice left and a pretty good sunburn. Opps! I did feel really bad about that one. I should have realized that Short Bus was not capable of the independence of other cats and I kept him under more careful supervision after that.
Soon he became an outdoor-only cat due to his great love of snakes. He would drag them inside the house and leave them unhurt and unattended. After the grandparents found and killed one in the baby’s crib and I had one fall directly onto my head out of a cupboard, screaming so loud that the Curmudgeon, who was just pulling into the garage from a relaxing motorcycle ride, was convinced that his family was being murdered and charged in, firearm at the ready – Short Bus was evicted forever. And just for the record I fear, hate, loathe, and abhor snakes – Urgh!!
Once we moved to the great frozen north, Short Bus had trouble getting used to the concept of freezing. That first winter we had set-up a cozy spot for the cats in the barn with straw bales, a heated mat, a heated water bowl and a cat-flap for easy entry. It worked just fine until the temperature took a dip to -30. Short Bus decided to come sit on the cement front stoop and yowl. I left the cozy fire at 9 p.m., put on my parka and mittens and boots, picked up the cat and returned him to the cozy heated mat in the barn with the other two smarter cats. Then I did it again at 10 p.m., 1 a.m., 3 a.m., 5 a.m. and then I finally lost it and screamed “FUCK IT – go ahead and FREEZE!!” at 7 a.m., showered, and went to work.
I fully expected to find a cat-cicle on my porch when I returned, but was pleasantly surprised to find Short Bus in the barn with the other cats. Unfortunately he had frostbitten his ears, but he did learn to stay inside the barn when it was cold. The tips of his ears kinda peeled back and got all crusty. In the spring he lost them entirely. The Foxinator was there. She chased A.C. around with one of the dead shed ear tips and told him she was going to stuff it down the back of his shirt. “Short Bus Kitty” became “Short Ears” and life moved on.
Next up “Zombie Cat – Shit Gets Weird”