“I like pigs. Dogs look up to us. Cats look down on us. Pigs treat us as equals.”
It’s almost stereotypical in our house these days. Along with the other childless, Husband and I have created our own family out of animals. The joke is on us though because I swear our house has ostensibly become the living incarnation of Animal Farm. Daily, it seems as if our animals act in congress and are constantly deliberating the state of the union and the pros and cons of continued human co-habitation in our home. Quite honestly, I often feel that if our cats ever figured out how to open the canned cat food for themselves, then Husband and I would be handed an eviction notice, tout de suite (like, yesterday).
You know, I read somewhere recently (seriously people I can’t remember everything) that cats communicate mostly through body language and tail movements and meow, basically, only to feeble-minded humans (they don’t even bother with dogs). Because they know from birth that humans ultimately are beneath them and have only been placed upon the earth just to serve them. From the beginning, like that popular girl from high school, they only speak to you to talk down to you.
We have three such creatures in our home. Three cats. Each with their own personality, their own likes and dislikes and each is a dictator in their own right. The brilliant Jean Cocteau (he wrote Beauty and the Beast) once said “I love cats because I enjoy my home; and little by little, they become its visible soul”. Because seriously nothing better defines the madhouse we live in than these three oddball characters who run my home. I think in order to fully understand our little moth poachers, I’m going to have to name some names. And as a little background, so far, Husband and I have found character appropriate names for our furriest family members from the timelessness of Disney. (I say furriest because Husband leans towards being pretty furry himself 😉 )
First comes Bagheera. She is as black as her character in The Jungle Book and just as temperamental. True to character, she leads the pack with a thinly-veiled contempt and composed exasperation for the buffoons in her charge and has fine tuned her snobbery to an art form. She is the Princess Grace of our home and can be normally found posed regally as if anything else is just too undignified for her to even fathom. She also is the brave adventurer of the group and she spends quite a significant amount of time observing our comings and goings. No detail is missed by her steely gaze and often it feels as if our behavior is being catalogued a la Jane Goodall for some anthropological primate research study. She is incredibly playful and has an affinity for playing in her water bowl but it would be incredibly undignified for her to be found doing such. She waits until she thinks you’re not watching and then she plays in the water like a toddler in the bath. All she needs are some Bagheera-sized boats and water toys to make the image complete. But as long as she is being watched, she is the feline version of Audrey Hepburn, all elegance and grace.
Our middle child is Louis. Or as he is officially known, King Louie, named also from a Jungle Book character, although he prefers the more formal name of Louis. Louis is my accident child. Husband and I were quite satisfied with our one kitten, when we got a the fateful call from the local ASPCA. Let me tell you, they sure saw Husband coming when he started volunteering with them because they totally knew how to tug his sentimental heartstrings. “Hello Mr. Amok, I know you said you weren’t interested in any other animals but we have this cat that will have to put to sleep unless someone adopts him by tonight.” And that was how Louis joined our family. From the beginning, we knew he was, well, special. Most days he can be found sleeping in awkward positions, hanging from furniture and snoring little kitty snores. Lately, he has taken to standing in the corner by our front door. Faced into the corner, like a petulant child in time out or being punished by grumpy nuns at the catholic school. I have absolutely no idea why, but he seems content enough. Occasionally, one of the others will visit him there as if they too are trying to figure out the mystery of the corner but they don’t stay long as apparently only Louis possesses the proper corner intuition. Just like his namesake, Louis, more often than not, is draped across and over the edge of our furniture. He is the hang-e-est cat I’ve ever met and is not content unless his overweight body is perilously dangling over the side of something.
Kitty, is the newest addition to our home. Kitty came to us from Miami by way of my sisters home in North Carolina. Dee found Kitty while on spring break in Miami and could not leave this poor, defenseless kitten in the wilds of Miami. So because of a combination of allergies, dorm policies and fate we ended up with this vicious Kitty. Kitty was actually named because that was the only thing she came to but we kept it because there actually is a Disney character called Kitty. In the movie Monsters, Inc., Sulley is surprised by a stowaway little girl who mistakes his excessive fur for that of a cat and calls him Kitty. So Kitty stuck and became a part of our dysfunctional family. Amelia is the bane of her existence and throws quite the kitty-fit and hisses anytime Amelia dares violate Kitty’s air space.
Those who know me, as well as those just becoming familiar, know though the true baby in our family is Amelia. Amelia is a Weimaraner, a regal breed, bred for German royalty. Amelia Wright is her name, Wright for where she was born in Dayton, Ohio – hometown of Orville and Wilbur Wright. And apparently the cash register, which was invented in Dayton too, who knew so much famous came from this unassuming heartland city. Anyways, most people know an Amelia, were related to an Amelia, they like/love/hate the name. As a child I delighted in reading the adventures of Amelia Bedelia and her literal interpretations of her housekeeping duties (she made a sponge cake out of actual SPONGE!!). I remember learning this whole other world of words, learning that what you say isn’t so important as how you say it. You need to read the books but this is not where Amelia got her name. Amelia’s name comes from the movie The Aristocats, which funnily enough is Amelia’s favorite movie and she actually will sit and watch this movie. So in the movie, the cats on their journey meet two geese sisters, Amelia and Abigail Gabble. These talkative sisters had that geese waddle that our little puppy had down to a science. And Amelia joined our family and has been absolutely spoiled rotten ever since.
As I said earlier, cats apparently only meow to talk to humans and my Bagheera obviously has a lot to say because she talks quite a bit to me. About the same time each day, she joins me and will tell me her thoughts. If I have been gone for a few hours, I am normally greeted with a loud run down of what I missed while I was gone and how her day has been going so far. She occasionally comes to me to loudly complain about something, normally some frustration around Amelia occupying her nap space, Louis pestering her or the substandard drinking water in her bowl. And God forbid she gets locked in a room because then you’re in for a talking to.
I think its funny because she doesn’t really talk to Husband that much. She does like him quite well as a warm sleeping space though and his continued approval for remaining in our home is contingent of supplying a warm, human sized sleeping area. So until the day we are handed our walking papers by the High Court of Cat, Husband and I continue to graciously live in our cat’s home. Luckily they allow us to have pets, because it would be hard to find a new castle for Princess Amelia.