The Telling of the Five Tail Tales

Number One:

When I was single I used to let my cat sleep on the bed with me.  I think it kept us both from feeling lonely.  She would stretch out as I did and occasionally push and pull the covers next to my feet to remind me of her presence.

One treacherous night I woke at an unusual hour to find myself paralyzed with impending doom.  After I’d fallen asleep that evening,  the cat had crawled under the covers and sunk her claw deep into the bed of my big toe nail.  I couldn’t move.  I couldn’t breathe.  To do either would mean startling her and forcing that claw to dig deeper still.

I lay for a moment and considered my options.  Hmmm.  There weren’t any.  If I moved in any way the claw was going through the front of my toe.  I called her name and cringed as she responded by flexing her legs and feet.  Ouch.

I tried to relax and finally concluded that I must convince myself this was like ripping off a bandaid.  Just do it.  I took a shallow breath, tried to disassociate myself from my foot and then I sat up and shoved her away.

Wahhhhhhhheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeyuck!  Yes, she ripped right through the skin.  Instantly bloody.  Not pretty.  Cats are no longer welcome on the bed with me.

Number Two:

About twenty years ago, I got up one morning and took a shower as usual to start my day.  I dried off, wrapped myself with a big towel and wandered into the kitchen before drying my hair.  I stopped there briefly to chat with my roommate and get a glass of water.  I was heading back to the bathroom when something on the floor caught my eye.  I crouched to pick it up, forgetting my attire and the close proximity of one very affectionate cat.   Yeah, gross, you can see where I’m going with this.

Before I could stop her or even try to get away, kitty had walked lazily between my legs to get my attention.  She dragged her tail right where she shouldn’t and then meowed up at me like nothing had happened.  I think I almost threw up.  I know I cried out in violated horror to my roommate.  She understood the wide-legged cooties dance down the hall.

I had to re-shower.

Number Three:

When I was young we always had a zillion cats.  My mom and dad used to joke that our house was marked with a giant X visible only to felines.  They would come up from the canyon in search of food, see the X and know they would be fed in our company.  And so it went for years on end.

One evening in my teens, I walked down our driveway at dusk to bring in one of the cats for the night.  He was sitting low to the ground and all balled up, something I didn’t register as odd at the time.  I walked closer and was a little surprised that he didn’t rise to weave around my legs as usual, but I pushed the surprise aside and swooped in low to hoist him up.

I whirled him around to nuzzle his face and tell him kitty secrets as we walked inside.  The daylight was dimming and the cat was black, so I did not see the mouse in his mouth until it was next to my cheek.  Eeeek!  Sorry kitty, gotta go!  I dropped him promptly and did the yuck-I-amost-kissed-a-mouse dance back into the house.

Number Four:

In my last year of college I lived off campus with a roommate.  We had a nice two-bedroom place on a second floor.  We liked it a lot.

One day the two of us stood casually in our living room engrossed in conversation.  We were facing one another and had our sides to the large screen door of our balcony.

As we continued to talk, we heard my cat come to the door to get inside.  She began climbing up the screen and making an odd twittery meow.

Seemingly in slow motion, we turned together to look in her direction.  She was hanging at eye level with a live bird in her mouth.  We immediately commenced hysterical shrieking and could think only enough to close the sliding door and pull the blinds on her little furry I-got-this-for-you-mom face.  Bye bye, kitty!

Number Five:

When my husband and I first moved into our house, everything was shiny and smudge-free.  The floor was clean, the walls were white and the counters clear.  Heaven.

Little by little we trudged in with boxes and bags and hangers and stuff.  We scattered it here and we placed it there.

For me, one of the simplest delights was setting a mug on the vast open counter in our master bathroom and plopping two fresh toothbrushes there.  The single bathroom in our ratty apartment didn’t have a lot of space, so this giant oasis off the bedroom in our house was a dream come true.  Those toothbrushes were a symbol of the good that was sure to come.

One day long after we moved in I was in the bedroom folding some laundry when I heard an odd noise.  I looked toward the counter and was horrified to see my new kitty there, chewing on the toothbrushes.  Did you hear me scream?  He had probably been doing it for weeks.  New house.  New cat.  Old life.  Big sigh.

And that concludes the telling of the five tail tales!

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