It looks like we have a new permanent houseguest. If you read Charlie’s blog, (see this entry) you know we have been visited frequently by a charmingly insistent stray who paws at the window daily (and nightly) and then proceeds to hang out here for hours. As you can see from the following photos, it has made itself quite at home here.
All this time, I had thought I was entertaining our neighbour’s cat so I had been letting it in and playing with it etc., assuming I would not really have any responsibility for the thing cause it always had a “real” home to go to. Well, it turns out I was wrong. Terribly wrong. The neighbours have confirmed that, though the cat visiting us is ALMOST identical to their cat, it is in fact not theirs. So it looks like I have “adopted” a stray despite myself. The stray clearly wants to stay so I realized it was time for a family discussion to decide once and for all if we should just accept that this interloper, this neighbour-cat-in-disguise, is ours.
The discussions with all those concerned went something like this:
Discussion with the stray cat (a.k.a the Feline Menace)
Me: I really don’t want another cat. You’re cute and all but one’s enough.
FM: Let’s end this dance, this sham. You’ve been letting me into the house for weeks. You know you want to adopt me and let me live with you and teach me your crazy, foreign, Canadian ways. Besides, foreign adoptions are all the rage now. I’ll even learn to speak French. Le meow, le purr.
Me: I’m not sure it’s a good idea to take in a stray. You seem like a potential trouble maker.
FM: Rumours and lies! Falsehoods perpetuated by jealous neighbourhood cats trying to take over my corner. The legend of my misdeeds is greatly exaggerated. You’ll adore me. What’s not to love; I’m a cuddly, soft ball of fur. What could possibly go wrong? Now feed me.
Me: I’m just not sure…
FM: Seriously. I’m self-cleaning, have no special dietary requirements, and I promise to poo in the garden to save you money on litter. Now pet me.
Me: You already poo in the garden. In fact, you use all the neighbours’ gardens as your own personal litter box, that’s why they hate you.
FM: Rumours and lies! I’m being framed. Probably by that miscreant Charlie…
FM: Just give up already, you can’t win this fight. I’m a Cape Town stray. I once single-handedly beat up a gang of street rats (and believe me, South African rats are nothing like your wimpy, Canadian, first-worlder rats). You can’t win. Now feed me.
Me: You’ll have to wear a collar…
FM: NEVER! Vile Woman! I’ll kill myself before I’ll put that thing on!
Me: …with a bell…
FM: I detest you!
Me: Take it or leave it.
FM: I’ll wear the collar, but in exchange I want only organic catnip, no curfew, no more speeches from you about me getting too serious with the neighbourhood tomcat, and you get rid of the dog.
Me: OK, but the dog stays.
FM: I plan to cough up a hairball on you and Jonathan as you sleep tonight, but I accept your terms. I hate you. Now feed me.
Me: Can I keep the stray?
J: No. I hate cats.
J: No! Do you see the way that thing eyes Charlie! It plans to take over, I know it. NO WAY ARE WE ADOPTING THAT CAT!
Me: Pretty please?
J: No; it is ugly and probably has rabies, not to mention likely flea-infested. There is absolutely no way that thing is living in this home. For the 10 years we’ve been together, I have been waiting patiently for your cats to die. You started with four, now we are finally down to one. Chosun is the only cat left and I have been waiting for him to die so I can finally be cat free. CAT FREE! I am too close to attaining my dream to give up now by adopting a stray.
J: NO! It will probably cough up hairballs on us while we sleep.
Me: It would never do that!
J: It is not living here! Absolutely not!
Me: You’ll still be the Alpha of the household. I promise.
J: That goes without saying.
Me: If you let me keep the cat I promise that our next pet will be a basset hound.
J: Hmmm…Make it two basset hounds and we have a deal.
Me: So Charlie, what do you think about a new cat?
C: NO! They disgust and repulse me and stand for everything vile and non-canine in this world. They live for spite! Plus they are always strung-out on catnip and smell faintly of old socks. Absolutely not. Now feed me.
Me: It could be your new best friend.
C: No. Now walk me.
Me: I promise you will still be the Alpha here.
C: That goes without saying. And by the way, you cheapen our relationship by bringing up the Alpha thing—it is tacitly and bindingly understood that I am, and will always be, the Alpha in this house no matter what mongrels you let in.
Me: I’ll give you extra walks if you agree.
C: Ha! Who do you think you are talking to! I am a strong, proud basset hound who cannot be so easily bought! I will NEVER bend. There are not enough walks or treats in the world to get me to agree to let that fiendish feline stay in this home!
Me: Well, why don’t I just give you a tummy rub and if you wag your tail during it, I will take that to mean you want the cat to come live with us.
C: NO!!! Vile woman! You know I am powerless against the power of a tummy rub…
Me: Your tail is wagging so I guess the cat can stay.
C: DAMN my weakness to tummy rubs! Curse all cats!
Me: How about a new cat friend?
Chosun: …hacking sound…
Me: Is that a yes?
Chosun: …Spits up a hairball…God no, even I have the good sense to hate cats and I’m a member of the species! Feed me.
Me: I promise you will still be the Alpha.
Chosun: That goes without saying. Have you seen my catnip anywhere?
Me: There’s extra cat food in it for you if you say yes.
Chosun: Will the addition of this feline to our home annoy Jonathan?
Chosun: Then it’s a yes for me. Hee Hee. Now feed me.