Maggie and Moseby, Part Two

Part Two

Maggie was perfectly content being an only cat.  She had her choice of the fine perches in the best windows.  She had her own dish and clean water bowl with no other cat to gross out when she stuck her feet in.  There was a spot in the sunshine on the front porch just for her.  The dust bath, hers alone.  Best of all was the warm air vent in the kitchen.  It was her ultimate luxury. When the furnace was on, she would press up against it and writhe in ecstasy.  When I went to bed, there was her solo spot by my feet in warm weather and by my back in cold. Maggie went in and out and in and out on demand.  If she wanted cat company, she could go next door to visit Grace’s indoor cat Phoebe, through the window. Most importantly, she could ignore me completely and not worry about some other cat getting held or petted instead of her.

I didn’t see all this cat contentment.  I saw what I wanted to see.  I thought that since I was gone all day and often in the evening, Maggie must surely be lonely.  I knew just the thing for her, another cat.  I was wrong.

Maggie was not pleased when I found Moseby in the free ads and brought him home. Like Maggie he was already neutered.  He came from a family with a new baby.  A gray tabby weighing in at over 12 pounds, Mose was a big guy.  Compared to Maggie, a giant.  When I brought him home and let him out of the carrier, he bolted for the basement door like he knew where he was going.  He hid out in the basement for three days before putting in an appearance upstairs again.  I didn’t search for him.

From the beginning it was obvious that Mose fancied himself a lap cat. At that 12 pounds in the summer and more in the winter, he was a lap full.  It was hard to read or knit with him draped across my lap.  There was no place for book or yarn.

Cautious, maybe even a little cowardly, Mose didn’t seek confrontation so Maggie worked her will on him from the beginning.  She was a lot smaller than he, so she had to use her wits.  Since she was a lot smarter, the contest evened out, like the time she got even with him for taking her spot in the bathroom. Maggie had the custom of accompanying me to the bathroom every morning and sitting on the edge of the tub.

Like many cats, Maggie was fascinated by water.  She would bat at the stream coming from the faucet as the tub filled.  She also enjoyed standing in the bottom of tub retreating as the water rose and approached her feet.

Not long after Mose moved in, he began joining us in the bathroom.  Much to Maggie’s disgust, he usurped her place on the edge of the tub.  One morning, Mose was late arriving for the morning ablutions.  I was already in the tub.  Maggie was in her old spot on the edge.  Mose came in a jumped up next to Maggie.  There was enough room for two to sit comfortably, but like kids who can’t share the back seat of the car, Maggie left when Mose arrived.  This particular morning, she jumped off in disgust and went over to sit on the scales. As she sat, she stared at Mose.  Then I saw a gleam in her eye.  Before I could react, she launched herself and rammed the unsuspecting Mose right in the side, unseating him and dumping him into the tub.  He and I shot up from the water. I was as frantically trying to protect myself as he was trying to find something dry to land on to get out of the water.  Water flew.  I yelled. Mose yowled. Chaos reigned. Maggie smugly watched, then tail held high, walked sedately out of the room.

 

 

 

 

 

Maggie and Moseby

 

Part One

For the first time in my life, I was living alone. I was 44 years old.  Living alone was lonely and scary but, once I got used to the solitude, I enjoyed it. Even so, there were times I missed having another beating heart around.  I determined that once I owned my own house, I would get a low maintenance presence to talk to.

Finally, I bought a house.  Once I settled in, I decided the time had come to get a cat.  When I checked the “Free” section of the classifieds in the Capital Journal, I found an ad which read, “Free cat to good home. Two year old black and white female, neutered, declawed.”  I called. The family who owned her had two toddlers and they were moving. Two good reasons to get rid of what a harried mother saw as just another mouth to feed, yet another mess to clean up. I took my own kids, who were visiting for the weekend, along to check out the cat. We all approved, so we brought her home and named her Maggie.

In keeping with typical cat coping behavior, Maggie overwhelmed by the new surroundings, disappeared as soon as she was set free in the house.  That evening before I went to bed, I decided to find her to make sure she was okay.  It was then I discovered I was losing my mind.  I looked everywhere a cat could possibly hide.  I moved furniture, peered up the chimney, and rattled the windows and screens to make sure she hadn’t slipped through one.  I opened closed doors, closets and drawers.  I called, “Kitty, kitty, kitty,” the whole time. I found no cat.  I looked, then looked every place again, carefully poking and tipping, sliding and feeling.  I listened for purring and the very soft thud of cat feet.  I heard neither.  She wasn’t there.  She wasn’t anywhere.

Had I really gotten a cat? I thought I had.  My kids had gone, so I couldn’t check with them. She’d vanished.  Where had she found to hide without a trace?  I checked the entire house again.  No cat. Impossible.  I was really, really beginning to wonder if I had rounded the bend and lost it this time.  ­­There was no trace of a cat except for the food, water and litter pan I put out.  I must have imagined her. Living alone was getting to me.  There’s a word for imaginings so real, but I wasn’t going there.  Instead of worrying any longer, I went to bed to sleep on my dilemma.

About 2AM I awakened to a scratching and rustling very close to me. My bed was directly under a large open window.  I froze, barely daring to breathe.  I listened hard.  The noise came from inside the room.  I lay very still.  Rustle, rustle, rustle.  Then the sound of fabric tearing and a thud. A small thud like a small cat would make when landing.

I turned on my bedside lamp.  Out from beneath the bed, where I had looked at least three or four times, strolled Maggie. I jumped up and got down on the floor to peer under the bed, fully expecting to see a secret cat trap door slamming shut.  Instead, I saw a corner of the dust cover on the box springs hanging down.  That must have been the tearing fabric I heard.  Maggie had discovered a small opening and crawled in  to hide until she felt safe enough to come out.

I picked her up and stroked her.  I felt like I held my restored sanity.

 

To be continued…