THERE’S A WAR GOING ON at Casa d’Alger. Not really sure of all the causes of it. But then, whoever is when it comes to war? It appears — and I have to insist on maintaining that this is only the appearance of the thing — that Karma, on the one side, and the Triplets (Sky, Aqua, and Jazz) on the other — have entered into a mutual hostility compact.
At least, on alternate Tuesdays. On Thursdays and some Saturdays (of indeterminate interval), it appears that the Triplets only want to play and Karma is playing the sociopath, unwilling to have anything to do with anyone else feline. Except she gets along with everybody but the Triplets. Sort of. I mean, she’ll allow them passage and occasionally even catpile with them. But no grooming or other intimacies, such as the others engage in.
She is, in a sense, the Cat Who Walks By Herself. Which, pace Kipling, is a pretty rare type, as most cats I’ve known have been very social animals.
Sometimes it seems as though Jazz is the principle shit-stirrer, and sometimes like she only wants to approach Karma for some possible socialization. Hard to tell. Her expression seems to be frozen into one of worry and bafflement, so she could have the most evil intent and you’d always have this niggle of doubt — did she really mean to jump on Karma, or was it just an accidental collision and Karma over-reacted?
So, every once in awhile, the peace of the house is broken by hissing, spitting, the thunder of running feet, claws on carpet, and the screaming of a banshee seeking lost souls on Samhain.
A question of Karma.
Although some can ignore it all.
Chester and Earnie on the living room couch, last August.
We’re unsure as to what to do. When we can, we break it up. But, if somebody is stirring shit, he/she is very subtle about it and makes sure to obscure his/her motives. Which, in a sense, mitigates against that, because, frankly, cats aren’t generally smart enough to be that sneaky. They’re more … direct about things.
Earnie, for example, will get up on the counter to investigate what I’m up to during meal prep, no matter how many times I jump him, yelling and flicking his hip with a fingertip. My aim is not so much to train the cats to stay off the countertops as to stay off the countertops when I’m around — to be sneaky about it. I figure I can control what’s on the counters, keeping dangerous stuff out of reach, and preventing their fouling food, while I’m around. If they get up on the counters and get into shit when I’m not around, that’s my fault. I haven’t cat-proofed the kitchen well enough. That illustrates the limits of cat intelligence to me. You can’t make an up a forbidden zone. The concept is beyond them. You can associate noise and unpleasantness with being up while The Big Ones are around and accomplish the same thing.
And, trust me, it is necessary to cat-proof the house. We’ve lived here 25+ years, have had somewhere around 30 cats at one time or another, and never lost one yet to poison or other injury from household goods. But that doesn’t mean one won’t find a nice, chewy something that will kill him if the hoomans aren’t vigilant enough.
Had a bit of a scare on that score the last week or so. Chester, Jane, and (to a lesser degree) Karma were all acting punk and down on their chins, and puking bile on the carpet. And we didn’t know what was causing it, couldn’t find what was causing it.
The more cats you’ve had in your life, the more ways you’ve found to lose them. The more diseases, the more dangers, the more … everything. And every one of them comes calling in the dark hours when a cat you love is sick. And you just. Don’t. Know.
You hear about and joke about people who spend fortunes on their pets in exigency. Until it happens to you, and suddenly the money’s not that important.
Our three came out of it OK. A little tincture of time and tender loving neglect (and some medicines administered though various routes), and they were right as rain again.
In and amongst all the diagnostics was some bloodwork. Which revealed that all three (and probably all our ten) have a virus which is, it seems, pandemic in the feline population of the world — 70 or 80%, if memory serves. It’s a coronavirus that, given the wrong incentive, will morph into FIP. It’s what took Rommie from us. So everybody else may be on borrowed time. Makes the victory bittersweet.