It’s happened. Rassmussen gone a matter of weeks, and I have become an official cat lady.
I didn’t mean to become a cat lady. Mrs. Meadows fell and broke her hip. What could I do? The ice storms have made it nearly impossible to trek back and forth from her house to mine, caring for her and her cats. Her sister has taken Mrs. Meadows to Houston to recuperate, but the cats had no place to go. Not even the local shelter had the time, space or manpower to take control of the situation. And so, by default, I inherited twenty-two cats, twelve kittens and a hamster. How I came to own a hamster is beyond me. They are nothing more than hairy rats, as far as I am concerned.
The cats are easy, in comparison the hamster. His name is Henri. Henri requires constant supervision, else he becomes cat food, especially when he goes for his daily jaunt in his deluxe hamster ball, complete with stereo, juice bar and little bitty towel rack, which I am expected to keep stocked with freshly laundered hamster towels. If the cats were able to ignore the rolling rodent, they would still have to contend with his choice of music. “There’s a New Dog in Town” doesn’t bode well in a house full of felines, but so far, no injuries have been noted.
I credit Henri’s well being not to my meticulous care, rather the cats’ obsession with Rassmussen’s room. It is quiet amazing to see all thirty-four of them, cats and kittens combined, curled up in his bed, tails languishing up and down, purring loud enough to drown out the television. Cutest of all, the mothers have made nests in the middle of each of Rassmussen’s pillows for the kittens. Of course, I’ll have to explain the demise of his favorite chair, promptly shredded upon the cats’ arrival, when Rassmussen returns, but I am sure he will forgive the intrusion once he understands the severity of the situation.
I suppose I could write him, warn him of what awaits him at home, but that would be bad for morale, wouldn’t you think? Morale is such an important issue for the military. My own morale was low, until the cats. What can I say? Whether I like being a cat lady or not, in my heart and soul, I am one. Their purring has a hypnotic affect on me. I find myself sitting in my rocking chair, my eyes closed, attuning myself to the cats, hearing their contentment roll off their tongues. It’s hard not to get caught up in their haremed happiness.
In many ways, I envy the cats. They have each other. They touch, they feel, they are just as happy alone as they are in the cat mosh pit. But I find alone lonely, especially now, after living with that grumpy old gargoyle. I never realized how much I depended on him until now. Now, when it is too late to do more than become a cat lady, talking to my cats for lack of better company.