T-7 And Counting

Politics have been rather fraught around here for the past several days. The Catma Sutra sweethearts are not terribly enthusiastic about the presence of a new cat on their turf — one reason why I didn’t take in Torvald till it looked imperative — and it’s taking a good bit of time from me, in my role as Mary Poppins crossed with Otto von Bismarck. (Eventually, these squabbling states will be unified and learn manners, though instead of iron and blood I am offering fluttery toys and kibble.)

No encounters can go unsupervised; the top floor is sacred turf for Fergie and Nickel, the laundry room for Torvald. Making sure everyone has a turn on the first floor and the sun porch is delicate, since Torvald can’t have his when I’m working (I just don’t know yet what sort of trouble he’s likely to get into). I have made it a rule that no one is to be removed from the Bowl Chair Of Love to clear the first floor for Torvald, especially when they are demonstrating positions. As soon as I think everyone’s settled, with Torvald out on the porch cat tree and the guys inside here on their chairs or favorite sun-spots, he wants to come back in, loudly. And just when I thought Nickel Catmium had adopted a stance of careful watching, the big fluffy galoot rushed right up into her face and cornered her under the radio cabinet. She made what we have dubbed the “Shadow Ship Noise,” after the alien vessels on Babylon 5 that create “a screaming sound right inside your head.” Torvald backpedaled two feet, did a one-eighty and careened away, colliding with a deeply offended Mr. Ferguson. While everyone was still stunned I picked up Denmark, I mean Torvald, and marched back down to the laundry room. One day at a time.

Everything would be calmer if he weren’t so inclined to give the other cats the rush; after that, he wants to sniff, roll and play, and, well, would you feel like romping around with someone who had just hurtled right up your nose?

Fortunately he has a ring and a date. I had to wait till next Wednesday to book my favorite vet — thank Goddess he doesn’t spray — but neutering ought to temper the rumbustiousness a little. Meanwhile, I console Mr. Ferguson by letting him creep into the crook of my arm of an evening, like the Divine Bambino in an altar painting, and nurse off the shoulder of my nightshirt, kneading with his paws. My chest is starting to look like a dartboard. But anything for my best boy. I don’t think even Madeline Albright ever did this.

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