Todd (not Thelma) & Louise

In recent columns I've alluded to a tragedy that unfolded in November but have yet to impart the details. I know you are terribly upset about that so I shall do so at this time. Worry not as this isn't dark or foreboding, unlike most of my work.

Several years ago when Aunt Liz (AL) was still a member of the shoe box gang, (in other words, she was living here and had the honor of cramming into our above-mentioned cramped quarters), I decided to get Perpetual a new kitty cat for his March birthday.

AL, The Child and I piled into the original hippie van and headed off to Stray Haven in Greenville in order to carry out the adoption. I had already picked a cat named Sly by looking at the merchandise via the computer. Prior to making the choice, I found out that black cats are the least adopted so I wanted to rescue one that had been in bondage the longest.

Sly was about 2 years old at that time. He was a tuxedo cat with the white chest, socks and belly. Plus, he had ONE white eyebrow which was simply adorable.

Zoe, the matriarch Manx who is now 15, and Marz, known as the Holstein due to her color and size, both took kindly to the man in formal attire. I extended his name, as is my custom, and he was officially dubbed “Sir Sly Cooper Lightning Tail.”

Years pressed on and then in November our dear man, (who was always dressed for dinner—much to Mother's delight), was killed on the road. All cats run in and out through the non frigid months. Sly was happiest when he was roaming wildly, hunting, fishing and carrying out all duties of “cathood.”

I implore you to reserve judgment for another time in terms of the free-range-cat scenario. We knew the risks but he would have been miserable had he been confined to the home 24/7. Our geriatric gals do not wander off like he did, even though they are all “altered,” if you catch my drift.

Moving along, The Child found Sir Sly on the side of the road. He had let him out at 3 in the morning and then discovered him several hours later around 10. (The hit and run person did not stop, of course.) Perpetual was at Bear Camp at that time and The Child telephoned him with the hideous news. P is a MAJOR feline freak and was absolutely destroyed when he was told.

I decided to honor Sly by adopting another kitty. This time I did so from the Humane Society. I also perused the online selection and discovered one fully black kitten who was 4.5 months of age.

I brought her home and named her, “Madame Louise Thunderpaws,” but she answers to Louise.

Meanwhile, at Bear Camp, Perpetual had simultaneously befriended a marble patterned “tannish” kitten around 4 months of age. When The Child telephone him to disclose the sad news of Sly's passing, a light bulb proceeded to explode over his head.

I was going to surprise P with Louise but he had other ideas, unbeknownst to me. He had already developed a bond with Marble Man and had no intention of leaving him behind. When he sent me a picture of the little lad, I had to confess about Louise. Surprise over, in other words.

Louise was all settled in, in her dainty-like manner, when Perpetual arrived back on the local scene with the feisty fellow in tow. He absolutely took over the household thus leading to my naming him, “Lord Todd Purrington,” THE lord of the manor—or sardine can, in this case.

He is a very sweet animal and I adore him. However, and you knew that was coming, I feel as though I'm raising twins at my advanced age. I'm on litter patrol constantly and am the one who is stuck at home caring for these energetic beasts.

It's just like in the olden days when the men were the primary bread winners and the ladies stayed home and cared for the children. P gets to hear my complaints concerning all things child-rearing. I am the disciplinarian and he is the “Disneyland Dad.” He gets to enjoy the kittens and is oft' spotted on the sun room floor curled up with them. It's all fun and games for P whilst I do the heavy lifting. (Do you know how much clump litter weighs?)

Don't misunderstand as I am in love with Todd, Louise, Zoe and Marz but I am NOT the Insane Menopausal Cat Collector of Route 6. That title is best reserved for Perpetual—er, well, kind of. Not to mention, but I will, Perpetual totally likes them more than he likes me. Yes, I am now jealous of kittens. Actually, he has always favored the four legged members of this clan when compared to his supposed life partner. Hmm.

The man has plunged over the edge concerning all things Todd—with some Louise thrown in for good measure, mind you.

The tots are fast friends, playmates and enjoy each other immensely. They have also brought the of Fountain of Youth to our elderly ladies. Good gravy, even ancient Zoe has rediscovered her lust for catnip and routinely engages in roughhousing with the others.

Due to his paranoia over Sly's death via vehicular homicide, Todd, who once roamed Bear Camp with pride, is NOT permitted to zoom about in the outdoor region without restraints. The poor emasculated cat, (in more ways than one as Amy the Vet fixed him), can go out but only if he wears his harness. The pussycat actually thinks he's “cool” when he does this too. He proudly prances to the back exit, strutting his stuff along the way whilst adorned in said equipment.

Louise wants NO part of the alfresco lifestyle. She carries her “floofy” toy about in her mouth the whole time Todd explores the wild to the fullest of his restricted ability. He has become rather fragile as well because he cannot tolerate the cold and snow for more than 10 to 30 minutes.

Moving back inside, litter pans with lids now serve as end tables. If you are eating, you might want to pause (paws) briefly. OK, now that you are back I shall press on. All cats are trained because I would have it no other way. (However alert!) However, Louise thinks she is covering her deposits when she is not. She LITERALLY goes through the motions but madly moves her footie pads on EVERY surface of the pan except for the actual litter. Have you ever heard of such a thing? I mean she scrapes the sides, the lid, the back and every other place possible while gazing fondly at her excrement. (I was so perplexed that I did some research on the pressing issue. I discovered that many other cats do the same thing. I'm flabbergasted over the whole deal, as you may have gathered.)

Do you have any idea what it's like to hear such shenanigans at 4 in the morning? Couple that with the fact that our toddlers must play with the litter catching rugs directly in front of said pan. They take sheer delight in bunching them up, hiding beneath, using them to surf across the hardwood bedroom floors, etc. This is usually carried out as they bat a water bottle lid to and fro. They do this on purpose and I'm on to their sick games.

The other evening, or very early morning I should say, I committed the unforgivable sin by exiting the bed at 4:30. I did so in order to relocate the rugs and pan for the remainder of the sleeping time period.

Mind you, the drama above had been unfolding to the point of awakening me from a dead sleep. I tolerated it for as long as possible, which would be about 3 or 4 seconds. I could stand it no longer, so I took action.

Do you know what I got in return? Perpetual actually made some kind of “Harrumph-like” murmur and declared, “Lisa, didn't bother ME at all but YOU did!”

OK so the sound of my approaching some rugs and then moving them was more oppressive to his delicate ears than pinball kittens? The sound of my moving a litter pan to the sun room was more disturbing than the constant ping and pong of lid meets floor? I think that best illustrates the unmistakable favoritism scenario.

These days Todd often alerts me to the fact that Perpetual has arrived. When I am able, I leap to my feet and greet the man on the front porch while cradling Todd in my arms. Picture a woman with a HUMAN child on her hip. You know, just like a Norman Rockwell portrait from the era of the Eisenhower administration.

On that note, I think Perpetual might be here soon and I have no time to bloviate any further. I have litter patrol in five minutes and I must administer some kitty downers in ten. (Not on the children. I would NEVER.) I must also seize my snowsuit and Todd's parka for the meet and greet on the porch.