I have always enjoyed cats. They are pretty, a touch mysterious, lithe, soft, ruthless, and very protective of their young. And they purr–what’s not to like? From earliest childhood, I’ve known the sensation of soft paws landing on the bed in the dark, followed by a deliberate circling and settling in on the covers. When you are a child terrified of the dark, that self-possessed, warm presence feels like the visitation of an angel.
My family knows of my feline inclinations, and thus in the middle of the pandemic, a relative who was also in the middle of a divorce (what fun–NOT) called me. “Can you take Augustus? I’m really sorry to ask, because he’s not an easy cat, but we can’t come up with a plan for him, given that we’re both moving we know not where, and Gus doesn’t like upheaval.”
Gus is a mature, neutered male cat, but he does not take the neutered part very seriously. He loathes other cats, dogs, alterations of routine, changes of diet, noise, the scary out of doors, and birds who dare flutter past the window. Had he ever met squirrels, rabbits, or mice, he’d probably take dim view of them too.
Gus expresses his frequent displeasure by peeing–on everything. If another cat approaches him, Gus delivers a sound drubbing and then goes on a ram-pee-ge. The walls, the floors, and if he’s vexed beyond all bearing, upholstery. Gus has taught the universe many urinary lessons, and no vet has been able to find a medical cause for this charming behavior.
He’s a beautiful cat to look at–one quarter Siamese, big innocent eyes, lovely brindle and white markings (that’s him in the top photo), and I swear a hair analysis would reveal him to be a male tricolor (virtually impossible). Because he is gorgeous, but also a man of such particulars, he has several failed adoptions on his resume.
The pandemic filled up shelters, and this contrary cat had no good options. “Send him to me. I have some ideas.”
Gus arrived shortly thereafter, looking ready to visit pee-magedon on any who touched him. It took a little while, but he’s now king of the whole upstairs, which he rules in solitary splendor, but for my regular intrusions. He has a litter box in every room, the run of two big permanent-access balconies, five cat towers, and–from me–an embarrassment of affection. Should any feline fool breach the citadel, Gus sorts ’em out with much noise and batting of paws, and–I think–he delights in doing so.
He hasn’t taken a rage-whiz in ages. A happily ever after for one wee beast. But what about for his personal body guard, chamber maid, chief cook, personal shopper, and chin-scratcher?
In recent days, I’ve found the news upsetting–seems like the news has been upsetting for years now. My usual wind-down routine at the end of the day is to read Golden Age British detective mysteries. Ye gods, the prose… the humor… the world building. But even my cherished Ngaio Marsh series hasn’t been disconnecting me from my worries lately.
Enter Gus. Now that he’s happily in charge of his world, he allows of the occasional frolic, and, lordy, that cat can frolic. If I get out the squeaky-feathers toy at the end of the day, Gus will fly around the bedroom, killing it to death, performing airs above the carpet, and generally being ridiculous.
Five minutes of Feathers, and I have usually laughed out loud, engaged in silly talk with my cat, and become completely absorbed in one variety of fun. If I do this (and read my storiestoo, of course), I can let the day go much more easily. The cat who couldn’t find a home has made my home a happier place for me.
How are you managing worry and fretfulness these days? Any new coping mechanisms presenting themselves?