Frumpy Middle-aged Mom: Living with our new cat: Cairo the Jerk

If you want to live in a world where strange sounds emanate from parts of your house that you’re sure are unoccupied, here’s how to do it: Get a cat.

One minute ago, while I was sitting down to write this, I heard a weird, loud crinkling noise that I felt needed to be investigated. (Anything is better than writing.) So, I got up from my elegant office space shoved in the back corner of the dining room and went to see what was going on. Somehow, our new Siamese cat, Cairo, had gotten one of the lower cabinet doors partially open, and was swatting at the newspapers inside that are protecting my good china. (It goes without saying that it’s the china I haven’t used since Elvis was alive.)

I’ve become accustomed to things crashing in the middle of the night. Our house is small, so this can be a loud auditory experience. Until recently, I would leap up, alarmed, and grab a lamp to smash into the head of a potential burglar. Just kidding. Actually I would leap up, alarmed, and go into my son Cheetah Boy’s room and make him get up to hammer a potential burglar. He’s a body builder. He doesn’t even need a lamp.

Nowadays, however, I just think, “The stupid cat just broke something again,” and I turn over and go back to sleep. No point in actually waking up just to find out what’s broken. I can save that treat for the morning. So, if you’re thinking about breaking into my house, now is a good time to do it, because we’ll assume any noise you make is the cat being a nuisance yet again.

That was a joke, people. I seriously have nothing anyone would want to steal, plus our generic white dog Lil Wayne is a virtual bark factory, barking his head off when anyone dares to try to enter our house, even if he’s known them for years. After all, they could be alien pods or zombies. Better safe than sorry.

We got Cairo from the pound about a month ago, because I’ve been yearning to have another cat for years. He had been owned by an older woman who died, and her daughter surrendered him to the shelter because she’s allergic, we were told. So he was never on the street at all, and had a loving home until the end. That’s probably why the vet told us that he’s the healthiest cat for his age he’d ever seen. (He’s 18 months old. The cat, not the vet.) I wish I could hold a seance and channel his departed owner and ask her what type of food she fed him, because he is beautiful and his fur is silky.

We named him Cairo because it’s a place that’s beautiful and exotic, and so is our cat.

It is taking some time to become accustomed to having a cat around, because I’m not used to animals leaping up onto my kitchen counters with impunity. I don’t mind if Cairo goes most places, (his little paw prints are already on my toilet seat) but I really don’t want him on my counters. Is that too much to ask? Apparently, it is.

Our biggest challenge so far is teaching the dog and cat to get along with each other. Lil Wayne is such a friendly little creature. He walked up to the cat the first day, wagging his tail and asking him in doggie language to play. Cairo hissed at him until he ran away in terror — so I’ve started calling him Cairo the Jerk. That has mostly been the pattern for the last month, although I must say lately we’ve had the unexpected joy of watching the cat walk regally past the dog without (a) hissing at him or (b) swatting at him. This makes me feel hopeful that eventually they can co-exist.

I’m giving lots of extra love to the dog, because he’s used to affection and in fact has explained to me numerous times that he’s a “companion dog” and therefore he’s doing his job by sitting on my lap. I don’t want to exacerbate the skirmishes by allowing him to feel neglected.

Meanwhile, the cat has latched firmly onto my young adult son, Cheetah Boy, and claimed him as his human. He doesn’t even like it when Lil Wayne walks into his human’s bedroom. He barely tolerates me, although just yesterday I discovered a solution for that: Eat salmon.

As soon as I sat down in my recliner to eat some salmon salad for lunch, I had company and a new BFF. I think if I smear myself with fish, eventually I’ll become the favored human.

Until that day, I will remain one of the minions assigned to serve His Royal Highness. Who maybe will stop being a jerk.

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