A Tale of Two Catmonsters
It is the best of tales, it is the worst of tales.
When you think of cats, do you conjure up something purring and cuddly, or insta-maniacal? Speaking for me, my image of a cat is a feline mix of arrogance and tazmanian devil, with elements of an ex-girlfriend or two. An animal capable of turning on the charm in one instant, and the harm seconds later. A creature whose Prozac-needing personality demands to be the center of attention, only to shift to "leave me alone before I gouge your eyes out", in a hummingbird heartbeat.
Such as been my experience with cats and girlfriends down the years, but I digress on the latter.
A younger brother has excelled at acquiring maniacal cats in his home. One had a peculiar love of being spun around in a revolving chair until so dizzy, the cat would fall to the floor, flop a spell, then jump up and wait impatiently for another ride. But that was mild in contrast to his late cat, a Siamese/kamikaze mix he named Meiko. Meiko, my brother tells me, is Japanese for 'witch'.
Meiko apparently grasped this early on, and lived up to it in full. Just ask my brother's neighborhood. It is recommended you do so from another area code.
And yet another 'catmonster' has come to my attention: somewhere in the idyllic 'burbs of Austin, TX, resides a cyberacquaintance of mine. She loves animals. She has at least five. Three big, labrador-type dogs. One cowardly, often-sullen cat, annoyed at having to share the domicile with three of the latter "lower" life forms. And last but not least, her other cat, one she freely refers to as her "catmonster".
This "catmonster" is named Phoenix Orangello Clifton Maxwell Chaos IV, or "Jello" for short. Jello is a mixed Siamese/mutt cat. At 15 pounds, a big cat. One that can announce his entry into a room by the advanced vibration of his footfall, like a t-rex. A cat that thinks he's a dog, when it's of benefit to him to think so. The real dogs aren't inclined to argue.
To hear her tell it, Jello is far from an ordinary cat. Ordinary cats deem a hanging role of toilet paper to be fair game; Jello prefers and specializes in mauling fax paper. Ordinary cats usually provide the dogs with exercise in the form of "chase me"; in this house, it's Jello who does the chasing, at his convenience. Ordinary cats distain chasing tennis balls; Jello is annoyed because he can only retrieve one at a time. Ordinary cats know their place in the universe: at the center of it.
Jello believes the universe is there ONLY through his marginal forebearance.
On an infamous day in domicilic dystranquility, Jello had apparently found a new entrant to his universe: a rather large millar of Mothra dimensions (or so my acquaintance, in drama-queen style, described it). With no thought to potential consequences -- rank heresy for a cat of Jello's stature -- Jello brought his new 'plaything' into the house for a little millar time 'catch and release'. Mothra apparently entertained another option, and managed a daring aerial escape to a seemingly secure perch on top of the drapes in the living room, to my acquaintance's horror.
Jello took it as merely a minor obstacle to be overcome.
While my friend pondered what to do about a 'thing' with an F-16 wing span, Jello began a thoroughly-focused ascent. Starting with the stereo cabinet, Jello maneuvered his 15 lb bulk into position, and then made for his next point of approach: a nearby wall clock. With a deft and agile move, he negotiated the distance between cabinet and clock with the skill of a mountain goat.
Jello was now poised to retrieve the suddenly not-so-smug Mothra.
My acquaintance was slow to notice the route chosen by Jello, more afraid of the oversized millar that was fanning the curtains and anything else within wing shot; but seeing where Jello was now positioned, she grasped the significance more quickly than the Mothra-focused cat. Jello -- all 15 lbs of him -- was atop the wall clock now, seeking position from which to leap into Mothra's world. Jello -- a cat of the universe -- was not, however, a cat of physics. He quite failed to appreciate load stresses on a single nail, and the laws of gravity. And just as Jello made one minor adjustment before making that Mothra-retrieval leap, undeniable laws of Nature dared to insert themselves into the equation.
The nail gave way.
Thoroughly familiar with Jello's reckless abandon, my acquaintance had managed to position herself to, just barely, save the clock from an untimely end at the hands of the floor. It was the fate of the floor, having no place to go, and no options available, to have to absorb the impact of Jello. Mothra chose the moment of supreme commotion to make good an escape that led directly back to the great out-of-doors, with a tale to tell it's off-spring, about another very "off"sprung.
Personally, I'm pleased that I was able to hear of this anecdote from afar. I am just as pleased that there were no casualties as a result, other than an overstressed nail and my frazzled acquaintance.
But it did occur to me, the serious potential for CATastrophe, if Jello and Meiko had ever joined forces back then. More than just Mothra would have been wise to give what'd be left of that neighborhood a pass.