Who’s Behind the Literary Curtain?
Hi! My name is Marley. I was the cat pictured at the end of last week's blog. But here's another great picture of me in case you forgot how handsome I am. I’m the younger of the two cats in the house. My older sister’s name is Squeak. Isn’t that the dumbest name? Of course, sometimes the parents (our human ones) call her “your highness” or “The diva cat.” I think of her as the bi... er witch. We don’t get along well. We are both grey and distantly related since we were rescue animals from the same campground in Key Largo Florida. According to Mom, we are a special breed of cats known as Keys Grays. I am, of course, the cuter of the two of us, being striped grey with gold eyes and large feet Mom calls “thumpers.” Sister is small and round (fat, in my book) and has funny colored eyes, green you call them. Mom thinks they are beautiful, and so does Dad. There’s just no accounting for humans’ tastes.
I came into the family when the most famous cat of all time in this family, the orange and wonderful Mickey died. The parents thought Squeak could use a companion, that she was lonely. Humans are quite stupid about cats, a fact pointed out to them by one vet who told them female cats look forward to the day when the kids leave home. “She doesn’t like Marley because he never got the word he should depart. He keeps hanging around.” I think she should be the one to leave.
For much of my young life I knew the parents and probably my older sister secretly compared me to the orange and wonderful Mickey. I fell short, I know. I could tell by the looks on their faces, and, yes, cats too can give disgusted looks. Ask my sister. But I’ve come into my own. I can do “cute” as well as and sometimes better than my sister (pronounced in cat tongue as “sisser”. I have a beat-up toy which was once a bell (now missing its clapper and smashed flat from Dad’s big feet crushing it when he steps on it at night) and a feather tied to a furry blob of something human manufacturers think cats might find interesting. It got interesting only after the bell was nothing other than a shapeless piece of metal and the furry thing was matted like a dead muskrat, the feathers long gone. I call it my “bell and feavver”. Oh, did I tell you I cannot pronounce “th”? This speech impediment must be a character of the Keys Grey breed since sister is always telling Dad to put his legs “togevver” when she jumps into his lap. I digress, but cats speaking human language is something humans should study more closely. It could tell you where your language has gone wrong. Anyway.
Late at night I hover over the thing and yowl as if my heart is breaking. I have perfected this cry over the years so that now it is truly saddening and gets all humans’ sympathetic attention. Then I pick up the mashed mess and carry it lovingly in my mouth, usually upstairs to the parents’ bedroom and drop it on the floor beside the bed. By now everyone in the house is awake, and I get attention. They think I am lonely or hungry. Either is remedied by petting or food. I then go to sleep and they, fully conscious, turn on the light and read for an hour or so and complain in the morning of little sleep the night before. Sister plays her part by yelling at them to feed her breakfast early the next morning. She foolishly does not do this in a charming fashion and they blame her for their lack of rest. Works for me.
I taught them to accept my finer qualities like my playfulness. I hide around the corner, and, when she least expects it, I jump on my sister who is half my weight, and I knock the wind out of her. I love it. She doesn’t seem to get the fun of the move. Sometimes she gets revenge by sitting in a chair and when I come by, she hits my tail or bites my butt. I think she doesn’t mean this playfully. She has a mean streak in her that the parents just don’t see. They say she has attitude, which in her, means something positive while the same stance in me they label as nasty. Well, as I was saying, I think I’ve convinced them I was the right choice as a second cat. Sister says she would have preferred a plain, homely little black cat they considered. She thought she could whip that little guy into shape. She’s never forgiven me for being so cute Mom adopted me instead.
After six years in this house, I’m learning things too. I’m coming around to sitting on laps for five or so minutes, and I kiss. Mom just loves this. I try very hard to talk to them in their own language producing pathetic sounds somewhere between meow and “feed me, dammit”. My favorite game is “feetsis in the air” played under a blanket where I lie on my back with feet straight up in the air. The parents then rumple me around under the cover, and I grab their hands. Then I run away. And meowing of running, I love to do “whacko bananas”. I dash from room to room, stopping only to lower the front of my body to the floor and throw my butt and tail high up in to the air while twitching my head from side to side. The parents find this amusing. I find it a necessary way to get rid of excess energy. Sister looks at me like I’m crazy.
For a time Mom called me clever and sister smart. Dad has almost convinced Mom that I’m smart too, but I know she secretly believe sister is brighter than I because sister can use a computer. At least, she used to use the computer. Mom thought she might become the first feline writer of espionage novels because sister typed “5, 5” and “8, 9” several times. At first we thought she was writing poetry, but, since it didn’t rhyme and has no rhythm or any kind, we seized on the possibility it was a short story, kind of a flash fiction thing. Now Mom thinks it was a code of some kind, the first provocative line in a spy novel. We are still waiting for her to get on with it. So far nothing.
Mom and Dad are both writers. Dad never mentions a muse, but Mom goes on and on about having Fred, the ghost in our house in upstate New York as her muse here and an alligator in Florida as her muse there. An alligator! I mean if you have to pick an animal as a muse, why not pick one you can get close to? Why not me? Even sister would be somewhat better than a scaly old alligator. I don’t get too worried about the alligator muse thing, and I’m not at all certain Mom believes in ghosts. This is all literary folderol. Given the cat that I am, if Mom needs inspiration, she can always count on me. I do cute, I am cute, I play cute, I’m better than any old muse, wouldn’t you say?
Mom says sister gets a turn at this next week. Gotta run before she bites my tail--sister, not Mom.