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Thursday, August 28, 2008

Twenty Minutes

We have a stained wooden chest with a hole cut in one end. Inside the chest is the litter box for our one and only remaining cat, Puck.

I'm pretty sure that I named Puck after Puck from A Midsummer Night's Dream and faerie lore. Emily is pretty sure that I named Puck after the hockey pucks that were shooting through Patrick Roy during the 1997 playoff series between the Avalanche and the eventual Cup champion Detroit Red Wings. In either case, it's a good name.

Puck had a brother, Hector. Emily and I brought Hector home one day from a pet store where he was languishing in kitty jail with Puck, only a couple of weeks old and too young for the store to sell, but they had been found in an alleyway and were fed hamburger for a couple of days before being given to the owner of the store. Hector was adorable: a little black cat mewling for someone to take him home. So we did, paying a voluntary "adoption" fee (essentially buying him, but not according to the books the store kept). We didn't bring Puck home at the time because we had housemates, and three cats in the house already (only one of them Emily's) and we thought we could get away with one cute black kitten but probably not two. I named him Hector after Hector of Troy. A good name for a cat.

When our roommates met Hector, and then heard that there was another one who had been left behind they asked how we could do that. I was out the door before they had finished the question, and I snagged Puck from his wiry cage where he had been sitting all alone for twenty minutes, without his brother, already abandoned by his mother, and by the person who had been feeding him hamburger. I brought him home, and set him down next to his nearly identical brother, two black furballs mewling and confused.

Then we tied a red string around Hector's neck to distinguish him from his brother, and nicknamed him Frenchie.

Puck never really figured out how to meow or how to cover his own crap. We nicknamed him Squeaker.

Hector died of renal failure last November, shortly after our other cat, Madison, also died.

Puck is alone again.

Hector was always the kitty-slut, jumping up into everyone's lap, following us from room to room. He stayed slim and sleek his whole life.

Puck was always the terrified one. He would spend his time hiding under the bed when anyone came over. He used to flinch when we'd lean down to pet him, as though we'd been beating him. He had his affectionate moments, but he's always seemed a little sad and put upon. He ballooned up to 22 lbs, outeating the other two by a wide margin and then not moving. I think that 20 minutes alone at the beginning of his life really affected him, and he's never quite gotten over it.

Erin loves him.

He has no time at all for her. He is terrified of her and just wants to be left alone. From the moment she wakes up in the morning he hides under a bed. I usually keep the bedroom door closed so he can at least come out from under the bed at his leisure without Erin busting in on him.

I wish he weren't so afraid of her. I wish she weren't quite so exuberant. I also wish she were more subtle. When she began crawling she would try to sneak up on him, but get so excited when she got close that she'd shout "keeeee!!!" as she tried to snag his tail, and he'd bolt. She's no more subtle now that she is walking.

Puck came out from under the bed a little while ago to use his litter box.

Erin espied him, snuck up to the hole in the end of the chest and announced "ki-eeeeee!!!"

And for the past twenty minutes she's been running back and forth between me and the litter box, screaming for Puck to come out and love her. Puck hasn't moved a muscle, except to hiss once.

I finally took pity on him and removed her from that side of the room. I've been coaxing him out of the box, but so far he's content to hide.

Poor Squeaker.

Someday he will let Erin pet him. But not this day.


SciFi Dad said...

See, I read stuff like this and I think to myself, "We should really get a dog for my kid." (A dog because everyone in their right minds knows that cats are just the devil's minions.)

Aunt Becky said...

Awww! Sounds like Alex and my cat Pete.

anna said...

Sounds like my son and one of our cats, who has a healthy fear of toddlers. The other one just kind of sits there and lets him pull her fur--she must not have much time left.

Is it possible that the cat is named after that guy on Real World San Francisco who ate everybody else's peanut butter?

KT said...

Yeah, so I've had 2 beers and totally confused Erin with Emily and thought why the hell would the cat be afraid of his wife? Then I realized I was a little drunk...and stupid.

Sounds like you need a kitten, so the kitten can grow up with Erin. We did that. We have 3 cats, 1 dog, and 2 kids. We are outnumbered. But the animals don't attack the kids. And the kids can pet the animals.

Carolyn...Online said...

I just don't get cat people. I'm sorry.

Melizzard said...

We adopted their female counterparts last year. Pinky is the slut and Necklace is the doubter. They are the sweetest sisters I've ever seen.

(The names aren't that great but that's what you get when you let a 6 and 3 year old name them)

Both avoid the girls whenever possible but tolerate them if necessary. They will sleep with our six year old from time to time but they know that she knows where the food is.

Samurai Beetle said...

Ah something to look forward to. I have a 2 month old and 2 giant 22lb cats (22lbs each). Good times.

catnip said...

My cat and my boy used to be like that, but they adore each other now. Now that the boy has a healthy fear/respect of the claws.

Mandy said...

May I suggest our Wheaton Terrier. He comes when called, lets the kids wrestle him for up to 20 minutes a go, and still loves us all.

Middle Aged Woman said...

I'm going with the Red Wings explanation. Patrick Waaa is a big loser. Love to hate the Avs.

Sherry said...

I thought for sure your next line was going to be, "And then she crawled in, head first, into the wooden kitty litter box hole...."

TentCamper said...

Love it! ur year old has a pet parakeet and says that she likes to shower with her...did it a few times and now the bird won't go anywhere near her. Of course...she now needs a ne that isn't "broen"

AEA said...

Pat Roi, a big loser? Hmm. That's a bit of an overstatement. I mean, he was only selected by the NHL as the Greatest Hockey Goaltender EVER. Jesus, I wish this was a hockey blog.

Zip n Tizzy said...

Ahhh, kitties. I never lived without one until I was 18. I always figured I'd have cat's once I settled, but alas, we are all allergic. My kids love cats and there will come a time when they will beg us mecilessly.
Have mercy on Puck... he's a keeper!

anymommy said...

I'm kind of with scifi dad on this one. When the time comes, I think we'll go puppy. I fear things that hiss.

for a different kind of girl said...

This type of scenario, minus the toddler and the cat, is why we have become pet owners by proxy, watching our friends' dog when they're out of town. All of the love with only half the responsibility. This works out well for us, even though I'll admit to growing a bit weary of the boys constantly talking about our loaner dog when she's around.

Wow. That makes me sound cold hearted. Truly not the case. Let it be known I can dole out the belly rubs like nobody's business once the kids go to bed and leave the poor dog alone.

Tootsie Farklepants said...

I think you named him Puck after that San Fransisco season of MTV's The Real World.

Don't lie.

Tootsie Farklepants said...

p.s. I should read the comments before commenting.

Ignore me.

Dani said...

if the story goes like it does in our house, Puck will allow himself to be petted by rambunctious toddler when he is 16 and it hurts more to move than to submit.

Jerri Ann said...

This is a cat post from you and a comment so not related to cats in-laws absolutely love hockey. They are fanatics and it makes me crazy.

Anyway, they named my first child's pacifier a "pucky" and that's what we called it til he gave it up right before he was four. Now, say "where's my puck" or "where's my pucky" a few times and imagine you are 2 and your "s's" and "p's" and many other letters come out as "f's". It was cheap entertainment.

A.C. said...

Puck sounds like my old cat Della. Della Bella. She was 23 pounds and skittish as hell. It wasn't until I was 11 or 12 that I learned how to approach her without scaring her. We were best buds after that.

Anonymous said...

We have a Yorkie that hides under the bed for the better part of the day- it started when Rye kept backing her in the corner with his sword and telling her to "Walk the plank".
I don't blame her.

Ali said...

i once played Puck in my JCC's Midsummer night's dream AND of course i love i'll approve of either reasoning.


Wendy said...

Awww. Poor Puck! Our cats won't let anyone pet them. Except me. They're all over me because everyone else torments them. lol. But they do it with affection.

I have an extra cat. His name is Nate. He's very very affectionate and the kids can pull his tail and ears and he still purrs and won't leave. Should I put him in the mail to you?

Redneck Mommy said...

My heart hurts for Puck. I know the type of terror a toddler can instill on a kitty. My poor Mozart never fully recovered after being harassed for several years by my two toddlers.

That said, Erin needs a puppy. A little brown puppy with black tipped ears and a fat round belly.

Just sayin'.

Backpacking Dad said...

scifi dad: Erin + puppy= death by cuteness

aunt becky: so, you haven't seen Pete in a couple of years, huh?

anna: definitely not. I watch hockey for my reality tv.

kt: well, Emily can be intimidating....:}

carolyn online: that's ok, they get you :}

melizzard: I love "Necklace". It's so perfectly random. I also love lamp.

samurai beetle: two 22 pounders huh. That's a lot of kibble.

catnip: I think Puck is afraid to swipe at her in case that means she notices him.

mandy: do you mean your dog? Or that I get my own? :}

middle aged woman: Yeah. Boo Patty Roy and his chicken dance.

sherry: oh, I keep a little bit of an eye on her.

tentcamper: note to self "No birds in the shower."

aea: greatest pansy ever. Canadiens won't retire his number because he disgraced himself there.

zip n tizzy: trying to toughen him up :}

anymommy: at least it's a subtle warning. the growl is pretty overt.

FADKOG: do you want a loaner cat?

tootsie farkelpants: most certainly not.

tootsie farkelpants: most certainly not.

dani: that's probably how it'll go.

jeri ann: toddlers are better than television.

a.c.: Della and Puck ought to have shacked up together in a hut somewhere free of toddlers.

browerfamilyof5: well, had she mutinied?

ali: booyah.

redneck mommy: she'd try to ride him.

caramama said...

I can barely believe it, but my cat actually tolerates my toddler and lets her pet him. Except that when the cat meows, my daughter gets so excited that she screams, "Meeoooowww!!!" Which of course, scares the cat, who then runs as far away as possible. He puts up with a lot, but not the child screetching in his face.

kittenpie said...

Henry really has not much time for pumpkinpie, either. Ginger was the one who let her get in some pats, and she was pumpkinpie's favourite - and she died a month or two ago. Henry is now more desperate for attention and Pumpkinpie is getting way less scary to him - more controlled in movements and outbursts - so he is warming up. It could happen in time, you nver know, and ERin could end up with a buddy.

Whit said...

We have 3 dogs and 3 cats, with varying success.