blog description

Old women talk about old things: history, myth, magic and their
checkered pasts, about what changes and what does not.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Fat Cat Files


Orange Lizzie—you used to be so petite and sweet! When we adopted you, you weighed four lbs. You were plunked down on the counter of a friend’s pet store with half a bag of Walmart Cat food and the parting remark, “Take her. My daughter can’t keep her because cats smother babies.” After imparting this bit of ancient folklore, the 3 bonnet ladies who’d brought her walked out and left Lizzie behind. Stunned, my friend tucked her into a bunny cage for the day and then took her home and hid her from her husband, who’d sworn there would to be “no more darn cats in this house!” The next day, in tears, she called me and begged me to take her. I had four puddies at that time, but Lizzie was smart enough to sleep under the covers with my grumpy husband, which was exactly the move guaranteed to open the door to a new home.

She’s always been a lap cat, a lady who likes to share a couch with us in the evening while her Mommy—not so svelte herself—snacks and watches TV. In her early years, Liz hunted bunnies, birds and chipmunks with deadly skill and committed rodenticide along with the best of them, but with a bottomless food bowl and a lap always available, she soon retired from these classic feline pastimes.  Sitting on the porch on long lazy summer evenings, the resident house wren could scold to her heart’s content, but Lizzie, stretched out beside us like a purring bright orange mini-tiger, would no longer even twitch.

Years have passed. Liz is now a cranky 14. Her hips hurt and she’s losing the ability to climb onto the couch or into my bed. It’s very difficult for her to clean her backside, so often I have to get out a washcloth and do it for her. The thanks I receive is hissing and a lightning fast claw – the only fast movement she has left. Last Christmas, when my son visited us, he declared her “a Tribble, not a cat.”   She’s round as a ball, legs barely visible. She has chosen to ardently dislike our other cats. When we were gifted with another orange female a few years back, Lizzie, in disgust, banished herself from the downstairs. The two “orange girls” have an on-going feud, with spastic hissing fits of cat-on-cat violence at the first glimpse of the other.
Kimi a/k/a 'Wah'
Can you see why they hate each other? (Neither do I.)

About the only thing Lizzie’s good at—or for, these days—is sleeping with me, and even that isn’t an unmixed blessing.  Lately, she’s taken to waking me with blurt-blurt-blurt and a delicate but ever-increasing claw pressure against my face several times during the night. Like Simon’s Cat ©, she points to her mouth and asks for another handout. When Bob, who like males of all species, enjoys pushing the buttons of others, scrambles noisily onto the a/c in the bedroom window and meows—which he too has taken to doing at least once a night—Liz attacks the windows and the blinds, hissing and spitting and making a huge racket. As one of my buddies (whose Siamese is another specialist at devising nighttime torment for his Mommy) says with a sigh, “Cats! Please tell me why we keep them?”

Bob on the wrong side of the door
~~Juliet Waldron
Historical Novels with cats, horses, and buckets of mice...


  1. When you write about your lovely cats I feel good, almost as if I had my own cat. But I don't have one waking me up in the night and I am thankful. Blessings to you and your furry friends.

  2. I think of eric yeowing on Saturday at 330am, as that is when I am supposed to get up and let him out... and at those times too I wonder about the furry freeloaders. But they can be so sweet too..

  3. As a dog person, I'm mystified by the lure of such alien creatures. But yours are genuine characters, no douubt because they live with with you :-)