Other people have normal pets.
Other people have dogs that wag tails, dig up yards and bark when strangers come to the door.
Or they have cats that are aloof, hide from strangers, or leave clawmarks on the sofa.
I’ve yet to have a normal pet.
I had a dog that greeted you by bouncing – as if on springs – straight up in the air so she could look you in the eye.
I concluded that it was because she was a cattle dog and we were keeping her inside. It was all a function of the environment.
That dog ultimately had to be sent to Alabama.
This was not some sort of consequence. We were moving to Europe, the friend who adopted her lived in Alabama.
Quit thinking bad things about people in Alabama. This was not punishment for the dog chewing our slippers or anything. (Although she once ate a Barney doll. For which we gave her fresh bacon.)
Now I own cats.
I’d never owned a cat before.
I had no schemata for cats.
Independent. Furry. They like milk.
This is what I knew of cats.
Topaz followed me around the house. She stole the sponge from the kitchen sink and dragged it around the apartment with her. She played hockey with ripe avocados. She knocked paintings, lamps and glasses of water from great heights to ensure that gravity was still working….today. She redecorated our Christmas tree be randomly relocating it one small piece at a time.
We concluded that she was lonely.
Which as far as Topaz is concerned, demonstrated that we were clinically eligible for psychiatric services up to and including electric shock therapy.
If only she’d had opposable thumbs and a credit card.
So we got….Nimbus.
Let us be clear.
Getting Nimbus ruined Topaz’ life.
Ruined, like moving-to-the-sticks-your-senior-year-of-high-school, getting-caught-in-an-affair-with-your-boss’-husband, joking-about-the-quarterback’s-bad-hairpiece-in-a-national-interview sort of ruined.
She forgave me in a few months. She forgave Himself last Tuesday.
If Topaz was cat-squared, Nimbus is cat-to-the-power-of-ten.
Here are a few things Nimbus has put clawmarks in: every piece of leather furniture we own, our mahogany headboard, our dresser, the hallway wall, the hardwood floor and the finish of my car.
In addition to stabbing the vet with her own hypodermic needle, Nimbus has ripped a utility sink off a wall, and managed one day to make off with a ten pound bag of marinating chicken breasts.
There is zero hyperbole in the last two paragraphs. ZERO.
Our cats also have conversations with us. Here is an example.
Translated, this conversation reads as follows:
Topaz: I would like to go kill that bird, please.
Topaz: You don’t understand, it’s a biological imperative and it won’t take but a minute!
Topaz: IT’S GETTING AWAY BECAUSE I CAN’T OPEN THE DOOR BY MYSELF YOU USELESS MORONS!
Topaz: Well, I think this vase would look better on the floor then, don’t you?
Conversations with Nimbus go like this:
Nimbus: Mrowwwrr! Mroowrr! Mrrroooowrrr! Mrowr! Mrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrooowr!
Translation: I’m hungry! I’mmmmm hungry! I’m HUUUUUUUNgry! Hungry! Reeeeeeeeaaaaaallllllly hungry!
Which I suppose technically is really a monologue since we typically ignore him.