Exciting times at Chez Saintcrow.
The cat’s come upstairs.
I’ve waited to tell how Fearless!Cat came to us. Originally, she was my father-in-law’s. His cat of nearly twenty years (you read that right, that animal was cranky and very long-lived) passed on finally, and after a long lonely interval an all-black kitten (except for a single spot of white on her chest) came to keep him company. She had a habit of taking on things several sizes larger than herself–raccoons, azaleas, couches, washing machines–which added spice to her otherwise very sweet disposition.
Fast forward a few years, past the divorce and various other events…and all of a sudden, my ex-husband and his father were in the same assisted-living facility (long story, full of diabetes, South American countries, strokes, and pneumonia) and someone’s got to take care of the poor cat. Cue up Yours Truly, a sucker if there ever was one, and a four-hour drive with a yowling cat in the front seat and chattering kids in the back in unseasonably hot weather. (Don’t even ask about the traffic, OMG.)
Anyway, we got Fearless settled downstairs with the cat food, water, and litterbox. The Mad Tortie was alternately enchanted by and profoundly suspicious of this turn of events. Being raised with dogs, the Tortie didn’t quite get what this other creature in her house was, even though it seemed awwwwwful familiar. Miss B, of course, couldn’t wait to get her snout close to the new arrival and untangle its fascinating aromas. Odd Trundles?
Well, he can handle the stairs off the deck in back, but he can’t go down the inside stairs. I mean, I’m sure he could, but they’re slippery hardwood, and he’s front-heavy, so he’s avoided them from the very beginning. There’s more than enough upstairs in the main living area to keep him occupied, especially since my office and the kitchen are both up there. So while Odd knew something had happened, he wasn’t quite sure what.
At first, Fearless hid in the couch downstairs. Then she moved to the guest bedroom. For a while we didn’t see her, but evidence in the food bowl and litterbox let us know she was still alive. Then she came out while the kids were downstairs watching movies or playing video games, and the petting and attention she received soothed her marvelously.
Then she twigged to the fact that there was a whole upstairs, and the yowling began.
She wouldn’t come up the stairs, oh no. She could be coaxed to the landing, but then Odd Trundles could see her, and when he began wiggling and chuffing and inviting her up the final flight with play barks and drooling, back down into the daylight dungeon she went. And yet, she wanted to come upstairs where the humans have dinners and sleeps! The Mad Tortie wasn’t enough company for her, she knew the pets are where the humans are.
Her solution? Screaming up the stairs. “I’M LONELY! COME DOWN HERE! THAT THING UPSTAIRS, IT’S FRIGHTENING. SO YOU COME DOWN HERE. I SAID COME DOWN HERE! WHY AREN’T YOU LISTENING TO YOUR MISTRESS? GOD DAMN IT, I’M GOING TO…OOOOH, IS THAT CATNIP?”
Yeah, the Princess thought catnip would help lure her up to the landing and calm her. Unfortunately, Fearless would hit the catnip, roll in it, then get the munchies and head back downstairs for the food bowl and some staring at the blank television screen. *eyeroll*
Of course this noise coming from downstairs drove Odd Trundles into an ecstasy of writhing, barking, wriggling, and joy. “I HEAR YOU! NEW FRIEND! SPEAK DOG, CAN’T UNDERSTAND. BUT I HEAR!” Sort of like SETI picking up actual alien communication, I guess.
I thought she might just decide downstairs was enough of a kingdom for her…but last night, while I was finishing up some revisions, the Princess showed up at my office door. “Guess what?” she whispered. “Fearless is upstairs!”
“Close the office door,” I whispered back. “I’ll keep the dogs in here.”
Despite bolting for downstairs an hour later when I had to take the dogs out (Odd Trundles was ecstatic at the prospect of a new friend AND the prospect of peeing, which is one of his great joys in life) she apparently found much to recommend the fabled country of upstairs, because she braved it once again to sleep on the Little Prince’s bed. By “sleep” I mean “roll around, demand petting, and knead all damn night.” The Prince was happy to have her there, though.
So now she knows upstairs exists. She’s touched noses with Miss B downstairs, and B, no stranger to cats, knows when to back off and leave one alone, no matter how fascinating it smells. Odd, though…well, it worries me a little. Still, Fearless can levitate, and she has those scythes on each paw…
…you know, I’m sort of more worried for Odd than her, really.
I’ll keep you posted.