The Cat From Hell
by L. Stewart Marsden
I know. The title is redundant (my sincere apologies to all cat lovers). But, indeed, my family is cursed with one cat that truly is from the under regions.
Here’s how I know: a looooong time ago my wife and one daughter disappeared for about a full day. They traveled to a very dark place in the state where this particular cat was being maintained. I’m thinking it was Central Prison in Raleigh, one of our maximum detention facilities. Regardless, they were on a rescue mission.
Little did they know we would be in need of rescue as a family once the cat settled in.
“She’s been abused,” my wife explained when the cat dashed under our bed and didn’t come out for three years. Skinny with little fur, a big head and rat-like tail, the cat was quarantined until she could get used to us. In the meantime, every non-shredded fabric thing we owned in the bedroom was a target for “itchy claws syndrome.”
My youngest daughter, Lily, claimed the cat as her own, and gave her a name I still can’t remember. Something from the Ukraine.
Gradually, the skinny cat filled out; the hair grew in; and the cat emerged from under the bed. Over most of the surface trauma of her infant days, she luxuriated in all the pampering of the females of the family. The deep areas, however, never healed.
She faked liking my son and me, which was okay, because neither one of us faked liking her.
As she grew, my tiniest did her best to train the hellcat to the litter box, but unsuccessfully. Well, in the cat’s defense, Lily was not the best at flushing the box of the deposits, which grew in size and aroma as the cat grew.
How would you like to sit on a nearly full latrine?
So, ______________ (fill in a Ukrainian name here), would dash through the house and find something that resembled a litter box. Often, those somethings were in my son’s room, which totally resembles a litter box.
But most often, her deposit spots were in the bathroom tub and sinks in the kids’ bathroom.
“Moooooooooooooooooooml!!!!” would erupt early in the morning after Peter had awakened and gone to his bathroom to shower. “The CAT POOPED in my TUB!”
And of course he couldn’t clean it up because it wasn’t his cat and a dozen other reasons. So Peter would come downstairs and take his thirty minute steam showers in our bathroom, leaving clothing and towels and other implements of disgust traipsed about on the floor. We would yell at him, and he would point to THE CAT as the culprit.
And the years sneaked by. A vicious cycle took hold of the house:
- Lily would forget to empty the litter box.
- Cat stuff would pile up.
- ______________ (Ukrainian name here) would hie back to her earlier days of abuse (she lived in an enclosed room with dozens of other cats), await the chance — any chance — to dash from the bedroom;
- She would flash upstairs to the “litter boxes” that awaited.
- Hours later, early in the morning, scratching and rubbing his way to his bathroom, Peter would discover the deposits made in his sink or bathroom. “Moooooooooooooooom!!!!!”
You know there are no cat whisperers.
Peter finally broke this morning, thundered down the stairs and into the bedroom to grab ______________ (fill in Ukrainian name here) by the nape of the neck and rush back upstairs — beast bellowing — to the bathroom and give the cat a nose-to- (well, you know)- experience.
“Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!” screamed the females. “You can’t treat a cat like that!”
The men squinted under their Eastwood-like cowboy hats, rubbed their grizzled faces, and nodded knowingly. “Cats’ got nine lives. ‘Sides — this is how momma cats carry their kittens.”
The cat, in the meantime, tore back downstairs and ran to the back door, where I kindly obliged her desire to flee the house.
Momma and son went at it like wild cats thrown in a dryer. Fault and fluff and fur were flung with fervor.
I finally got out of the safety of my court-side seat to offer manly wisdom:
“Time to find a good home for this cat,” I announced, turning to look at my youngest. “One where the little girl in that home will be faithful in cleaning out the litter box every day so that things don’t end up like thissssssssss!” I hissed like a Tom Cat.
Lily bowed her head in shame and managed to squeeze out one plump, very wet tear, which caught momentarily on a bottom eyelash before dropping and trailing down her cheek.
The cat, in the meantime, perched herself on the wooden side table of the gas grill on the porch, sitting like a fat, furry statue, only with a tail that twitched at the very end. She surveyed the backyard for any movement, ignoring the melee inside the house.
I turned my head from the cat to Lily. Lily to the cat. The cat to Lily.
On my last turn to the cat, as if she knew exactly what was going on — and all demon-possessed animals do — the cat, _____________ (fill in Ukrainian name here) turned her head all the way around to look directly at me and silently mew, the slightest upturns on the corners of her mouth.
I knew, deep inside, that the Cat from Hell had won.