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.