Hissing and snarling

We own three cats.  Each one sports an oddity.

Roy is a paranoid female shaped like a 10-pound deer, only gray, black and stripey.  She hates me and runs from me as if I’m Jack Nicholson in “The Shining” chasing her with an ax.

Chestnut’s back legs twist in slightly and she has only half a tail which ends in a hook.

Only Smokey has long hair, including tufts between all her toes.  She weighs fourteen pounds and if you attempt to lift her, she squeaks.

We adopted them from a neighbor down the street whose pets obviously did not practice safe sex.

Despite my pleas, I am usually the only one who cleans the litter box.

So, now that you know the cast of characters, let me tell you about last Friday.

Last Friday I was upstairs in my bathroom when I heard the horrifying sounds of a cat fight.  I ran downstairs to find Smokey and Chestnut tangled under the kitchen table in a cloud of hissing fur.  I began screaming like a lunatic, waving my hands, moving kitchen chairs away from the table.  They stopped mid-attack and hunched into defensive poses, making scary cats noises.  Chestnut had her back against the wall, emitting a low growl.

Smokey sprang back onto Chestnut and I screamed so loud that one of my impossible-to-wake teenagers emerged from his room.

Chestnut ran for safety with Smokey in hot, hissing pursuit.

I continued my ineffective screaming (STOP IT STOP IT STOP IT!) and waved my arms.  Chestnut escaped and ran upstairs to Zach’s room.

Smokey followed.  So did I.

Chestnut hid under the bed and Smokey leered at all of us, ready to rip us into bloody ribbons.

By this time, both teenagers were on the scene.  We hid Chestnut from view with blankets and shooed Smokey out of the room.

You’d think that would be enough drama for one day but you’d be wrong.

Later in the afternoon, another attack.  Smokey was definitely targeting Chestnut while ignoring Roy entirely.  So I called the vet.

The vet couldn’t see Smokey until Monday, so all weekend, we kept the cats separated through an elaborate system of open and closed doors.  We’d enclose Chestnut in the laundry room (home to the food, water and litter box).  Then we’d take her back upstairs and close her into a bedroom.

Why the vet?  Well, I wanted to make sure that Smokey wasn’t ill.  I wondered if maybe Smokey’s aggression was caused by . . . . I don’t know, cancer?  a broken leg?  schizophrenia?

So, at the appointed hour, I retrieved the animal crate from the storage room.  I placed it on a chair, sneaked up on Smokey and tried to stuff her into the crate.  However, the crate slid backward and Smokey suddenly caught on and made herself enormous by extending all her legs.

As you may know, you only get one chance to shove a cat into a crate.  But, being hopelessly optimistic at the worst times, I tried again.  Twice.

Then I grabbed my  head with both hands and yelled, “WHAT DO I DO?  WHAT DO I DO?”  I circled the storage room looking for a solution.  None appeared.

So, like a crazy woman, I declared my hatred of the cats and then my teenager informed me that I was hateful and I retorted that I was stressed out and seriously, these cats have been nothing but trouble!  Because I am mature in times of trouble.

I needed to get that cat to the vet.

Fortunately, brilliant ideas come to me even when I am out of control.

The picnic basket.

I grabbed it, had one teenager handle the cat and the other slam the lid closed.  I sealed it with duct tape while the cat began to howl.  Then I worried the whole way to the vet’s office that the cat would suffocate–which would both solve my current problem and present a whole new problem.  (“Sorry kids, I killed the cat.”)

My daughter, Smokey in the picnic basket and I waited in the vet’s office for almost an hour past our appointed time.  An hour!  Finally, we were shuffled into a room and at long last the veterinarian arrived.

I backed away from the basket, fully expecting Smokey to spring from the basket like a Tasmanian Devil as soon as the lid lifted.  But she did not.  She just peered up with wide eyes and flattened herself into the basket.

Bottom line?  The cat is fine.  The vet launched into a gory story about his own cats who once fought bloody fights for supremacy.

I said, “Even after six years?  They are fighting for dominance after six years?”

And he said yes.

That cost me $38.  But at least now I know that Smokey doesn’t have a physical excuse for her behavior.

Yesterday while I was on a telephone call for work, the cats ran under my desk, Smokey in pursuit of Chestnut.  I instinctively jumped up and blurted, “CAT FIGHT!” which is always an awesome interjection on a business call.

I highly recommend getting two bickering cats to liven up your life if things have become boring and listless.  Nothing gets your heart racing like a pair of snarling, growling, screaming, meowing, hissing, freaked out cats pouncing and circling and attacking.

It’s just as fun as it sounds.

9 thoughts on “Hissing and snarling

  1. Wow! You do have an eventful day now and then. And a terrific ability to share the fun with your readers. You gave me a good laugh – and I loved the picture of the taped up picnic basket!

    Guess I’ll be happy I only have one cat, even though it does bug me when she attacks my bare feet.


  2. this was fun to read. it kept me until the end so i could see how it turned out.
    funny how after 6 yrs they think they needed to decided this. maybe the roles were being reversed or trying to anyways.


  3. Oh my gosh, I sure needed a good laugh today, and this post sure did that for me! I pictured the whole play by play in my head – giggling the entire time! Thanks for the laugh!


  4. This story is exactly the same as in my best friends household, except change the cats to teenages, at least you can give the cats away if they get too out of control!!


  5. We adopted 2 kittens a year and a half ago (boy & girl) and every now and then we have this same problem. My solution: keep a couple of spray bottles filled with water (one upstairs, one downstairs) and spray at them when they start to rumble. All I have to do, now, is just shake the spray bottle and that freaks them out enough and they go running. It’s only water, so no harm done. 🙂

    ps..I miss you :)!!


  6. I especially loved the description of you jumping up yelling “Cat Fight!” while on the business call-had to share that with Ty and we thought it was pretty funny. And people say cats are such easy pets…


  7. Thanks for the smile. . .

    We used to have two cats but one of them got outside for an extended period of time so when she came back home she decided she was queen of the hill. Oh the snarling and yowling and ugliness that ensued. Usually in the middle of the night when one discovered the other at the end of our bed. We ended up sending the one who got out and developed an attitude away, it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. But life is relatively peaceful now except for the occasional “Mom, I want my own cat” but the snarling and yowling and ugliness that come from me usually put a quick end to that.


  8. Best line ever: “…made herself enormous by extending all her legs”

    I agree with the squirt bottle thing. Show them both who’s dominant: the one with technology and opposable thumbs.


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