Cats, Kids, and Dogs – Gang War Style

A couple of weeks ago, I was tasked with watching my sister’s cat as she did whatever it is social people do. (Something to do with going to a Key West-ian bachelorette party, if I remember correctly. Which I probably don’t, since as soon as she asked, “Can you watch Dexter?” I became so excited to have something locked in my apartment to which I could talk to for hours on end that I totally blocked the rest of the conversation out. It happens.) After the excitement wore off though, I began to feel a little scared.

I mean, I’m not new to caring for cats. I’ve watched my brother’s cats before, and we never had any problems. But then the first snaking tendril of doubt started inching its way towards my brain. My brother has three cats, and maybe that condition spared me any trouble. They could keep each other company as they steadfastly ignored the man who spent the better half of each day cleaning up their voluminous poo.

Also, I’ve always cared for these all these cats in the past. “Past” as in years ago, back when they were all kittens and a ball of yarn was all that was needed to capture their attention. A gap such as this might not seem too long in human years, but about in cat years?

After all, it’s common knowledge that a dog year is equivalent to seven human years. Which is why, famously, everyone buys dogs. Just try an experiment, buy a puppy and have a child on the same day, then evaluate their abilities one year later. While the dog will be making water on newspaper, if he hasn’t already started water-ing the lawn, the baby (male or female) will just cry whenever it soils itself. A cry, it must be noted, that’s exceedingly generic, in no way alerting you to the fact that he’s ready to start spraying urine everywhere, instead of, let’s say, scared of the demons lurking under his crib.

I promise, he's down there somewhere.

Similar to dogs, cats also age in a exaggerated fashion. Unlike the dogs who age seven years for each one of ours, cats actually age 37.4 years for every one of our minutes. This is why one minute after bringing a newborn cat home from the clinic, it’s already bored with you and your infantile talk. This is also why they want their food right when you come home at 4PM (dinner), and nap immediately afterwards.

Knowing this, I should not have been surprised when all my sister’s cat did was spend the better part of each day under my couch’s cover. He’d eat snacks from under there (breakfast/lunch in bed), while haphazardly clicking away at the remote pointed at a television he could not see. (Yet another human trait cats pick up early due to their abbreviated aging process. My father didn’t start watching television with his eyes closed until he was in his forties.)

Don't be fooled. He's just waiting, plotting his escape.

It wouldn’t be until nightfall that the cat would crawl out from under the cushions. Causing me untold anxiety as my window screens are held in by only a few flimsy, easily bent metal fixtures and a whole lot of luck. Would the cat lean too far out, popping the screens out, and falling eight feet to the earth below? Leaving him disorientated and alone in downtown St. Pete, to spend the night with the hobos in the library’s park?

Or would he wait until I fell asleep, then grab my phone and order all the QVC products he had been listening to all day; painstakingly pawing each little phone number in his equally tiny cat notebook?

(A notebook they all have, causing many to think cats are just miniature, furry reporters. Well, they’re not. The notebook’s just where they keep their little kitty tip calculators for when they dine out.)

Dexter did eventually calm down and join the rest of the world with normal hours. Normalizing mere hours before his vacation ended.


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