New Home Blues
Nov 11 2019

New Home Blues

By: Debbie Lindsey

Lefty here. I just giving you an update on my transition to premature retirement. It sucks. Oh, there was no choice. The shop had to close, and my people made sure I could remain with them. This is great in that I have become quite attached to them and also just couldn't imagine returning to life on the street and under houses. But, damn, I had become a shop cat and a damn good one at that.

The shop was big-really big-and I had the complete run of it. Sure, I shared it with the little dog, Scout, but she was more than happy to let me take full control of the space. It was explained to me that I would now have feline roommates at the house-my new home. In fact, one of the cats is my long-lost sister Frankie (adopted from my feral family when she was three-weeks-old-weeks before they discovered me and the rest of the family). Heck, having a sister to live with might be just the ticket-someone with whom to share secrets, advice, grooming tips, etc. Perhaps it would be great to live once again within a clowder of like-minded felines. No matter how much my people and I love each other, a cat needs the camaraderie of fellow cats. Or so I thought.

These three cats are a tough lot. Frankie, my own flesh, fur, and blood, looks at me like, "Who the f*#k are you?" She is the entitled one; they call her Princess. And then there is Opie, and I was assured he's just a big, ol' teddy bear. This big orange tabby is aptly called the "closer." He will commandeer every bite of food from your plate if you let your guard down. There's no leisurely dining here. Opie's not aggressive but exhibits classic food-insecurity-syndrome; otherwise, he appears an affectionate sort, but, right now, I seem to scare the hell out of him, so he's constantly hissing and puffing his fur all out and about, acting like some big brute-but really he's a big sissy.

My lady person (aka Cat Lady, Food Lady, Mom, or just Debbie) tries to make us all feel like family and constantly bribes us with treats. All the cats are hip to this behavioral technique and stage hostile actions which trigger her to step in and give out snacks in vain attempts to deescalate. I do my part by crossing enemy lines frequently to garner more snacks. Food Guy (aka Cat Lady's Squeeze, our Pop, or "just call me Phil") is a sucker for over-feeding us all, and he's our favorite. I do, however, see that Zack the Bastard has Debbie wrapped around his sharp clawed finger. She adds extra water to plump his food, shares her potato chips with him, and allows him to dictate what room and where in that room he deems suitable for his dining experience. And, Lord, don't get me started about how she spoils Scout the finicky eater by "seasoning" his bowl with a rub of cat food before adding dog kibble and topping it off with a watery broth (stanky canned cat food residue). Such pampered little things!

Don't get me wrong, I love that they fuss over us and are diligent about my "special needs" feline roommates. Apparently, they all are on prescription food, whatever that is. And, for some reason, I am not allowed to eat their food, and they are really not allowed to eat mine. My food seems to have crack in it 'cause all they want is to break into the larder and eat mine. Yes, meal time is utter chaos. Yet, it is everyone's favorite time of the day.

I already had a relationship with my people, but you do learn more about them when living together. And things are certainly different than at the shop. For one thing, there's no more customers. I liked customers. They always praised me; kept things lively.

And at my new home, rarely are there other people, except some really small ones that stay in this flat box thing, and they do all the talking while my people just sit and watch them-a lot. Weird.

I have found that people do not sleep enough-my people only sleep eight hours, and at night, of all times, when they should be hunting. Another really strange thing is they take their clothes (fur in many different colors and textures) off periodically and submerge themselves into a tank of water. Sometimes it even rains inside this tank, and they seem okay with that.

Of course, their eating habits still confound me, but I did have time to get familiar with it at work. They eat all the time, work, home, outside, and Scout says they even go other places to eat even more. Not that there's anything wrong with this. I would eat throughout the day if a certain orange cat would let me; I understand the concept of leisurely grazing. What still strikes me as odd is that they cook their food, and the only thing they ingest from a can is something called beer. And why they don't see roaches as a delicacy is beyond me.

Yes, it is going to take some getting used to. My people tell me that the other cats will settle in with me-that, in time, I will find my niche here. For now, I have my very own bed in my very own room and maybe, one day, the other cats will want to visit me and even invite me to join them in the rest of the house. Like I said, it will take some time, but I think it will be worth it.

Oops, here comes that damn orange cat. I better go and finish my lunch before I have to kick his butt.

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