Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Roster: Mushka and OtherKitty

The issue of animals within a rented space is a common one; just finding a place that allows pets and that looks/smells decent is a problem in and of itself. Thankfully, this is not a problem that we’ve had to face this time around, as the current townhouse complex does allow animals, while retaining many of the niceties (such as unstained carpets) of a place that only-recently-did-not-allow-pets.

Which brings us down to the question of what animals dwell within a (not so dark) dwelling of the Errant, and, more importantly, what stories might be gleaned from their furry/scaly/feathered hides. (What use is an animal or a plant if it doesn’t carry an anecdote or three along with it?)

The first on the roster are the cat(s), 1.5 of them to be exact. The case here is the classical “Basement cat vs. Ceiling cat” one, ripe with daily conflicts, quips over the foodbowls, and moral lessons for the nonexistent children.

Basement cat

The name of the kitty is Myishka, or Russian for ‘little mouse’, not to be confused with Mishka, or endearment for the name Mihail, or Mushka, which means ‘little fly’. Ironically, since the letter ‘yi’ isn’t really present in the English alphabet, the cat ends up being called Mushka as often as not.

Mushka is a 10-year-old tortoiseshell, meaning that she is the devil on her monthlies, reincarnated into a feline body. For more information on this phenomena, search for ‘tortitude’ in your friendly neighborhood search engine.

(Though, it’s been proposed that her attitude is a partial side-effect of being declawed at a very young age, what with mom having a leather couch and not wanting any of the cats to scratch it up. Inhumane? Yup. Did Mushka still manage to ruin the couch by other means available to her? You bet’cha.)

A survivor of cancer and 4 years in a house with my mother (I’m not sure which of these feats is more impressive), this cat is temperamental, violent, possessive, and needy. We love her to death, despite her frequent habit of screeching howls, followed by violent assault on whatever body parts of the offending humanoid she can reach. To be fair, she does make a good lap-cat, complete with the catfish complex (will expand to fill a space, no matter how large; she’s not fat, though she used to be, and still has the extra skin to prove it), and lack of shame (will insist on staying on her corner of the bed, no matter what’s going on in other parts of the said bed).

Ceiling cat

Let’s be clear. This is not our cat. It never was our cat. If Elrin gets his way, it never will be our cat. (“No more pets! One cat is enough!”) We just happen to feed and cuddle it, making it a ‘cat with benefits’. The cat originally showed up as a loveable stray, shortly after Elrin moves out to this location. It was cuddled by everyone, and, as far as we know, is also getting fed in at least one other townhouse on our block. Maybe, more. Yet another resident took it to the veterinarian to be fixed, a few months ago.

This phenomenal product of nature is a large male cat, a communally owned male cat, larger than Mushka, whom we simply call “OtherKitty”. I wouldn’t mind calling him “Ryisik”, or an endearment of “lynx”, due to the black tufts on its ears, but, as Elrin said—no more pets.

OtherKitty and Mushka have an interesting relationship; she tries to establish dominance by hissing like a teapot and lunging at him in berserker rage every time she sees him at distance of five feet or less. He just tries to make friends. And play with her. It’s a never-ending, vicious cycle that’s incredibly entertaining to watch.

OtherKitty is the polar opposite of our bitchy lady, being hyperactive, friendly, and never resenting anyone picking him up; bird watching, (unsuccessful) bird hunting, eating cat food until bloating, and napping on his back in the ComfyChair(to be covered at a later post) are his primary hobbies. He also attacks feet, hands, jackets, potted plants, and cords, in wild fits of abandon which we can only hope is a show of youthful playfulness. Gods save us, if he grows up to be anything like the other.