I’d been in the USA for a year. I was lonely and thought that a cat would help keep me company. Chris was OK with the idea, as long as we could find one that had personality, that would be a part of the family and not just an occasional lodger.
I checked the local ads and found Fred. His owner was moving to the UK and couldn’t take him with her. I mentioned that I was looking for a cat with personality. “Oh, don’t worry” she said, “Fred has bags of personality.”
If we left him alone he wrecked the place. He would disembowel cushions, scratch furniture, and urinate on clothing. We took to locking him in the bathroom when we went out simply to limit the damage. But he would get into the bathroom cabinet and pull everything out into the sink. To deter him we began to put trays of water on top of boxes of medication so that if he pulled them out he’d get wet. It worked. He stopped pulling stuff out of the bathroom cabinet and shredded the shower curtain instead.
One night I came home, and instead of paying him attention I went straight to the computer to send an email I’d forgotten to send earlier in the day. Fred was so angry with the rejection that he defecated on the bed behind me; three feet way from me, as I sent the email. Not some little easy- to-clean turd. Nope: the biggest, sloppiest, smelliest mess imaginable. I could hear it, and smell it. I turned around. The look on his face said: Now ignore me’.
We got a little cat to keep him company; He tortured her. We had a guest visit from the UK. Fred urinated in his suitcase. We got a dog. Fred became obese. We couldn’t work out the connection until we found him squirrelled deep in the sack of dog food gorging himself.
Alas, the salt level in dog food is way too high for a cat. Fred developed kidney problems and a urinary tract infection. The vet had to remove his penis.
He was extra affectionate the day he came home from the vet. I think he even tolerated our other cat and the dog. But by the following day he was as ornery as ever.
Fred is 17 years old now. He still tortures our other cat, torments the dogs (now we have two), pesters guests, steals food, and urinates on something whenever he doesn’t get his own way. Yesterday it was the lounge rug and a dog bed. We’ve learned over the years to ensure everything is washable.
There are moments I wish he’d change. There are moments when I wonder if he’ll mellow with age. But there’s no sign of it so far, and, anyway, imagine how bland the flavours of life would be without a little salt. And vinegar. Definitely a little vinegar.
“You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything, but is thrown out and trampled under foot. Matthew 5:13