I’ve written about my dog Spike a few times, but I haven’t introduced you to Lisa yet. Lisa is my 19-year old American short hair cat. She was born on Mother’s Day, 2000 along with several brothers and sisters. I can’t remember how many of each there were. Probably because we never met her mother. Someone we knew had a bunch of kittens they wanted to parse out so we took Lisa and her brother Bart.
Those of you who know me also know that I am a huge fan of the Simpsons, hence the names of our cats. All personality aside, Bart was a mellow little guy who was constantly pushed around by his sister. He started spending more and more time at a neighbor’s house up the street from us. One day he took all the bullying he was going to take, packed his little cat suitcase and ran away from home. He ended up being taken in by the neighbor he was previously frequenting, and, as far as I know, lived a long, peaceful life. I’d see him every now and then. He’d come up to me and beg for a petting. Then off he’d go again back to Paradise sans Lisa the Tormentor.
Lisa stayed on at the Mosca estate content with being not only the queen, a queen with no heirs vying for her throne. She passed the days slinking around the backyard honing her hunting skills. She’d occassionally bring home a dead lizard or sparrow to my wife from time to time like an offering to the Goddess of Cat Treats.
I’ve never been much of a cat person. I like cats, but they don’t impress me much and are no where near as entertaining as a dog (at least in my opinion) so Lisa and I would nod a “good day” to each other when passing in the hall, but we left it at that.
Four years after we got Lisa, we moved from the house we were in to the top floor of a four-story condo building. Gone was the backyard. Gone was the safari. From then on, Lisa was an indoor cat. Man, she hated that! I thought of possibly training her to be lowered by a basket on a rope so she could still go outside once in a while, but that is as far as the idea ever went…a thought. As I said, I’m not a cat person and even if I figured out the training that whole concept would have turned into a pain. Not to mention the countless wild creatures who wandered in and out of our complex that may have imposed a physical threat to Lisa. There are deer, turkeys, raccoons, the occasional coyote and who knows what. Deer and turkeys not so dangerous, but a coyote would definitely been one to watch out for.
So instead of being a hunter, the change of environment led to Lisa becoming fat. Way fat! Before the confinement, she weighed about 18 pounds, slender but rather large for a cat. Within a year of living indoors she weighed in at 25 pounds. When she sat around the house, she sat AROUND the house.
Then one day she faced the ultimate betrayal. We adopted Spike. Her life as she knew it had ended. No longer was she the center of my wife’s attention. Sure, the treats kept coming, but now the affection had to be shared with a stupid dog.
Ever since my wife’s passing I’ve paid more attention to Lisa. She actually is loved by me and has a good life. She gets her favorite food and her favorite treats. She now tolerates Spike but avoids him other than to take a quick little sniff of him when Spike and I come back from a walk. I guess that’s her way of staying up with what is going on outside. She has arthritis and is a bit stiff when she first stands up, but she still gets around fine. She uses her litter box a lot more frequently than she used to. Sometimes she doesn’t get all the way in before she starts peeing, but a training pad keeps the peeing “outside the box” under control.
All in all, I think she has more years in her future. I hope so. I’ve taken on the responsibility to care for her and give her the affection all mammals need. Humans are unique in that they rend their choice of pets away from the animals’ mommies with the excuse of offering a better life, but who are we to say that a kitten or a pup should be ripped from its family? But that’s another topic, isn’t it?