Thursday, August 30, 2007

The Cat Snores at Midnight

Well, after yesterday's little trip in the wayback machine, let's bounce right back into the present day, shall we?

Some of y'all know that about a month ago I adopted a cat. His name is Albert. He's black and white and has tremendously long whiskers and marble-y green eyes. He also has an identity complex, because he thinks he's a dog.

This is Albert, who is resting comfortably on one of the boxes I have not yet unpacked:

Albert follows me everywhere. I get up from the desk to walk two steps to the coffeemaker, and Albert is there with me. I open a cabinet to get a pot or pan, and Albert is there sniffing around at the awesome new dark place he's forgotten he's sniffed a dozen times before. I walk to the bathroom, and Albert is right between my feet, wondering where we're going. Albert is my little kitten-ish shadow, and even at 5+ years old he's a real terror when the "catarang" starts up.

What's a "catarang"? It's when, for no real apparent reason, Albert begins careening at top speed from one end of the house to the other, thumping his little kitty feet down with great authority, zooming through the legs of the kitchen chairs and zipping over the couches, then returning to the starting point with as much energy as the first half of the cycle exhibited. The cataring operates for four or five full cycles until the potential energy stored within it is fully transformed to kinetic energy, at which point it stops and he begins storing up for the next go-round.

You'd think a cat who is a mature fellow and looks like he's dressed for a night on the town in his black tie and tail would not participate in the catarang, but no. Albert is a surprising fellow.

For the first couple of weeks he was here, Albert was a touch skittish, not knowing how to behave in a house bereft of other cats. You see, Albert has not ever had a house of his own; he was a foster kitty for YEARS, and so was surrounded by other cats, all of whom identified him as the 98-pound weakling and who therefore targeted him as the object of their kitty scorn, which is a powerful force of nature and will rob even the strongest soul of their self-esteem and bravery. So, Albert was a little "aloof" for the first bit of his time here at the Tiny House, wondering, I'm sure, when the first attack would take place by all those other cats he couldn't see.

All that is changing. He is now the feline canine-equivalent at my house, a purring bucket of "pet me," a curious dood with a sophisticated air. Well, there is one small caveat that keeps him from being fully sophisticated.

Albert snores.

When I first heard the snoring, I thought it was the refrigerator in start-up mode. It was not the fridge was the 8-pound ball of fur curled up between my feet. Huh. I had been under the impression that cats were quiet sleepers. I thought they just laid down and zoned out, breathing little Purina-scented cat breaths while dreaming of sleeping. Apparently I had a thing or two to learn about Albert. The snoring was only one of those things.

He's also fascinated by, and frightened of, the toilet. He'll peek over the rim into the bowl, and I once caught him DRINKING FROM IT (even when there was perfectly good water in his dish), and yet, when it's flushed, the does a half-catarang in fright.

He can meow his name. I'm not joking. He can even meow "Mama," which is really creepy. He meows other stuff, of course, but because I'm not a cat I don't understand what he's saying most of the time.

Also, he grunts when he jumps. He eats only three bites of food at a time. He HATES being picked up. He eschews the comfy kitty bed the Things got for him and instead prefers to sleep on the kitchen table.

This living with a cat thing was supposed to be easy to figure out. Albert, the cat who is not quite a cat, is not having any of THAT, for, after all, he was named for the famous physicist, and as such needs to reveal his secrets carefully, lest the full impact of them blow my puny human brain.

More details as events warrant, you can be sure.

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