|Tito: Boys just want to have fun.|
Charlie recently came home for an extended visit and brought his cat, Tito (aka Tootie, Teetsie, Teetles, Tootles, Too-Too and many more) with him.
In the past, Charlie made the trek with another human passenger and Tito would agreeably spend the six hours happily cuddled in someone's arms.
That someone would emerge from the ride covered from head to toe in cat hair and with no feeling in their upper body but since most of the people we know are severely cat-a-holic (no, not Catholic although we do hang out with tons of 'em....cat-a-holic), all that mattered was that Tito arrived safely.
Lately, Charlie drives alone so Tito has no choice but to be confined and is, for the most part, a well-mannered traveler who never makes a boom boom in his carrier.
He does, however, make up for his extended confinement by out-pooping every cat in the house during his stay.
There is more litter box activity when Tito is on site than at any time during the year and I inhale dangerous amounts of cat litter dust and Lysol for however long this festival of elimination is going on.
I also have learned to automatically cringe, in a most Pavlovian way, whenever I hear the tell-tale scraping-around of someone in the box because I know that what comes next is the heady stink of something one of the cats proudly made for Mommy. Or, in Tito's case--Grandma.
I work very hard at keeping the boxes freshly scooped but those of you with cats know that your home only smells as good as the last crap your cat took.
Many of you also know that Buzzy hates Tito.
Buzzy, a sleek and mature fellow of 4, has totally forgotten that he earned his name based on behavior. Buzzing about like a maniac from couch to table to someone's shoulder, he once was a kitten on a mission.
This mission, like Tito's, was to have carefree fun at the expense of the older cats in the household. He didn't care that Cookie hates to move so much as a whisker and that Fritzi prefers a good nap above all else.
Buzzy has learned that payback is a bitch....or in this case, a cat called Tootles.
For the humans, the days are spent with me cooking for Charlie at breakneck speed. Elbows pumping and blowing hair out of my eyes, I try to get in as many of his favorites as the days will allow. Then, placing a wreath of fresh flowers on Charlie's head and summoning the buglers, I offer them to him, one by one, backing away in a curtsy as he nods towards another plate. "Show me that one, Mommy," he will say as I rush to fetch the next dish.
|Tito expresses himself in plastic bags.|
But for the now sedentary Buzzy, cat-tivities are limited to trying desperately to avoid Tito's direct advances meant to lure him into the free-form cat antics favored by the younger set: swinging on the drapes, scampering, running sideways, pushing the water bowl around the floor so it's never in the same place twice and making sure that both litter boxes are full of plastic bags. The reason for that last activity is a mystery to all but Tito. Lucky for him, we believe in free, artistic expression in this house.
Since Tito left yesterday, Buzzy has not moved from the couch except to stare at me in utter relief or for a snack and a trip to the litter box. It usually takes him about a week to recover.
A few days prior, however, Buzzy had his revenge.
Tito began by acting a little distracted as he ambled about the family room. As we attempted to watch Steven Tyler and Randy Jackson be totally dominated by J-Lo on American Idol, we noticed him starting to walk funny after repeated periods of attempted self-grooming.
Eventually, he was running at full-tilt back and forth across the carpet in front of us but as if all four legs had been bungeed together, his back arched in a Halloween cat silhouette.
Something was clearly amiss.
Each time he boinged by, he would make direct eye contact with Charlie who, smiling indulgently and still wearing his floral wreath, thinks everything Tito does is for his entertainment.
Being the experienced cat owner I am, I recognized this behavior as a possible dingleberry-dislodgement situation and warned Charlie that lest one of us soon be stepping in it, he should investigate immediately.
Forever barefoot, I have encountered more than my share of dingleberries.
|The attempted murder weapon.|
Upon closer inspection, Charlie discovered that his cat had eaten about an eight inch length of cat toy which was trying to spontaneously eliminate itself from Tito's lower intestine.
After a brief period of screaming from all (including Tito), Charlie sprang into action and pulled on one end until the entire length -- still brightly colored -- was out.
Tito collapsed in relief and, I swear, I heard snickering coming from the fake-fish tank upon which Buzzy had perched to enjoy the action.
For the remainder of the visit, Tito steered clear of Buzzy who I suspect, in an attempt to painfully murder Tito, had encouraged him to consume the toy:
Buzzy: I saved you something delicious, Tito.
Tito: Really? Wow! Thanks, Buzzy!
Buzzy: Don't bother chewing it, it's better swallowed whole.
Tito: Really? Wow! Thanks, Buzzy!
Moral of the Story: Do not mess with Buzzy. And wear shoes in the house at all times because as long as there are cats, there will be dingleberries.