The cats were my daughter’s fault. She kept saying to us, “Mom, you’re upstairs writing day and night, and Dad’s downstairs with nobody. He needs a cat for his lap.”
Rob, being Rob, never agreed that his own company equaled nobody. For years, raised as an only child, he’s been fully at ease with a state of aloneness. On the other hand, he’s always preferred cats to at least half the human population—and I certainly like cats well enough, though I generally veer toward creatures that speak.
Anyway, under continuous pressure from Tracy, we visited a green-spirited animal shelter and brought home two black and white kittens. They were brothers, and, as we soon learned, even related cats come with distinctive personalities.
As they grew, we discovered Bruiser was smart enough to pry open every sliding door in the house—at which point he followed us into room after room, settling down into nearby chairs. But he wasn’t into physical affection, and when we tried to pet him, he ducked. He preferred our company at a distance.
Pretty Boy, on the other hand, was smart enough to learn that Rob’s lap was a nice place for an evening’s nap. Exactly as Tracy had hoped.
By the time they were grown, somebody had given us a huge cat tower, which, as it turned out, was rickety. One day, with two cats aloft, the thing came apart and fell over. Both cats flew away from the spot as though from a roadside IED. Rob repaired it, but Bruiser never went near it again. Only Pretty Boy was willing to give it another try--agreeing to a second, tentative experience with the tower. But when Rob’s repairs failed a second, then a third time, that was it for the tower. The thing had become a mere blight in the room. The cat pyramid went out on the curb, where some unknown animal lover picked it up. I only hope he found larger bolts than Rob ever found. Or that he has a dumb cat.
Meanwhile, Rob’s lap was Pretty Boy’s late evening, slumbering retreat. They enjoyed many a companionable few hours together. Until one evening, sitting in his leather chair with cat aboard, Rob was struck by an attack of gas. At which point—how do I put this delicately? --he did what gentlemen never do. .
At the moment, Pretty Boy was nicely asleep. Beneath him, the chair suddenly rumbled, as though from an earthquake. From a state of utter relaxation, Pretty Boy sprang upwards, to a height of more than three feet. As Rob watched in amazement, the cat gyrated crazily while he rose, with his paws splayed out in four directions. He actually spun around like an gymnast with a pre-set routine, performing moves Rob had never seen before, cat-wise or otherwise.
Rob said, “I wondered how he gained so much traction—all this from a dead-asleep start.” The cat did not remain airborne long. Once his feet returned to the land of earthquakes, he was off. He streaked across the family room and into the breakfast room, seeking, I suppose, some kind of flatulence-free oblivion.
Since then, Pretty Boy has tentatively returned to Rob’s lap. But my guess is, Rob will choose a better solution for any future attacks of gas--especially on a hard surface, like a leather chair. Even Pretty Boy eventually learns what he needs to know. It would sadden Tracy enormously to learn that her dad managed to permanently eject Pretty Boy from his lap.