The Cattitude Chronicles: When Bliss Goes Awry
Funny how the topic of a blog post can change in an instant.
While preparing to begin this week’s post, I settled in at the kitchen table with a cup of hot tea—Bigelow Constant Comment, for the curious amongst you—and my laptop, Charlotte, named after a certain eponymous spider who, as it happens, was also a devoted lover of words. A picture window overlooks the back yard and a bird feeder hangs less than two feet away, so we see a close-up parade of finches, sparrows, chickadees, and the occasional red-headed woodpecker or cardinal. I love it when the woodpeckers arrive. They’re huge compared to the other birds and too big for the feeder by far, not that this deters them. The gyrations they go through to nosh at Chez Claro are amusing to say the least, and give a new meaning to the phrase “will work for food.”
Anyway, you get the idea of how I expected my afternoon to go.
Added to the birds was my cat Tabitha, or Tabby for short, who has been most unlike her usual self since the passing of her sister-cat, Bailey.
Where Bailey was gentle and sweet, Tabby is large and in charge, and I mean that in every way possible. Tabby rules the abode. Even the dogs do what she says, and they do it without argument or question. When she decides she wants some snuggle time, she scoots in as if a cat sleeping with a dog is the norm. The dogs accept her affection with resigned dignity.
Anyway, I’ve often thought I’d love to possess Tabby’s self-image as she harbors not even a smidgen of self-doubt. She’s Queen, and you better believe it.
But since Bailey crossed the Rainbow Bridge, Tabby has been affectionate in the extreme. Being affectionate isn’t unusual for Tabby, she’s always been a snuggler, but being so needy about it—that’s new. And that, Buttercup, is what I planned to write about.
Oh, yes, indeed! I had great notions of penning a heartwarming post about The New Tabitha (she says, dewy-eyed). The New Tabitha, you see, wants to be near me all the time. She lies on my lap in the evenings, a spot Bailey used to claim. Last night she slept snuggled with me where Bailey used to sleep. And she has begun, while I’m working, to sit in my lap and rest her head on the back of my hand and leave it there even as my fingers tap-tap the keys. It isn’t the most comfortable situation for either of us, but she seems to need the reassurance that even though her sister is gone, Love remains.
So, now to the point. I sat to write, all comfy with my tea and my birds and my cat. Ah, bliss! And then Luna, our resident domestic terrorist and Tabby’s feline nemesis, crashed the party.
Oh, wait. Wrong photo. Here’s what she looks like now:
Tabby took one look at Luna and the arched-back hissing match was on. I intervened in an effort to keep Luna from becoming an advertisement for skinned meat, and Tabby, in the throes of her murderous intent, bit the living *&$^%&^*! out of my hand.
This was not The New Tabitha. This was Ye Olde Tabby, and she left me with a deep puncture wound in the tendon area below my thumb. I leapt from my chair and danced around in “Ow, ow, ow!” mode (I said some other stuff, too, but this is a G-rated blog). The hubster, who is suffering a nasty cold, heard my bellows of pain through his substantial cold-meds haze and came running to pour peroxide into the wound and cover it with Neosporin and a Band-Aid.
A call to the vet assured me that Tabby is up on all her shots, but they stressed the importance of a doctor visit for antibiotics as cat bites can turn nasty in a flash. They weren’t kidding.
So there was the abrupt end to my tea-sipping, bird-watching, cat-purring, blog-posting, sweet-on-The-New-Tabitha writing celebration. And instead of a heartfelt piece about how Tabby has been impacted by the loss of her sister-cat, Bailey, I’m writing about how the old bitch bit the ever-loving sh** out of my hand and sent me to the doctor for antibiotics under threat of a tetanus shot.
So, yeah, like I said. Funny how the topic of a blog post can change in an instant. See, in spite of all the purrs and affection, Tabitha aka Tabby aka The Queen aka That Damned Cat is still the most cantankerous creature in the Claro castle.
Important stuff I learned:
- Never interrupt a cat fight with your bare hands.
- Water spray-bottles are a cat owner’s friend.
- A tiger doesn’t change its stripes, and neither will Tabby.
- Tabby’s neediness and efforts to fill all the holes left by Bailey’s passing may not be for her. Maybe, just maybe, that sweet, rotten, lovable, cranky old girl is doing it for me.
Update: No tetanus shot, as I had one just six years ago, but I’m on Augmentin for two weeks and must soak my sore and swollen hand in Epsom salts for 15 minutes, then elevate for another 10 minutes, three times a day for the next five days. What a royal pain in the arse. My critique partner believes this is the Universe telling me to stop working 18 hours a day and to take a break. And I will. Right after I finish my next book.
P.S. The New Tabitha is, at the moment, purring with her head resting on the back of my hand. Ye Olde Tabby is lurking beneath the still waters of The New Tabitha and is keeping out a watchful eye for her arch enemy, Luna. Little Old Me is armed with a full spray bottle, and I know how to use it.
Have you ever suffered a serious animal bite, and if so, what were the consequences? Also, do you have any clue how to get two warring cats to co-exist without fur flying? Please leave a comment—I need all the advice I can get.
Now, off to soak the hand.
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