{ Friday, July 23, 2004 }

It's All About My Cat.

this is from your neighbor downstairs.  If you have a cat that is colored orange and white then it won't stay off my back porch and stop iritating my dog.  If it not your cat I apologize. -Thanx"

I got this note the other day on my windshield before I left for work.

My first thought, "Fuck.  What am I supposed to do about that?",  was followed by "Wait!  My cat isn't orange and white.  My cat is just orange and darker orange.  He doesn't even have a white belly.  It's kinda marmalade.  Maybe this isn't my cat."

This quickly turned into me musing about how orange cats are "yellow" and orange dogs are "red" and all the different ways that people say they have an orange tabby cat.  I followed it up by remembering that on his certifcate of health, under color, they wrote "orange" and not "orange and white".

Except, he has a little white chin, and toward the end of his tail, the lighter orange gets nearly white.  I can just see my neighbor walking to the sliding glass door and yelling at my cat.  Isis would stare at him like "What?  What do you want from me?  May I eat your arms and legs?" and he'd get a good look at an orange and white face.

I have seen at least two other orange cats in the apartment complex.  As a matter of fact, on Monday morning there was a flier plastered everywhere letting us know that a female orange cat had gone missing.  Also, this note did not specify that the cat in question was slightly larger than average...

And besides which, my cat only goes outside late at night when it's not so hot outside.  He's almost never outside when I'm not home.  Surely I would have heard the dog being irritated?  Except, I don't hear so well, and when I can hear the dog barking outside, I've never heard it inside my apartment.

I can imagine how this would inspire someone to put a note on my car overnight.   Waking up at two am because his dog is all up in arms about the cat on the porch.  Possibly, that would only have to happen more than one time in a night (and he was out all night that night) for me to write a note that was much less nice than the one I got.

I used all this knowledge to spend a minute or two deciding that I could be justified in deciding that obviously it wasn't my monster who wouldn't get off their porch.

Except, he did earn the moniker "monster".  Normal cats are afraid of strange people.  Normal cats would stay off the porch after being assaulted through a window by a dog.  My cat is not nearly skittish.  New people only mean more arms to attack and more laps to try to nap in.  Dogs are just very exciting things to fight with.

Normal cats can be run off by sweeping a broom in their general direction (I know this because it's how I used to break up cat fights before my cat stopped just staring at me and took the more proactive approach of trying to slice my achilles tendon when I swatted at his fights.  I have scars.).  Also, my cat loves dog food.

So, he matched the description, the behaviour, the timing (obviously, this is new and he is new), he had the opportunity and we have a possible motive.  It's quite possible that my cat is the one hanging out on the neighbors' porch and enraging the dog.

I feel like I am supposed to do something about this, but I have absolutely no idea what.   Sure, I trained him to come when called, to sit on command (although that one doesn't happen unless he can actually see the treat), to play fetch (sometimes) and not to claw the furniture.  For a cat, that's really trainable. 

But how do you stop the cat from hopping over the wall onto the neighbors' porch?  This is a cat who frequently climbs on roofs.  He seems to find very small challenge in landing himself on top of the fridge (which is much higher than my head.  I've accepted that he thinks the tops of the cabinets are his own personal catwalk).  The wall wouldn't hold him back.

Right now I am keeping him in the house and hoping I'll get another note so I can tell them absolutely that my cat is not the problem since he's been locked inside the whole time.  Basically, I'm counting on the orange tabby variety to live up to its stereotypes.... one of those other cats might be more onery than mine.

Just so no one thinks he's all Evil Monster Cat... he does have a softer side.  And not just the one that doesn't use claws (or bite too hard) when attacking *my* appendages without discernible provokation.

Isis has been embarking on one of his favorite quests again here lately.  The goal is to take a nap while laying on me.   The challenging part of this is that he's enormous and I am not.  He's considerably longer and wider than my thighs.  Frankly, it's really quite a balancing maneuver for him to manage to *sit* in my lap for more than two minutes without me propping him up on both sides with my arms.

Earlier, he tried just standing on my lap for a bit.  It's very cute the way that he puts his front paws up on me and then back down on the ground over and over again while he's waiting for me to put him in my lap. (I don't really have a good lap for jumping into, because it's never exactly a flat surface, and I tend to react violently to being clawed.)

Right, so the cat stood in my lap for a minute and then one of us moved and he lost his balance and fell gracefully to the floor.  And I noticed that his paw left a mark that will probably result in a bruise on my thigh.  About six weeks ago, he weighed 15.3 pounds.  He's not even a little bit overweight.  Boy cats are just large.

He can lay on my stomach.... from shoulder to hip, he's a little bit longer than I am, but it will work if I lay completely flat and do not move.  His head rests on my shoulder and his tail comes down below my knees (I am not kidding.  He's a very long cat, and I have no abdomen to speak of) and his paws hang off the side of me, but if we both really apply ourselves to laying still, he can doze off.  Then he rolls right off me in his sleep.

He keeps trying though.  This evening, it's been every twenty minutes or so that he's made another effort at fitting comfortably on my lap.  I really feel bad for him... it's been two and a half years (he's almost three) since he actually fit, and he won't give up.  If he's the one on the neighbors' porch, this does not bode well for getting him to stop that either.

posted by mary ann 10:32 PM