He was a gift of my ex-boyfriend - do you want a cat? he kept asking me. Uh. I don't know. I said.
Finally he brought this little thing home, and that cat has been on my chest batting me in the face with his paw every morning
since. Good thing he's so cute.
He loves water. He'll jump in the shower if I'm not careful, and he sits in the sink while the faucet is running
over him. He's very tolerant too -- not sure if it's his temperament or a Pavlovian kind of learned indifference. My
roommate in medical school used to be a gymnast who trained with Bela Karolyi. She and I used to play kitty toss with
Mr. Knightley. He loved it. He loves being lifted into the air by his back skin and dropped on the bed.
If I hold him upsidedown, he just hangs there. Sometimes he'll casually lick his paws. I imagined if I pulled
a Michael Jackson and held him over a balcony he'd just sigh and look around.
He does hate the car, sets up a big caterwaul when I go down the hallway of my apartment building, because he knows what's
coming. People open their doors to see what I'm doing to the poor animal. Just holding him, I say. He shivers
and tries to bound out of my hands.
Last December after the three feet of snow fell, he tried to escape from the car.
He ran out onto the empty, snowplowed streets and went looking for an appropriate hiding place. Of course, the
plows had left enormous mountains of snow at the entrance to every driveway - a veritable kitty grand canyon. Finally
he stopped, and cried, and looked very cross. Thing is, he's a bit awkward, and very sweet-faced, so when he tries to
look mean, he's even cuter. Kind of like a little kid dressed up as dracula. So he just gets laughed at, and cuddled,
and taken to the car, where he sulked in the back all the way home.
Once I was driving him from Dallas to Austin, Texas. I did this all the time back in med school, and he's very
good at hiding in the apartment and not making a noise so it takes me half an hour to find him. Anyway, that morning
I locked him in the bathroom before he got wise and carried him downstairs before he got a chance to visit the litter box.
It's a three hour drive, and he didn't quite make it. Peed all over the front passenger seat. H'es never done
anything like that before or since. The smell never did quite come out.
But, about three Thanksgivings ago, in Boston, I was visiting a friend of mine who is an exceptional cook. I came
out of the house after Thanksgiving dinner and opened my car
door, but I was suprised to find it wasn't locked. Something inside the car looked... different. Messier, somehow.
Then I figured it out. My seats were gone. Also, one dollar was missing from the ashtray.
I don't know what happened. The insurance lady laughed at me when I called her. The policeman asked me if
I had any enemies. I don't - none who knew I was going to Thanksgiving dinner there, anyway. The Acura dealership
told me that leather seats were stolen all the time, but they'd never heard of plain old cloth ones being taken. I figured,
finally, that some desperate hostess was short of seating for thanksgiving, and so she sent her delinquent son to "get some."
So now I have new seats, paid for by insurance, and some fool has my cat pee seats.