Heather Ijames

Saturday, Jul 07 2012 12:00 PM

HEATHER IJAMES: I now have a cat to rule my house

By Heather Ijames

Bleeding hearts unite: I brought home a stray kitten. Until the day I'm dead, I will long tell of the story when a fuzzy black kitten permeated through my No Cats Allowed stance and came into my home. To be honest, I was having a shoddy week and I think it made me overly vulnerable and needy. So yeah, I saw this cute little kitten picture on a friend's Facebook wall -- along with the caption it was on its way to the pound -- and I melted.

Of course, I had to get permission from all three men in my house first, thinking that at least one of them would put on the brakes and pull me from my moment of weakness. The boys, however, well, they'd be up for a tarantula and an opossum, too, so I guess I really had no business expecting them to say no. My husband, surely, would remind me that we had our plates full with two precocious sons and two Boston Terriers. I figured he'd mention we didn't need another living thing in our house, demanding food and making messes we're generally too tired to clean up.

He didn't. He only asked how soon we could bring kitty home.

I insisted we name him Beau because he was so darn handsome. (I'm already sounding like a crazy cat lady, aren't I? Duly noted.) We've had him for a month now and all I can say is this cat is pretty awesome. He not only managed to get the dogs to love and welcome him in less than 48 hours, but also managed to get them to accept his rule over them in 72. Did I mention he still weighs less than a pound? That's power, I'm telling you. I think I love him.

My boys are a different story, though, in who rules whom. I think the cat is biding his time, and maybe out of respect for me -- saving him the big, bad pound and all -- has resisted in his retaliation and conquer.

Their daily deeds of hurt to the cat started with what they called crucified kitty. It's where my youngest liked to hold the cat up and carry him by his front paws, splayed to the sides. He did this to prevent being scratched by said paws, but I said there were better, more humane ways to pick the cat up.

"Like this?" he asked, lifting the kitten up by its tail.

Are all little boys so stereotypically rough with cats? Never mind. Asked and answered. However, I'm pleased to say that crucified kitty -- and all lifting by the tail -- has been banned in the house.

There was also the time I walked into the living room and witnessed the little ball of black fur sail across my line of sight. After the cat's first full rotation in mid-air, I thought of only one thing: Go limp kitty, just go limp. Thank God the cat landed safely. I turned to my sons. "Why? How? Again, why?"

The older one answered, "I heard cats always land on their feet, and we wanted to see if it's true."

I replied, "Well, I've heard that little boys forget their names if they get locked in their rooms long enough during a time out. Shall we test that one, too?"

Catapult kitty has also been banned in the house.

Because of these incidences, I've gotten increasingly lax on how/if I punish the cat whenever he strikes at the boys. The youngest came crying to me the other day, holding his neck. When I asked him what happened, he showed me a small scratch mark and said, "I was up in the kitty's grill."

Way to strike back, kitty. And, we'll leave the topic of my 4-year-old's slang for a different day.

Finally, as I was contemplating the contents of this column, I saw the cat slide across the hardwood floors, tucked in an opened Tupperware container. The boys called it Tupperware tobogganing. I was waiting for the cat to jump out in mid-slide, but he stayed put, even as the container did a few 360s on the floor. When the container was about to crash into a wall, the cat calmly jumped out, sat down, and then licked its paws. He even went along for another ride. And another.

Tupperware tobogganing has not been banned in the house. Oh my goodness, they're turning him.

-- Heather Ijames is one of three community columnists whose work appears here every Saturday. These are the opinions of Ijames, not necessarily The Californian's. You can send email to her at heatherijames@hotmail.com. Next week: Inga Barks.

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