Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Cats Can be Grumpy too


Fitz did not come in when he was supposed the other night.
I saw him when I came home from work. I said “Hi Handsome”, gave him some kibble, spouted on how wonderful he was... the usual.
It was not yet dark, that was an hour or so away, so I changed into some jeans and a top I had in my garage and set off to the park with a can of kitty chow and water.

You see, there is a young female cat that has been living in the park, right up the hill from the side entrance, probably for a few months now.  At least when I think back it most likely is the same tortoise shell kitty I had seen a couple of months ago.  But now she looked like a cat that hadn’t eaten a good meal for a long time.
I and a friend saw her, or should I say, we heard her, meowing.  It was just getting dark and after stopping to peer into the bushes, we saw this little tiny thing. Kitty kitty we said, and she started meowing back piteously.  We called kitty kitty back.
I couldn't leave it at that.
 
But this is Fitz’s story.

So off I went in my park clothes…ones I kept in the garage because I had been trudging through poison oak for the past two weeks feeding this park feline.  Coming back down, I was feeling energetic and hopeful that soon, with some help from a very good organization, this kitty can soon be captured and transported to a new home.

The heat wave was still on, the night finally bringing in some cool breezes, but the apartment was still hot and stuffy. So when I got back, I shucked off the park clothes, put on some gym clothes, ready to set off and exercise my bum knees on the elliptical while I still had residual energy.

No Fitz.
It was getting dark now and time for Fitz to be inside kitty.
That is the rule.
Dark time. Inside kitty time.
It was an agreement I thought we’d both understood.
I called and shook the box of kibble.
No Fitz.

And you know what, I actually had to think.  Had I imagined seeing him when I got home from work?  Greeting him each night has become part of a routine, a ritual.  Something taken for granted almost. until it is not.
I called, shook the box, looked in the bushes and around to the other side of the house.
Then I looked over the fence.  A huge dog, but at least with a collar, was in the back open space area, milling around.  Not good.
Huge dogs and any cats in the area do not bond.  These big lumbering slob things, idiots that they are, just see and chase.  Can’t blame the dog…it’s the owners that need a knock in the noggin for letting them run free where it is restricted.
Not that this dog did anything at all, but having seen other tear after Fitz, bad thoughts started popping up.

And then I remembered.

Mosquitoes love me.  There is something in my blood that attracts them from 2 miles away, so in the park the last few nights, I was being eaten alive.  This night I had decided to take action before heading up to the park.
I had bought a spray can of Deep Woods Off.
After changing into my park clothes, I had gone outside and started spraying it on my arms and rubbing it in. 
The makers had definitely improved the scent of the stuff.  I had been dreading that smell.  I hadn’t used the stuff since, well, when?  But it had always given me a gagging reflex. 
This stuff actually smelled like some stuff you put on after a bath.
So since I was already suffering from numerous bites from past nights, the more the better, right?
I started spraying it all over me, clothes and the rest, big wide circles of spray, up and down and all around.
A virtual tornado cloud of spray.

Unfortunately, I had not seen that Fitz had parked himself right there under the lawn chair next to me.
Yup, now I remembered his big eyes, fur bristling, desperately twirling in circles under the chair trying to get away from the nasty stuff slowly settling around him.
Fitz has always been sensitive to odors. Giving him Advantage flea medication is a challenge to say the least, and he had just gone through that this morning.   Stiff on my lap, he had let me do the terrible deed and no cooing and soft words will ever make up that once a month degradation and the horrible smell (only he smells), that will linger on the back of his neck for an hour or more.
And here I was doing it again, only 1000 times more potent.
Suddenly, his momentum faltered, he found a break in the tight circle he had formed and shot out like a  cannon ball into the front yard.
Yup, now I remember.

So, nowhere to be seen… making his point that he was horribly wronged and sticking to it.

When Fitz was young and he would not come in at dark, it would place me in a panic that slowly built throughout the first few minutes of my search, that led into 30 minutes, then an hour ….and then all cognitive thought processes ceased.  In its place, all the horrible scenarios of what could have happened is played out frame by frame in my brain, until he would eventually walk through his kitty door.

So now that he is older and has had enough of sowing his wild oats, this disappearance was very unusual, though understandable.  As he has gotten older, I could rely on him to eventually show up. He is a kitty adult now and I can rely that his endless pit of a kitty stomach will eventually lead him through his kitty door.  So I kept the kitty door in, left a note for my new flat mate to please lock him in if he saunters on past her, and went to the gym. Even two years ago, I would not have been able to do this without an anxiety attack, so kudos to me. 

Driving back home after a good workout and into my parking space, the lights were on and sure enough, there was Fitz in the window looking out at me.
I was relieved and happy to see him.
Unfortunately, he had been a terror to my flat mate whom had just recently lost a beloved cat of 18 years before she moved in with me.  She was thrilled when she moved in that she would have a new cat to lavish affection on.
Instead, she got Fitz.
Fitz - who hates to be picked up, let alone held.  Maybe in winter, I told her, then Fitz may decide he wants body heat and doesn’t mind whose it is. 

Indignant Fitz, whom my friend lured in with the kibble, had not wanted to stay in and proceeded to try to get out of the door before it was fully secure. 
Fitz lost.
And he let everyone, including me, know his displeasure by making a big stink in his litter box and hissing up a storm all the rest of the evening.
And yet…

He is also the kitty who after many a trying day, will come up to me, let me pet and brush him, purring up a storm, making satisfied grumphs noises and bring a smile to my face when I most need one.

Everyone can have a bad day.
Including cats.
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