Monday, March 24, 2008

Not a Pretty Cat

Several changes have happened in our house since Maggie died. The first is that Ryan and I can now get through a full night of sleep without a cat inserting one razor sharp claw into the soft tissue under our arms. Oh, good times. Luckily for me, Ryan was usually the primary target of that game. Also, I can now eat cheese without feeling like I am taking my life into my own hands. Really, Maggie would get airborne for a good piece of cheddar. But the biggest change has taken place in our other cats -- Rita in particular.

Maggie's primary domain was our bed. She ruled it like a queen and was quick to knock anyone down who tried to lie there without her permission. Since her death the bed has become open country, where Sally, Alice and Rita roam freely. Now, both Sally and Alice were regulars on the bed before, risking Maggie's wrath, however, Rita had never risked it, and I was actually surprised when she hauled her girth onto the bed for the first time. And I was even more shocked when she was began to act affectionate and sweet, because if there is one thing Rita is not, it's sweet.

You see, Rita is a North Carolina barn cat who would rather shred your arm to ribbons than look at you. She is very picky about who she allows to even be around her, and it took Ryan years before he was allowed to touch her. Now he can pet her for minutes at a time, although he is still pretty uneasy about it. My mother claims Rita once cornered her in my apartment, and if restraining orders could be filed against cats, most of my family would have one against her. She is a super bitch -- which is why I like her. So, you can understand why her recent change in attitude has shocked me. I feel like if she is softening, maybe I should too. Maybe I should ask a co-worker how their day is going, help and old lady across the street, or not trip any more mimes. My world is shaken, or at least, almost was...

Today, Rita got up on the bed while I was reading. She pushed her head under my book so I could pet her. I scratched behind her ears and rubbed her head, and then tried to pet under her chin. She almost took my hand off, hissing like a snake on the head of Medusa, but much, much bigger. I have never been happier in my life while risking amputation. The bitch is still in there, lurking. She just needs a little love once in a while. But not too much, or else she'll cut you. Just like me.