Friday, January 30, 2009

The Cat Nanny


By CHRIS MILLSPAUGH

Because of apartment restrictions, significant others with allergies and a lifestyle of full-time jobs and non-stop partying at night, I wisely elected not to have pets. Now, it has all changed. I live in a log cabin with no rules, split the rent with an old pal, am retired and, dare I say it, sober. Consequently, I'm at home most of the time with the housemate's cats—Pete and Marco. It took them a while to accept me because as you well know, cats do the choosing.

Pete is a 9-year-old, black-and-tan tabby wise beyond his years and in charge. Marco is a 3-year-old, gray longhair with white legs and a goatee, very athletic, aloof and most of the time a little brat. Thankfully, Pete keeps him in line.

Since the old pal has a full-time job, socializes a lot and supplements his income as an actor, I have become the "cat nanny." Through a little encouragement on my part, I am now referred to as "Mary Spappins."

It took a while for the boys (Pete and Marco) to warm up to me, but now I believe I've been accepted. So much so that they treat me as someone they like to hang out with as long as I know the score. They don't like a closed door that they can't ram open with their heads because it's their house. The bathroom gets really crowded at times. They prefer sleeping through the day and running amok at night. I've learned to ignore the sounds of pursuit and occasional loud spills.

Marco likes to greet me in the morning by purposely tripping me on my way to the kitchen to make sure that I know that he's ready for breakfast. Pete's way is to jump up on my lap while I'm having my morning coffee and stare into my soul until I produce his meal. Both are very vocal when they want something and don't stop until you figure it out. Not only can I figure out what they want now, but I really believe they're talking to me:

Pete: "Could you be a little more quiet in the afternoon, Nanny? We really need our naps."

Marco: "Hey, Bozo! How about some of that tuna water? I need it!"

Pete: "Look, Nanny, I don't play with cat toys."

Marco: "Open the damn door, old man! I need to get in that tub."

I have a wardrobe of mohair clothing. There's mo' hair everywhere. I've learned that a soft head butt is good, leaving too long is bad and that it's a good idea to keep those cat bowls full of chow. They have to make sure it's there.

And, to think I was worried about getting a job this year. I have one. I'm the cat nanny.

Nice talking to you.




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