We’ve always been the type of family to own pets. Never too many at one time, you understand, but we always had one good yard dog and a friendly house cat, maybe two. But in recent years, the felines that have come to live with my mom have been a tad on the strange side. Let’s take Mr. Billy, as an example.
Mr. Billy was a gift from my brother, who had the very best of intentions. He was a Ragdoll breed and was probably the prettiest cat I’ve ever seen with his seal point markings and bright, blue eyes. His breed was known to be lap cats, and for this reason alone, my brother just knew that my mom was going to love him. He even came with papers, which was a real change from the kittens we normally picked up at the dump. But there was a problem with Mr. Billy. His high breeding and sophisticated bloodlines had left him nervous about life in general, and he had a terrible compulsive disorder that manifested anytime Mom tried to change the furniture in the living room. The day she rearranged the recliners, he strolled in from a nap, saw the chaos, and began howling in earnest. The very idea that people should watch television facing due west was more than his tender nerves could bear, and subsequently, became more than any of our nerves could bear, either. Restructuring applied to people as well as to sofas, and if Mom and Dad tried to switch places from their assigned seats, Mr. Billy would dart back and forth between the two, screaming about a world gone mad until my parents relented and put the universe back in its proper place. He was a fragile soul that never would sit in laps, but he looked lovely curled up on an ivory afghan.
Years after the departure of Mr. Billy, mom found herself the benefactor of feline charity in the form of two kittens she dubbed Linus and Lucy. While not from an aristocratic family tree, they still came with eccentricities that we link back to the unconventional manner of their birth: they were found in an empty cement mixer in July. So while it’s difficult to ascertain if soaring Florida temperatures did anything to upset the delicate balance of their psyche, we knew from the beginning that mom had a couple of atypical felines on her hands. They gnawed wallpaper from the sheet rock like a couple of termites with an appetite for interior design, and to this day they have a difficult time with sudden movements that they deem sinister in nature. Like opening the refrigerator. One crack of that door and Lucy will all but rupture a disk hightailing it around the hall corner, claws clicking along the wood floors, to disappear under the bed where she will remain for a modest 6 hours or until I go home. Anytime Mom and I observe one of their psychotic episodes, we simply wag our heads and say, “A little too long in the cement mixer.”
Mom sometimes mentions that she wouldn’t mind having a little dog in the house, but I always ask her, “What if you get one like Linus and Lucy?” And that sobering thought is enough to stave off any adorable canines for the immediate future.
© 2014 – Traci Carver