Monday, July 03, 2006

COLUMN: New Kitties!

Lately I've been feeling pretty okay with life. Still, I couldn't help but think recently that there's been something missing. Like a little nagging feeling that my karma's been just a touch askew. I just couldn't put my finger on it. Something I've needed...

Then it hit me like a bolt: It had been a tremendously long time since my legs and arms had been sliced up like sushi to the point of near hospitalization.

When I first started writing this column some two thousand years ago, the ones that would generate the most feedback were invariably the columns about my cat, Chelsea. This was, understandably, a bit of a mixed blessing.

I mean, praise is praise, right? Who doesn't like a pat on the back now and again? But there I was, getting rapidly pigeonholed as "that guy with the cat." I can't lie -- a little piece of me wanted a newspaper column just to shed the "lamer dweeb" stereotype I'd worked so hard to cultivate over the years. With my own column and some well-timed swishes of the pen, I could transform from Shane the Epic Nerd to Shane the Hunk-a-Hunk-a Brute Machismo.

But last time I checked, hunks of brute machismo did NOT waste valuable newspaper space waxing poetic about their wee 'ittle kittie-witties. Steaming hot chunks of man-meat like myself should be writing about their pit bulls named Lars or their boa constrictors that ate wee kitties for breakfast. But I couldn't help it; I liked my cat.

For what it's worth, Chelsea was no twee wussy cat herself. I mean, this was a cat with a POLICE RECORD for inflicting serious damage on hapless vet techs. This was a cat prone to jumping vorpally off the couch onto the arms of friends and going for major arterial damage. She was no meek kitty.

You've probably guessed by now that my liberal usage of past tense can't be good, eh? Well, about two weeks after the last column ran about Chelsea, I finally lost her to feline diabetes. My "low maintenance" cat required daily insulin shots, and her kidneys finally gave out. I didn't really mention it in my column, because I was pretty torn up about it, and, well, frankly, it's tough coming up with tasteful dead cat jokes.

But the spirit of Chelsea still haunts the apartment - I've even got the tiny little cat urn on the bookshelf to prove it. (Yes, they cremated my cat. Yes, I realize that it's a touch creepy. But when a girl comes over and goes "Oh, what a pretty vase" before realizing she's holding cat ashes, the look is priceless. Trust me.)

So here I've been, in a lonely apartment with a perfectly good $200 pet deposit being wasted on some cat dust. And I was fairly content in that "I'll never have another cat ever" phase - until Vickie called. Vickie runs Animal Aid, the humane society in Moline, and she wanted me to come over. Uh oh. I knew my resistance was weak; I called my friend Linn to come along for backup.

We walked into Animal Aid and Vickie immediately pulls out the tiniest, cutest kitten ever invented. At least I thought it was, until she brought out her SISTER (the cat's, not Vickie's. I don't even know if Vickie has a sister.) Suddenly I'm holding TWO of the cutest kittens ever invented. I realize that there's no such thing as an ugly kitten, but these two redefined adorable. Before I knew it, they were purring, they were yawning, they were walking on my shoulder, and my friend Linn's voice had magically gone up two octaves and was just saying "awwwww, kitties!" in that irreversible way. I was doomed.

I knew it the second I walked in, but I put on a good show regardless. Yep, I now have TWO cats. They eat together, they sleep together, they even go #1 together. My apartment should be quarantined for excessive cuteness. Except when they're NOT eating, sleeping, or #1-ing, that is. That's when they're engaged in mortal claw-on-claw combat, attacking each other with ninja-like stealth and fury -- and even THAT's so stinkin' sweet it makes you go, "Aww, lookit how cute they bite each other!"

Things are a bit chaotic, but I think I can do it. I think I can manage a multi-cat home. I've got the toys, I've got the food, and most importantly, I've got the housekeeper to stop by once a week and keep the place in check. Plus I've already got the all-too-familiar battle scars from my own production of When Claws Attack. If that's not macho, what is?

So, dear readers, welcome wee kitties Bez & Isobel to the Shaneiverse. I'll put pictures on my blog so you too can bask in the cuteness. I'm sure this won't be the last column I'll devote to 'em.

No comments: