Paul Heinz

Original Fiction, Music and Essays

Feline or Foe?

I’m going to make a confession despite the ensuing calls that are sure to come from my daughters, my sister and my vet if they happen to read this blog.  Okay?  Here goes.  I would be happier if my two cats – the orange tabbies Fred and George Weasley Heinz – would suddenly…um…not be alive. 

There.  I said it. 

Now don’t get your undies in a bunch.  I promise not to go all “Apt Pupil” on them and commit felinicide.  (Haven’t read the Stephen King novella?  You should.)   I’m not insane.  But yes, the cats do, from time to time, drive me insane. 

“Oh, come on,” you might say.  “What on Earth could two cute little cuddly cats do to upset you so?”

Well, I’ll make a list of the things my two cats have ruined since they joined the family nine years ago, right after my sister’s dog paid a visit to my home and played with our two hamsters until they were dead, hence clearing the Heinz household slate as far as pets were concerned.   We had an opportunity to replenish our deceased pets with something grander.  A dog?  One would think, but no.  We heard about someone getting rid of two flea-ridden kittens (the adjective unknown to us until we got them home), so we took the bait, and here we are nine years and many ruined household items later.  Allow me to share the items my cats have destroyed either by tearing them apart with their teeth, knocking them over onto the floor, or via urination:

A futon mattress.

A futon cover.

A shower curtain.

Three bean bag chairs.

Dozens of stuffed animals.

Four pillows.

A rug.

Two antique vases that had survived for eight decades, only to last two nights in my home.

Two plants.

Countless cut flowers, to the point where we don’t buy flowers anymore, and if someone gets us some as a present, we store them on TOP OF THE REFRIGERATOR!

Several scarves.

Several gloves.

Several hats.

Several blankets.

Several sweaters.

Several Crocks.

A few pairs of flip-flops.

Still think I haven’t earned the right to be mildly disenchanted with my feline friends?

“Oh, but the joy they bring,” you say.

Yes, the vomit I’ve had to clean up on an almost weekly basis.  The litter boxes they’ve failed to hit with their apparently malfunctioning weaponry.  The rug I had to spray from edge to edge while using an ultraviolet light to illuminate virtually one big mass of cat urine.  The $1200 I spent bringing George back from the brink of death after he swallowed a toy.

Joyful indeed. 

We now have to keep our bedroom doors shut at all times because doing otherwise will invite the Weasley twins to tear apart clothing and any other moderately fuzzy artifact lying about in our house.  But here’s the thing:  on hot days when the air conditioner is running we have to keep our doors open, so lo and behold there were days this summer I spent vacuuming up the little plastic beads spilled from the torso’s of stuffed bears, lambs, and other assorted Beanie Babies.  And since our doors were open, the cats felt obliged to wake us up at 6AM for their morning breakfast, be it a work day or otherwise.

(I know what some of you are saying: “Paul, you don’t work anyhow, so who gives a shit?”  I DO work.  I work cleaning up after my two demon cats!)

We must be among the first generations of mankind to put up with this kind of nonsense.  Would an average Joe living in 1850 put up with this crap?  Of course not.  He’d kick the damn thing out of the house and maybe even drown it for good measure.  Hell, I know a person who shall not be named who took his wife’s cat away for the day for a “little trip,” and only one living organism returned.  The wife is much happier now as a widow.  (I’m only kidding, but not entirely.)

@@ I know a someone who took his wife’s cat away for the day for a “little trip.” The wife is much happier now as a widow@@

I will not resort murder, though a blurb in TIME Magazine last week certainly put me on edge.  Seems a cat in Oregon named Corduroy has claimed the title as the oldest living cat.  Get this: TWENTY-SIX YEARS!  And that’s NOTHING!  The oldest cat ever on record is Crème Puff, who lived to be over 38 years old!

So Fred and George, I promise to keep feeding you and keep cleaning out your litter boxes.  I promise to play with you and talk to you.  I promise to let you hang on me when I’m watching TV.  I promise to continue to spend a small fortune on your checkups with the vet.

But do you think you could promise to bow out gracefully after, say, another nine years or so?  That seems like a fair deal, don’t you think?

Copyright, 2017, Paul Heinz, All Right Reserved