Last month, Emily the cat went missing from her home in Wisconsin. This week, the Associated Press reports that her family located their wayward pet.
Apparently kitty was roaming about a paper warehouse near her home and, unwisely, chose to investigate the inside of a transatlantic-bound cargo container. Workers at a French lamination company checked in the shipment, noted that "le chat" appeared nowhere on "le invoice" and immediately placed calls to determine that they were not being charged for materials they did not order.
Now Emily's owners have to buy a plane ticket. To fly their cat home. Owner Lesley McElhiney was quoted as saying (and I commend her restraint and lack of obscenity), "She's getting to be an expensive little thing."
McElhiney probably spent this morning huddled over a cup of coffee thinking the exact same thing I was: "Up until this past week, I was a cat person."
My cat troubles are not as costly or wide reaching as the McElhineys'. However, in one short week I have gone from being the sort of person who isn't truly happy unless they have a houseful of cats to the sort of person who contemplates whether a cat meatloaf would taste better with tomato sauce or A-1. I suspect the root of the issue, however, is the same: the weather is changing to more wintery patterns. And cats are notoriously poor sports about things like climates not catering to their little, megalomaniacal kitty whims.
My cat, Fourmyle, has a routine. 3 a.m. -- Pollute the flowerbed with solid waste. 3:15 -- Cavort with neighbors' cats. We know his little friends by name. If he's not out by breakfast, they're on our porch, driving the dogs crazy and peering in the windows to look for him.
This past week, however, he rushed out the door for his customary pre-twilight ramblings only rush right back in. It was cold. It was wet. It was, in my cat's eyes, a serious problem.
So Fourmyle has spent the week making it my problem, too. Starting at 3 a.m., he jumps on my head. He yodels until I fling pillows at him. He jumps on and off delicate computer equipment. He knocks over every glass of liquid left out. He jumps on our preschooler until she wakes up.
The neighbors have all put their squirt guns away for the winter, but I just got a new one. I've named it, "The Silencer".
Fourmyle's been so upset at the weather that he's taken to overeating and then hunting me down to barf by my feet. Yesterday was the final straw. As soon as I heard the "hurk hurk HOARK" sounds at my heel, I shouted to the household, "Everybody out of the way! Puking cat!"
That was, of course, the signal for everyone to rush out into the hallway I was trying to pass through.
"What's going on?" said my husband, standing in the way of the lady with the hurking cat. I swung kitty around and zigged left.
"What oo doing wif Fourmyle?"said my daughter, standing in the splash zone of the lady with the hurking cat. I swung kitty around and zagged right.
"What's that cat doing to you?" was the wordless (but clear) accusation from both the 100 lb German shepherd and the 70lb small dog as they blocked my path, rubbed against my legs and tried to stand up to see why the cat was making that noise.
Holding the cat high above it all, I danced, dodged and displayed surly attitude like Terrell Owens, but I made the end zone and lobbed the cat through the back door. Fourmyle plopped to the ground and gave me an exceptionally dirty look.
There was yurk all over the cat. There was yurk all over me. But that was nothing compared to the hallway, which was spattered from side to side and from end to end with semi-digested kitty kibble. I had, in effect, shaken kitty vigorously and then wagged the business end back and forth in almost the exact same motions I used five minutes later as I shook the can of carpet cleaner and sprayed the entire hall.
Anyway, I know what was going through Emily the Cat's head. It was the same thing that was going through my cat's head: "God, I hate this place. What I need is a cruise."
Sounds good to me. Where do I sign kitty up?
Comments and kitty vacation packages to Alex.Queen@gmail.com.
This article first appeared in the Oct 30, 2005 issue of the Manteca (Calif.) Bulletin.