Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Not sure how many lives she has left.

This post may or may not be an excuse to sing paeans of love to our cat (Emily's cat, really), Elly.

Elly is a rescue cat. She came to us with a catalog of feral-cat maladies:
  • Bad hip -- She yelps a little if you put pressure on her back end; she also has the absolute worst elevator-butt I've ever seen.
  • Clipped ear -- She arrived at the shelter with an infection that would not heal (she kept scratching at it), so they had to amputate the tip of her left ear. If she were male, we might have called her Vincent.
  • Feline stomatitis -- By the age of three, most of her teeth had decayed and she had chronic sinus infections. She now has only her four front canines [shouldn't they be felines?] left.
  • An intense, almost pathological, aversion to being carried. She will curl up on your lap (or shoulder or legs), but if you try to walk with her? Sheer panic. This almost caused us to lose her at the airport when we moved from Colorado to Ottawa. 
So we figure this cat has already lost two or three of her nine lives. 

But I suspect she came closest to strumming the heavenly kitty-harp after she came to our family. 

(Time for another picture? Okay.)

(Another one? All righty, then. Story continues after the picture.)

Here's the story of how Elly really pushed her luck. 

In our Colorado home we were fortunate to have so many bathrooms that one of the showers only ever got used when we had house guests. So most of the time that shower housed Elly's litter box. When we had house guests, we cleaned out the shower and moved the kitty litter into the adjacent furnace/utility room. 

One such time, we placed the litter box right next to the furnace. For no particular reason.

The next day, the cat left a "present" in Emily's closet. This was highly unusual, but we figured she'd been accidentally trapped in the room or something. 

Then she did the unthinkable: she used Peter's bed and pillow as her litter box. 
"Let us never speak of this."
Peter was beyond appalled. He was disgusted, enraged. He talked about how God gave man dominion over the animals and why should we shelter an animal that would defecate ON HIS BED?! 
We should get rid of the cat, he said. Why would we keep an animal in our home when it had demonstrated such filthy habits and lack of respect for its masters?

That's what I did. Peter sat, disgruntled, while I searched what would cause this behaviour. We finally traced it to the location of the litter box: the furnace fan must have come on while she was doing her business and scared the ^&$@ out of her, after which she was too afraid to go near it. We immediately moved the litter box and she resumed using it.

I explained to Peter that the behaviour was not an attack against him, but I have to admit I'd be hard pressed to feel empathy toward a creature that left turds on my pillow. 

[Incidentally, we did purchase a new mattress and pillow.]

Peter grudgingly accepted that the cat was staying, though he did not give it status of a full member of the family. 

For my part, I am content to let her push her brow against my arm, or breast, or tummy, with all her might as she silently asks me to love her. I accept her purrs as effortless thank-yous. And I will sit patiently for 30 minutes longer than I might have done if she happens to be curled up around my arm or on my lap.

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