Thursday, February 08, 2007

Ain't This Post the Cat's Meow?!

I've directed you before to Quinn Cummings's blog, The QC Report.

Quinn is funny, and as precocious an adult as she was a child actor. Her writing leaves you very amused, and wanting to read more about her and her world.

We now interrupt this regularly scheduled blog to bring you this special post...written by Quinn, produced by Quinn.

Feel the burn.

When last we saw Lulabelle the cat, she was eating wet food and bringing sexy back with the external hard drive. I think even the most churlish among us would consider this a December well-spent, for a cat.

But, as many of us find out every year, winter calories don’t just go out with the molting brown Christmas tree sometime in January, to be picked up by the Fat Sanitation department, to be shredded into cellulite mulch which can be packed around Nicole Ritchie in order to keep her warm. No, winter fat is more like a gopher, wrecking the stability of your lawn of self-esteem, eating the tubers of your hope for wearing shorts this spring.

[Note to self: Read Sunset magazine only after writing blog.]

I don’t know exactly what happened. Maybe Lulabelle noticed she was grooming a few more inches of stomach than she had been last summer. Maybe she saw a candid snapshot from Christmas and mistook herself for an ottoman. Possibly some kind neighborhood cat clued her in to how our new nickname for her, “La gata gorda grande” did not, in fact, translate as “Walks the runway for Oscar de la Renta”. Whatever did it, by the first week of January, Lulabelle was clearly on an exercise regimen. I respected her discipline and maturity. She didn’t strap on a pair of running shoes and try for five miles the first morning, only to turn her delicate ankle and head back to the loving embrace of the hard drive. No, Lulabelle works out in a smart and measured way for forty-five minutes to an hour every day.

Oh, did I say day? I meant night.

It goes like this. Night falls, the humans read and watch a little television. Eventually, we turn out the lights and, inexplicably, attempt to sleep. The cat, on the other hand, fresh as a cat food-scented daisy from an entire day of sleeping, views the bedroom light going as the cue to start stretching out her hamstrings. Within minutes, she’s doing time-trials through the house in pursuit of her prey. And what is her prey, you might ask? Is it one of the literally dozens of toys which have been bought for no other purpose than to cause her feline delight?

Have you ever met a cat?

Her great pleasure is throwing, stalking, pouncing on and then killing Daughter’s fuzzy ponytail holders. Having had a few weeks of late nights to contemplate this new avocation, I think I’ve discovered their appeal. They are little enough to be thrown and then carried around after you kill them. The fuzziness means they hang on to your claws, seemingly mocking you by refusing to die. Best of all, their very smallness means no matter how hard Quinn looks, no matter how certain she might be that she’s found every rogue ponytail holder in the house, Lulabelle can always find one more for the 3:45 am “Stretch and Tone” class she has devised for herself.

What I don’t understand is how a cat who, even Super-sized, still weighs less than twelve pounds, can make so much noise. Wouldn’t you think an animal genetically wired to be a killing machine would skulk? Every night is the Running of the Bulls at Pamplona here, only with trash-talking. Because when one catches her intended prey of North American Pink-Breasted Ponytail Holder, one wishes to let everyone know. Since I speak basic Cat, not idiomatic Cat, I can only guess, but the yowls and yodels could probably be safely translated as “…who’s your kitty-daddy, chump?”

This leads effortlessly into an aria I like to call “All hair-holders bow down before me”. This is usually around the time I come staggering into the living room. Lulabelle, understandably frightened by the homunculus with closed eyes lurching towards her, grabs her kill and takes off, leaping over the couch, sliding under the dining-room table, streaking through the bedrooms across people's heads. This is the circuit-training portion of her workout.God help me if I try to lock the Workout Queen out of the bedrooms. Unbeknownst to me, I am her exercise buddy, and Lulabelle will be damned if she’s going through all this by herself. She stands by the outside of the bedroom door.


QUINN: Hush, Lu.

A second of silence, where we all contemplate what an incredibly stupid thing I said.



A paw slides under the door, trying to wiggle the door open. Sensing this won’t work, the paw slides back. A moment later, there is the sound of a cat’s body throwing itself against the door.


Over the sound of her hurling herself against the door, I can hear Daughter sleepily saying “…Mommy?” and feel Consort thrashing into wakefulness. I give up, leap from the bed, and open the door. The cat, mid door-hurl, skids into the room. We stare at each other in the half-light until the cat sees something under the bed. With a crow of triumph, she darts under the bed.

The amount of noise she generates would indicate she has either trapped a wolverine under there, or she found a ponytail holder. I slide under the bed and, in the dark, differentiate the precious toy from a rubber band and a dust bunny. I wriggle back out from under the bed, walk to the door, and throw it into the living room. The cat races after it, screaming in joy and blood-lust. I get back into bed and am just drifting off to sleep, so I don’t hear the sound of tiny well-exercised feet walking up to my side of the bed.


On the plus side, I think the shadows under my eyes make me look mysterious, and the cat’s wearing jeans she hasn’t worn in years.


shoshana (bershad) said...

What an amusing post! It brought back memories from 30+ years ago, when we had a third-floor apartment and downstairs neighbors who slept lightly. Our two kittens would get their nightly exercise by playing ping pong. They'd bat the ping pong balls (which we had misguidedly given them as cat toys) around the living room, bouncing them off the furniture and up and down the hallway, with its hardwood floor. Finally, as the kittens tired of their pursuit, the balls would get lost behind the sofa or a cabinet, only to be found again the next night and put into play.

marallyn ben moshe said...

i loved it!!! brilliant writing...why isn't this all going into a book...thanks for sharing...a sweet shabbat maeshey loved hearing from you

torontopearl said...

Shoshana: thanks for dropping by. You cats sounded as if they definitely could provide their own fun.

Marallyn: Quinn is indeed multi-talented -- and a wonderful writer to boot; she should be a published author/humorist.