I was just reading through some of my favorite celebrity blogs, like Rosie's blog, which is so ABSO-FUCKING-LUTELY brilliant I have no words to describe how ABSO-FUCKING-LUTELY brilliant it is, and besides, lots of other people have already written about how ABSO-FUCKING-LUTELY brilliant Rosie's blog is (you know, in a train wreck sorta way) that I really don't have anything new to say on the subject (though if you haven't spent at least five hours perusing through all of the archives in slack-jawed wonder and freakitude, then you really haven't lived) so I won't say anything about Rosie's blog, but I will say something about Tina Turner's blog because I was just perusing her archive and she said something at the beginning of one of her posts that I want to quote here because I feel like it’s an appropriate way to kick off the particular post that I’m about to write:
"Y’ know, every now and then I think you might like to hear something from my blog nice and easy. But there’s just one thing: You see, we never ever do nothing nice and easy. We always do it nice and rough. So we’re gonna take the beginning of this blog entry and do it easy. Then we’re gonna do the finish rough. This is the way we do blog entries about cats."
I read that and I was like, dude, I need to quote that shit, because I'm about to write a blog entry about cats and I don't want people to think I've run out of things to talk about and that I've succumbed to blog entries about cats. That’s seriously what I thought. But stick with this blog entry. Because this blog entry is gonna start out nice, with me talking about cats, and then it’s gonna finish rough, with me explaining why I’m a terrible person.
Because that’s how I do blog entries about cats.
I like cats. Cats are great.
Okay, that’s a lie. I’m sorry to all of the cat people out there—and I know you are plentiful—but I kinda hate cats. Actually, scratch the “kinda.” As long as I’m in full-on confession mode here, I’ll go the full monty: I fucking hate cats. All cats.
Okay, that’s a lie, too. I like some cats. But the kind of cats I like I don’t really consider to be cats. I consider them to be, well…dogs.
You know the cats I’m talking about. The ones who sit in your lap and wag their tails every time you move and who look at you in constant awe rather than the default cat attitude (cattitude?) of derision. The ones who bark at the mailman. The ones who, if there were such a thing as “species reassignment surgery,” would save up all of their money and hightail it over to Sweden to get their cat parts chopped off and replaced with dog parts. Because, deep down, these cats are really dogs, and they know it, and we know it, and we should respect that they were born in the wrong bodies and just call these special cats what they want to be called. We should refer to these special cats as “dogs.”
Now, the reason I’m thinking about cats at all right now, (I know, weird, huh?), is that we were talking about house-sitting gigs at my writing group tonight and I started thinking about all of my experience as a house sitter, and a dog sitter, and a cat sitter. Now, I am a ricken’ house and dog sitter. I’m also a rockin’ one. I meant to say I was a rockin’ one in the first place, but I accidentally typed “ricken’” and I decided to leave the typo there, as I’m wont to do (lately, at least), because I think that ricken’ is a cool fucking word. It’s like the word “fricken’” but even cooler than the word “fricken’,” if that’s possible. Anyway, I am a rockin’ and ricken’ house and dog sitter. But am I rockin’ and ricken’ cat sitter? Not so much.
It’s probably because, like I said before, I don’t like cats.
A few years ago, I was cat sitting for some friends of mine. They had two cats. I think one of them was white and one of them was black, but I’m not really sure because I don’t like cats and I didn’t pay very much attention to the cats during the week that I was living with them. For the purposes of this story, let’s just agree to assume that one of the cats was white and one of the cats was black. I don’t remember what the cats names were, so for the purposes of this story, since I’m going to have to refer to them as something, let’s call them Tristan and Isolde. And we’ll say that Tristan was the white one (if there was a white one) and Isolde was the black one (if there was a black one).
Oh my god, that reminds me of this story that my friend Jennifer used to tell about the first elementary school she taught at, after she got her teaching credentials, in a small Northern California town, where there was only one black student in the whole school, and he was in her class, and on the first day of classes he told Jennifer to call him “the black one” because that’s what everyone else called him and “look around, I’m the black one!”
Anyway, Tristan and Isolde’s owners had told me that the cats were allowed to hang out on the patio, but only if I was around, because if I left them alone on the patio, they might leave the patio, which would be bad because they were “house” cats, not “outside” cats, and if they left the patio they might go out into the neighborhood and then god knows where they might go. If they left the patio, they would no doubt be lost forever.
Of course, my friends warned me all about this, and then I spent the whole week hanging out on the patio with Tristan and Isolde and neither one of the cats ever showed any desire to leave that damned patio. They were content. They were motionless. They were boring.
So one day we were all sitting on the patio—because that’s all we did, me and Tristan and Isolde—and I had to go to the bathroom. Now, I could have herded that cats back into the house with me, but they seemed so content and motionless and boring—and they had never shown any signs of wanting to leave—that I figured they’d be fine alone on the patio for a few minutes. After all, I wasn’t going inside for #2—this was strictly a #1 venture. I’d be back in a jiffy.
So I went to the bathroom, I did my thing, and then I came back to the patio (literally, like, 47 seconds later) to discover that ISOLDE WAS GONE. She had left the patio while I was in the bathroom. She had gone out into the neighborhood. And, dear God, who knew where she might have gotten to by now?
Shit. I’ve lost the cat. It’s time to move. I’ve gotta find her. Pronto. Now.
I grabbed Tristan, put him back in the house, so I wouldn’t lose him too, and then I set out on my search for Isolde. And that’s when I started to realize what a terrible person I am. Because I had been cat sitting for a week, and suddenly, now that I had lost poor Isolde, I suddenly realized that I didn’t know what to look for because I had absolutely no idea what she looked like.
Did I mention I had been cat sitting for a week already? And not just dropping-by-to-feed-the-cats-and-clean-their-litter-box cat sitting. No, I was living there and hanging out with these cats 24/7.
So, I lost Isolde, and even though I had no idea what she looked like, I still had to find her for crying out loud, so I started to comb the neighborhood, calling out Isolde’s name and praying that maybe, just maybe, she would, like, grow a couple of dog balls and start wagging her tail when she heard her name and then she’d come running to me and this whole little mess would be resolved.
But Isolde didn’t run at the sound of her name because she wasn’t a dog, she was a cat, and cats don’t run at the sound of their name. They look at you in disdain and pity at the sound of their name.
Still, I continued to comb through the neighborhood, crying out “Isolde!”
“Please? Isolde? Can you hear me?”
Fuck. Shit. Fuck. This can’t be happening. I can’t lose my friends’ cat. I just can’t do that. That’s not me. That’s not who I am. I’m not a cat loser.
And that’s when I saw…a cat. A black cat. About a block away from my friends’ house, sitting underneath someone’s car. A random black cat.
Now there are two things I can say about this random black cat with absolute certainty:
(1.) It was definitely a cat.
(2.) I had no idea if it was Isolde or not.
(To make matters worse, neither Tristan or Isolde were wearing tags. Let this be a lesson to all pet owners: tags are good.)
Now, once again, let me state that I had no idea if this random black cat was Isolde or not. But I was missing a cat. And as I ran through “best case/worst case” scenarios in my head, I decided that it would be better for my friends to come home to the wrong cat than for them to come home to no cat. Because if it was the wrong cat, maybe they wouldn’t notice it was the wrong cat! It was worth a shot.
So I backed this random black cat into a corner, I scooped her (him?) into my arms, and I brought her (him?) home.
I also figured that I could figure out whether this was the right cat or not before my friends got home, which wouldn’t be for another few days, and it Isolde(?) wasn’t really Isolde, I could keep my eyes open for the real Isolde and maybe even do some praying on the matter.
So I brought Isolde(?) home and subjected her (him?) to a series of tests to determine whether or not Isolde(?) was Isolde.
First, I put Tristan and Isolde(?) together to determine if post-incident Tristan and Isolde(?) got along in the same manner as pre-incident Tristan and Isolde(?). After watching them ignore each other for a while, I decided that maybe this was how they related to each other pre-incident, but I couldn’t really be certain because I never paid any attention to them before the incident, and therefore I had no idea how they related to each other pre-incident. I deemed this test inconclusive.
Next, I decided to look through my friends’ closets for photo albums that might give me photographic proof that Isolde(?) was indeed Isolde. However, after looking at several hundred pictures of Isolde in several dozen photo albums, I decided that all cats looked alike and therefore this test was also inconclusive.
The next test I performed was…well, those were the only two tests I could think to perform.
Isolde(?) seemed a lot like Isolde to me, so I decided that the only thing I could do now was pray that I had the right cat and wait until my friends returned home for the moment of reckoning.
And you know what? When they came home, they were very happy to see their cats, but their cats weren’t very happy to see them. No, their cats just looked at them in disdain, and I decided that even if Isolde(?) wasn’t Isolde, my friends didn’t notice any differences between the two cats anyway, so I didn’t say anything about the incident and I just left it at that.
But I honestly don’t know whether they came home to the right cat or not. And that’s why I’m a bad person.
Full disclosure: I actually like some cats who aren’t dogs. Like, for instance, my friend Tracy’s cat Puss is an awesome cat who I have cat sat for several times. Some cats are exceptions to the rule, and Puss is definitely an exception to the rule.
And I'm sure there are other exceptions to the rule. Like YOUR cat, for instance.