Another example of feline warmth

Kevin Cowherd

November 15, 1993|By Kevin Cowherd

On a recent visit to my mother's house, I received the depressing news that she has a new cat.

The new cat replaces the old cat, which apparently grew tired of annoying people and simply disappeared.

The old cat's name was Choo, and he sat on the corner of the living room couch for six years and glared at everyone.

When he wasn't giving you the creeps with his stare, he was scratching the hell out of the furniture or dragging dead birds and mice into the house for a little snack.

Yeah, he was a bundle of laughs, Choo. The house lost a lot of warmth when he moved on.

But now, apparently, there is a new cat exuding the peculiar kind of charm that only a cat can exude.

I found the new cat sitting on a corner of the living room couch, glaring at everyone.

"Say hello, Fluffy," my mother said. (Fluffy. There's a cat name you don't hear every day.)

Fluffy fixed me with a blank stare. Then, apparently irritated that someone else had dared to sit on her couch, she raked a claw in my direction, narrowly missing my finger.

For an instant, it crossed my mind that Choo and Fluffy could be brother and sister.

Certainly, they shared the same sparkling personality. And perhaps their territorial fixation, this primal urge to always sit where it causes the most inconvenience for humans, had also been passed on via the gene pool.

"Fluffy just needs to get used to you," my mother said.

"I'm sure that's it," I said.

At this point, Fluffy stood up abruptly and shot one more hateful look in my direction before sauntering out of the room.

"Nice talking to you, Fluffy," I said.

It was clear that Fluffy and I had hit it off well, and that this was the start of a beautiful relationship.

Still, and you may find this hard to believe, but I have never been much of a cat person.

To me, cats are sort of bloodless, soul-less creatures. In terms of affection received, it's about the same as having a lizard as a pet.

Actually, a lizard is probably a little more demonstrative. At least he'll show a little enthusiasm and flick his tongue out if you do something nice for him, feed him some dead flies or whatever.

I don't know, I guess I'm just used to dogs. I once had a St. Bernard who was so happy to see me at the end of the day that he'd run down the hall full-speed and slam his head into the kitchen counter.

Then, groggy from the impact, he'd stagger over and start licking my hand. Sure, he was dumb. But you gotta love that kind of response.

Whereas a cat will just sort of yawn and look at you as if to say:

"Food dish is empty, Jack. Where you been?"

Of course, whenever you write something like this, the cat people get all stirred up and the letters pour in.

After my last cat column (which, by the way, was every bit as fair and measured as this one), I received one particularly disturbing letter from a woman in Batavia, N.Y.

The woman claimed to be so enraged by my comments that she nTC was seriously considering hopping a plane to Baltimore to help me -- I'm not quite sure how to take this next part -- "readjust my thinking" about cats.

Something like that could happen, too. Look, Letterman used to come home from work and find that psycho woman who was stalking him warming pop tarts in his toaster.

You can't tell me there wasn't a six-inch straight razor rattling around in the bottom of her purse.

Some of these cat people, there's no question they have a screw loose. That woman in Batavia, I don't think you want to make her the den mother for your kid's Brownie troop.

But none of that concerns me now, as I am making a renewed effort these days to understand cats, especially my new pal Fluffy.

As I was leaving my mother's house, Fluffy was clawing at the new wallpaper in the kitchen.

"Say bye-bye, Fluffy," my mother said.

With that, Fluffy stopped destroying the wallpaper long enough to shoot me another murderous look.

Then she leaped onto the table and started clawing the fresh flowers neatly arranged in a vase.

I hated to leave just as we were really starting to connect.

But a friendship like this, you take it one step at a time.

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