So I went to the UK looking forward to a nice long visit with Aphra, full of romantic daydreams — early mornings with a cup of tea, leisurely strolls down cobblestoned medieval streets, endless bottles of moderately-priced red wine…
As if the innocent naivete of my idea that we’d be getting up before 11 wasn’t enough (ha! with all the wine we drank? I think not), little did I suspect that I was walking straight into the tangled, impenetrable machinations of….THE GLOBAL CATSPIRACY!!!
::cue scary Phantom organ music::
It’s all because we were house-sitting for one of Aphra’s friends. It seemed like a good arrangement: we’d get some privacy, free lodging, and a chance to practice at being Crazy Cat Ladies (which seems to be inevitable, so we might as well get the hang of it now). I’ve always wanted a black cat, and now I got to pretend to have two of them!
Unfortunately Aphra’s friend has a prediliction for adopting…interesting pets. Aphra regaled me with stories of the previous cat, Ivan The Cat With Epilepsy. Ivan has since been succeeded by Millie and Oscar.
Now, at first glance Millie seems to be your ordinary, friendly, affectionate, plump housecat. Do not be fooled by this clever persona. Millie is, in fact, a friendly, affectionate, plump Bond villain.
Im in mi secrit lar cuncoktin eevil planz!
Millie is a brillaint mastermind who’s ultimate plan is to take over the whole house….mwa hahahaha!!
Pay no atenshun 2 teh cat behin teh kurtin!
Now I’m allergic to cats, but I’ve mostly outgrown it, and if they stay out of the room I’m sleeping in, they usually don’t bother me. So Aphra and I kicked her out of the guest bedroom and kept the door shut at all times.
Her Diabolical Majesty was not. best. pleased.
She would lie in wait outside the door, looking for her chance. We were woken up regularly at 6:00 AM to the sound of Millie yowling and digging up the carpet. She’d only be appeased by food and cat biscuits.
Once, we were just about to drift off to sleep…when there came a scritch, scritch sound in the room (and let me tell you, cheesy late night ghost-busting shows like Most Haunted may be hilarious when you’re watching them, but when all the lights are off and stranged noises start happening in the strange house you’re staying in…) We turned on the light. No Millie outside the door, for once. Scritch, scritch. No Millie behind the suitcases. Scccrrriiitch! I looked at Aphra. Aphra looked at me. We lifted up the futon mattress. There was Millie, purring up at us all innocently between the wood slats. I swear to god, she had a “Hi guys! Wanna rub my belly? Where’s the biscuits?” expression on her fuzzy cat face.
Turns out the Global Catspiracy extends to other cats, too. When she wasn’t harassing the humans, Millie was content to tease Oscar.
“Wait, what? What’s going on? Are you guys talking about me?”
Oscar is basically if Woody Allen was a cat. If he could lie on a couch and talk to his psychiatrist about how inadequate he always feels, he’d be there all day. He’s a paranoid feline ball of neuroses on anxiety medication. He’s the only cat I’ve seen who always has his eyes wide open with worry and nervousness. And Millie, Alpha Female that she is, bullies the heck out of him. She’s banished him to the ground floor, having claimed the upstairs as her personal kingdom. Poor Oscar spent most of his time cowering in a cubbyhole beneath the stairs. Aphra’s friend told us that Millie is a compulsive overeater (we had to feed her diet cat food) and Oscar’s anorexic. But we found out that really, Millie’s eating Oscar’s food. And little Oscar doesn’t even have the self-esteem to meow about it. Once we figured that out, we separated them at mealtimes, but Millie would sit and glare at Oscar through the glass door, which intimidated him so much he’d crawl back to his hidy-hole and leave his food untouched.
“Go ahead Millie, really, I don’t like cat food anyway, gives me heartburn!”
Of course, Millie’s not calculating for no reason. Her previous owner neglected her, so in her head, she never knows where the next meal is coming from, so she’s gonna eat whatever she can when she gets the chance, and if Oscar’s a total wimp, hey, is that her problem?
As for poor Oscar (that became his name, Pooroscar), what he needs is to be an only cat with a little old lady to spoil him rotten. Gradually Oscar warmed to us (although he always fled in terror when ever someone went up or down the stairs); he started to rub our hands and legs, and once or twice we even got him to curl up on our laps. He purred, but he stayed bug-eyed…just in case.
Cats, I’ve decided, are wierd.