By popular request -- well, OK, three people e-mailed me and ask me to tell the story of Boo -- but, what can I say? Ego, right? You think someone who lived with a cat would understand humans ain't that important in the scheme of things.
Anyway, Silky the Siamese, the woman whose hair smells good, and me married and moved in together. Things are good. Silky leaves me pretty much alone, and I get to smell the woman's hair regularly. Finesse. That's the shampoo. Maybe it's just the hair. She's a brunette. I thought I liked redheads. But that's another story too, isn't it?
Got the house now, and the yard, and I needed a dog, right? You remember Beemer, the dog who caused Silky to destroy the carpet in our new house? Looking for dogs, I read the pets-for-sale column.
Purebred cats are expensive. Did you know that? I do now. Then I had other ideas ... and one minor problem.
Silky has been fixed. Spayed, for those of you like me who don't understand why anyone would want to fix that sort of thing. At least on me. No, thank you. It ain't broke as far as I'm concerned.
Back to the story -- Silky the Siamese visited the DVM with the idea removing the romance from her life might also alleviate her tendency to practice trapeze arts on the drapes. It did. Somewhat. One problem: I find myself thwarted in my scheme to recoup some of my money by selling high priced kittens. The drapes are safe, but we're running a negative cat cash balance here.
Never give up. The woman whose hair smells good can be influenced. She likes cats. I lay out the plan. Silky's a pet, but, hey, there's room for more. We breed cats. Or, for those of you who prefer precise use of the language, we make money while cats we own breed among themselves. We just need more cats. The unrepaired kind.
She becomes my partner in crime. Shows up one evening at my office in our van with instructions on how to reach a cat breeder's place 60 miles south. Just across the state line. If crossing a state line to buy a cat is a federal offense, I'll be able to plead insanity.
Himalayans is what we're after. Some lady's closing down her cattery, and we've got a female kitten waiting for us. Everything goes OK 'til my wife comes out of the place with 2 cats, the kitten and a grown female. Free. The grown one. Closing down, remember? The woman's desperate to find good homes for her cats.
Remember this too: nothing's free. Nada. Zilch.
Everybody's happy 'til we make a left turn onto the highway from the dirt road leading to the cat house way back in the woods. Then everyone gets unhappy real fast. Particularly the guy in the Mustang my wife forgot to yield the right-of-way to.
Good thing he was drunk. Might of hurt him otherwise. It was bad enough the trooper gave him two tickets and my wife only one, even though the accident was her fault. What can I say? She was excited about the free cat.
Free, huh? Let's count. We're up to $75 for the kitten, $250 deductible on the insurance, and $55 for the failure-to-yield ticket I pay the next week. The trooper was really nice. Maybe he liked cats. Maybe he knew I was in over my head. I didn't ask for pity. Or cry. My wife did. It was her first ticket. I didn't even tell him about Silky -- oh yes, let's not forget to add the lost rent deposit because the curtains were in tatters, and the DVM job for the fixing-what-ain't-broke treatment. We'll round that off at $200.
I need to hurry up and start listing kittens in the want ad's, don't I? One problem. The adult cat is rigid. Rigid? Well, maybe terrified would be a better word.
It's like this -- we get home, bent up van and all, let the adult cat out of the box -- Mouse the kitten is still happily riding around in my pocket -- and she runs in terror to the nearest corner and hides there with her front paws over her eyes. I didn't even have to say "Boo," which is what we named her. The cat had apparently seen only one human being in its entire life, and we weren't it.
Two weeks. That's what it took. To get her to voluntarily to come out of the alcove between the kitchen and the garage. She was beautiful, though, when she did come out. I saw dollar signs. Palomino, like Roy Roger's horse. With yellow tiger eyes. At least after we took her to the pet groomer and had her cleaned up. Add another $20.
OK, here's the drill. I'm used to Silky, the cat born next to the dynamite factory. Volatile is a good word. Boo, on the other hand, was -- well, let's say it this way: Cat Furniture.
I never saw her move. Or eat. Or drink water. Or use the litter box. Every time I noticed her she was either on the bed or the couch. Asleep. Or, if feeling especially animated, with her eyes open staring diligently into space.
Now we're up to three cats, and somewhere close to $1000 or $1500 when you count damage to the van and the 42 inches of thread that Silky was going to eat which cost $15 an inch to remove. Silky, Boo, and Mouse, the kitten. But we're happy.
You might take it from this Mouse is male. Not exactly. Not good planning, right? Don't blame me. We went to buy a female kitten. I paid for a female kitten. I got a female kitten. And an adult female. Can I help it if I didn't own a male cat yet?
That's where Dicky comes in. Needed a male as a catalyst -- sorry, I couldn't help it -- to bring my great plan of wealth-from-cats to fruition. You remember Dicky, don't you? The cat that took off when I bought Beemer, the dog, 'cause I had a yard. Which -- the dog -- caused Silky to urinate on the carpet. Regularly.
This is where you can add $1000 for the artifical marble floor. Got off cheap there. My father-in-law helped with the labor.
Dicky was the male Siamese, the key to my cat empire. Dicky, the macho cat who tossed cat litter 6 feet in every direction when he used the litter box. Hmm, I thought, sounds just like pennies from heaven. I was counting the money, waiting for the little guy to develop that gleam in his eye.
Did I mention that Boo was sterile?