Now before cat lovers the world over contact me, let me explain…
Why I Hate Cats.
I grew up with three younger brothers, and like many suburban kids, we had a sandbox in our backyard. The sandbox had a lid, but we never put the lid on that sandbox. There were plenty of reasons why:
It was a heavy wooden lid for a wooden sandbox.
We couldn’t lift it.
We got splinters.
we were just forgetful – or plain lazy.
I actually prefer to think we were just so busy in other creative activities that such peasantry was beneath us as we skipped gleefully into the next mind-enlightening adventure.
But my mother would probably disagree with that assessment, and, if the truth be told…
We were probably just lazy.
And so let’s skip over that part and get back to the post…
While my brothers and I liked our sandbox, we were not the only ones who liked it.
Our next door neighbor had cats that liked it too
only they liked it as a litter box,
and I don’t think our neighbor ever had fewer than 13 cats.
and that’s a lot of cats (and a lot of yuck) in our sandbox!
Picture the peaceful summer day a little over 30 years ago. It’s a bit hot out, but there’s a slight breeze blowing through my then-platinum curls, and that breeze is keeping me from caring too much about the heat. There’s a blue sky and I’m humming softly to myself in a rare childlike little way. My brother and I are sitting in that sandbox making sandcastles, chatting occasionally as children do but mostly just caught up in the near perfect day.
And then your mom comes out to check on you
and things suddenly change as though a cloud’s shadow has glided over the sun,
and my mother’s smile turns to a look of horror and then utter disgust,
and things happen in slow motion and the sound has a slow cinema quality roar that fills my ears distorting mom’s voice.
What’s that you say?
I hear words, but they’re not making sense, not registering with me.
My brother starts laughing hysterically, holding his side and pointing at you.
And that’s when I begin to comprehend my mother’s words.
That sandcastle I had thought I were so cool for building because I didn’t even need a pail to make the sand stick together, because I had found sand that already stuck together in great (albeit smelly) clumps, because I had held it in my hands and weighed it and reshaped it until it formed just the way I had wanted it to –
That sandcastle sand wasn’t held together by magic after all!
The magic ingredient was – CAT PEE!!!!!!
And not only did those cats pee in our sandbox, but we couldn’t get away from them. There was one we called Quasimodo (From Victor Hugo‘s The HunchBack of Notre Dame). It had been caught in someone’s car engine (not ours as far as I know!). The poor thing was missing one front leg and a good chunk of its head.
but it had survived.
and it scared the daylights out of us!
My bothers and I were haunted by an incredible fascination mixed with pity for this poor creature and the utter horror that came from the feeling that Quasimodo knew we lived in fear of him and that he got some sort of sick pleasure out of stalking us. We could almost see the half smile as he slunk across the yard toward us as if we were some sort of giant prey.
We aren’t sure what Quasimodo would have done if he had caught us.
We never waited around to find out.
Whether any real plans to do us harm actually happened in the mind of that half-brained cat or not, we never knew; we were always to afraid of it to wait around and find out.
I know my die-hard cat fans are going to have issues with that.
What can I say, I felt bad for the thing, but man – it could cause me nightmares too!
And I was a child, and a lot of things scared me then.
Although I have to say, I think a three-legged, half headed cat would still scare me a bit.
Hopefully now, I’d show a bit more compassion and hide my fear a bit better – but then again, maybe I wouldn’t!
I’m pretty sure I’d still be freaked out!
Anyway, this post was supposed to be about Lucy, our Transgender Cat and Me, but I got so caught up in reliving sand days in the sandbox and psychotic kitten stories, that I never got to talk about our cat (at least she is not missing any body parts – except for whatever they take out to “fix” a cat – but I’d rather not think about that!)
I hope you join me again for my next pet post when I do talk about Lucy, the cat whom I now love – weird huh? 😉