With due respect to the rather late Paul Lynde, “What’s the matter with cats today?” They, of course, may think they are acting graciously mindful, duly responsible, and properly genteel, but their behavior points to otherwise. This new generation of pusses, both feral and indoor clowders, seems to have abandoned the many lifetimes of carefully honed traditions. Naturally, such transgressions are first fueled by the “legendary” feline curiosity and, later, indeed ignited by a hormone-enhanced rebellion, often found in a pubescent puss and especially in the Siamese and Main Coon varieties.
The times, “they are a-changing” quickly as real estate development, internet speed, and the water level at Lake Wheeler are all trending upward and onward. In all the chaos and turbulence, the pusses are often “lost” in a sea of twitchy whiskers. At Marklewood, we have experienced first-hand the many manifestations of such a nonchalant, arrogant, and elitist generation. (Please notice that I mentioned neither the cat’s issue with entitlement nor its lack of concern for other creatures.)
The cats’ daily regimen begins each day with a few of them licking my face and, then, walking up and down my body. The latter embraces the reflexes of a lumberjack rolling logs or the cockiness of “America’s Next Top Whatever”. These little four-legged “perps” are persistent, focused, and with honed skills. As the ever-demure Pat Benatar would offer: “Stop using tongues as a weapon.”
Then as soon as I stand, grab my robe, and struggle for my trusty phone, both Henry and Sam fight for strategic positioning on my side of the bed. Henry ultimately wins and sleeps for the rest of the morning with his head on my Tempurpedic pillow. Sam slips in a ripple of the duvet cover about a foot away. It is approximately 5:00am and I am wide awake to prepare for a job that doesn’t require me for five more hours. Jon, naturally, is deep in slumber and randomly screaming in his sleep until 11am or so. Sam and Henry will likely luxuriate all day … until I return.
The most frustrating feline habit concerns their eating habits. Is it not miserable enough that they eat like a Basset Hound wearing dentures. Daily, they leave a tiny trail of “mixed seafood grill” morsels on the stairs that ascend just above the food bowl. For a long time, I’d sweep up all that food and toss it right into the bowl, relieved that I had at least preserved a few precious pennies. To Sam, Henry, and Pfluffer, one would assume that the bowl was thus tainted, and replace the kibble “pronto”!
If in our haste to save money or utilize a coupon, Jon or I purchase a generic or inferior 25lb. bag, they simply boycott the food. For several days, their strike becomes a stand-off, then a power-play, and finally a battle of wills. Just as with staring contests, we know to ultimately acquiesce and give the kitty his due: “Kibble & Bits”, which I assume is the “junk food” for indulgent pusses. To compensate, Jon and I must then eliminate an item from our grocery list.
There was a time when the outdoor cats would go hunting and catch their “meals” of cardinal, squirrel, and rabbit “tenders” (our term, not theirs!). Over the years, we have subconsciously trained them to be lazy, unmotivated, and greedy. They lounge on the wrought iron garden furniture, in decorative urns amid the plantings, or atop the Jeep … and wait restlessly for the next meal. Hell, several of them haven’t wandered off more than twenty feet from our front stoop.
The outdoor pusses also have a rude and aggressive “habit” of chasing away other “gang” members, Eve especially. I often call her Lindsay since she has a certain “mean girl” aura about her. She ran off both Precious (who was about five and neutered for four) and Muffin, who was passing by and decided to remain for a while. Eve picked skirmishes, swatted them as they strolled by her, and prevented them from getting in close proximity to their non-generic dried cat-food. There are likely other victims of her bullying and taunting; we simply lack any evidence.
Of course, the most frustrating habit of these modern, free-thinking, and demanding souls (who were all born during the last of the Bush years) concerns the litter box. The five indoor kits — Henry, Pfluffer, Sam, Hermione, and Claudja — refuse to step into the box if it is not maintained to their own discriminating preferences. They also prefer only one brand. Period. One brand. All, but Sam, are rather fond of those high-tech, world-altering crystals that promise more efficient scooping while breathing in a blend of gardenia and cedar wood scents.
Well, they lied on both counts as Jon and I learned what might happen … should we misstep in proper maintenance of refuse receptacle and its removal. Late afternoon propriety prevents me from sharing any details. Trust me, though; Henry and Pfluffer certainly mean business. He even gets snooty and dismissive if I move his latest issue of “Kitten with a Whip, Confessions of a Modern Sex Kitten”. He prefers to tuck his “kitty porn” behind the litter box … for his amusement during long stays or sessions.
I could continue my tear for hours yet, but must soon prepare dinner: hamburgers, farfalle with garlic, olive oil, and herbs, and peas. All three are among the favorite dishes of the Twelve Noble and Apostolic Pusses of Marklewood. I am more than certain that Sam and Henry will join me in the kitchen, remain under-foot, and get quite petulant if they are deprived of any of tonight’s people food.
The previous cats, who graciously allowed me to care for them, have never been this finicky, stubborn, and erudite. I blame the internet. And now I shall have that damned “Bye, Bye, Birdie” tune in my head all day:
I don’t know what’s wrong with these cats today
Who can understand anything they say?
They are so ridiculous and immature!
I don’t see why anybody wants ’em!
Just you wait and see.