Monday, December 14, 2009

Cat Watch - Day 1

We have a cat. I don't mention the cat much because we have three kids who occupy most of our time. And she's a cat. Cat's don't do much. Actually, it isn't even my cat. It's Heather's cat. It came into our marriage with her. It's almost a cat-in-law to me.

I'm allergic to cats, by the way. The cat was so important to Heather that she had me take weekly allergy shots for two and a half years so I could live in the same apartment as that cat. Then I made friends with the cat and sort of took over the cat care responsibilities. By cat care, I mean cleaning up cat puke and changing litter boxes. It may as well be my cat now - or at least our cat.

We have a problem with the cat, though. She is violent. This wasn't a big deal until we had kids. It was pretty humorous actually. It's funny to have a new person in the house and warn them that the cat is violent, only to see the person be mauled while yelling "animals love me," "cats love me," "help me," etc. etc. This one does not like you. She doesn't like anyone.

You wouldn't know she was a brutal beast from the Christmas card pictures above. We have dressed the cat as a child for our Christmas card pictures every year. It's the kind of joke that's funnier when people don't know you're kidding.

We were skeptical that Francesca would be able to handle the kids and continue to be a house cat. We were pleasantly surprised to see that she would let the kids pull on her fur and ears and not try to kill them. She even made the first family Christmas card picture, sans Mom and Dad, last year.

The whole family: Piper, Henry, Rosemary and Francesca.

I guess there was a point in the kids' development where they got big and fast enough to really do some damage to the cat. Least week the cat stuck back, putting a couple scratches on Piper's arm. It was in self defense, for sure, but that still doesn't fly. Kids are going to pull on an animal. The animal can either take it or it can't be around the kids. That's pretty simple.

We thought the cat fighting back might be a fluke, so we gave her a second chance. Then, this past Saturday, Francesca got so mad at the kids I was sure injury was imminent. Francesca was hissing and swatting and her hair was falling out. It was bad for everyone involved.

I decided, with Heather's consent, that it was time for Francesca to experience the great outdoors. The few times she's made a break for the yard, she's really liked it. I figured it would be a slow transition, where she would spend most of her time on our screen porch and then venture off little by little though the open screen door into the yard.

I went to the pet store yesterday and bought Francesca a nice outdoor bed for the porch and a red break-away collar in case she got stuck on something. I put on her collar, with our name and phone number on the tag and set her free.

She was on the back porch for about an hour and then she disappeared.

Ten freaking years that cat was with us and she just took off. I hope she took off anyway. Heather and I were talking last night about how we hoped she was OK. Heather was glad she had a new collar and it had our contact information on it. I just kept on asking, where the hell is that cat. Seriously, where is the cat? We live in a neighborhood. It's just houses in every direction and they're all the same. It isn't like she found a better house. This one has food, water, and a cat bed on the porch. She's lived here for almost seven years. I don't get it.

This morning I went looking for her around the house and found her collar hanging on a hydrangea. Sooooo . . . she is collarless and missing.

I can't very well make a sign to get the cat back just so I can put her in the yard again. She can't come back in the house and attach herself to one of the kids' faces. Maybe she'll come back. I hope she's OK.

On top of feeling like jerk for causing my little buddy to suffer from his procedure, I may be a cat executioner. I really want her to come back and be a yard cat. Maybe she didn't understand my intentions.

Here kitty. Come home. Sorry about that thing where I put you in the yard after ten years of being a house cat.

If you see a gray cat in a J.Crew sweater, drop me a line.


  1. Awww... so sorry I'm laughing, and I hope your cat comes home! I see a few similarities - minus the clothing - with our feline friend.

    Our cat adopted us when she was a few weeks old, I think out of desperation (it was -34 degrees outside) and she has been pissed off every day since for the last year and not afraid to show it.

    Until now, I hadn't had the idea to make her an outdoor cat, wink, wink...

    Hope your cat is safe and just giving you the cold shoulder for a bit!

  2. it's funny. i had a cat that i brought into our marriage, too, and my husband is allergic to her. and when i was pregnant i foisted the litter box duties to him and never took them over again (hey, i change the poopy diapers, it's only fair.)

    fortunately, stinky is too lazy to be much harm to the kids (and they're scared of her anyway, not sure why) so i'm not too worried. if she ever ever ever scratches one of my boys, though, she'll be outside too. but i know she won't run away. she's too lazy for that.

    i hope your cat gets found, though. those christmas cards are hilarious! you need her around to make more!

  3. Have you lost your senses? You know by putting this out there, you are going to be hit with at least 263 anonymous comments from animal cruelty activists.

    And no WONDER she is violent Gary!! If I were a cat, and was forced to dress like a little YoCat----I'd be violent too :o)

    She's gonna turn up---sorry to break it to you.

    When she does, take her to the vet and get her de-clawed. I would be happy to give you the low down on the procedure(in my former life, I was a vet surgery tech.)

    You will see that her criteria for lashing out will dramtically change.

    Besides, the kids do eventually grow up and grow out of torturing animals.

    We have a mean cat too and he has struck a few times. The kids catch on amazingly fast.

    They have learned what they are in for if they don't respect his personal space!

    I hope she comes home quick, but it would be just like a mean cat to stick it to you with guilt, worry and all that nonsense.

    Try not to fall for it! I'll be praying.

  4. Don't worry, she'll come back. Remember how my childhood cat was lost for 5 weeks last summer and then just reappeared one day? And I hate to break it to you, but my cat is almost 17 years old and is still alive and kickin'... You will probably have many more happy years with that sweet cat.


  5. Thanks for the well wishes. It worked.