As I was fixing food for Mr. Ferguson, boiling some eggs for my own dinner, and listening to Mystery vomit loudly on the sun porch, I realized that my life has become a George Booth cartoon.
In fairness to myself, I have to state that my house is actually as tidy as it ever was and the only annoying smells come from the rank “kidney food” that little Seven has to eat. It’s food for her kidney condition, not food made of kidneys, but you could fool me; it has a pungent, pissy aroma that wafts up the staircase until it’s all gone. Which, with Mystery around to police up what other cats don’t eat, is usually quickly. Of course he throws it up on the porch. But that’s a ventilated space, and that’s why God made Nature’s Miracle in gallon jugs. The biggest change is probably that I had to install, unprofessional as it sounds, a litter box in the back of my business office, behind a purdah screen.
It was the only recourse. Sometimes I have to have cats shut in on the first floor and it was the only place I could get away with it — the clients’ bathroom, the massage studio, the kitchen, dining and living rooms were out. I sit here at the keyboard while companionable digging and tinkling sounds issue from behind the little color-coordinated shoji neko.
The worst problem, really, is that big as the house is (I swear I once was walking through the upstairs and found myself in Narnia) it’s the attention of two people divided by seven cats. And cats need attention. Mystery and his sisters have each other, Mr. and Mrs. Catmium-Ferguson are inseparable, but I think Torvald — of all the cats — has been feeling the lack of time with humans, since he can’t get along with any cat except Aggie and she’s more oriented to humans than other cats.
The vet said his bladder problem is at least 50% stress — first the stress of some furniture being moved out of the house with much clomping and stomping on the day it hit him, then the stress of a vet visit the second time.
I can’t “get rid of” the new cats. I can’t change much about the distribution of cats in the house. But I can, and did, heave him up into my lap and say “You get pats now.” I can’t remember when the last time was that I just did that.
I did it yesterday, and again this morning, and he seems much better. He sits there, great fluffy antisocial bastard that he is, and looks up into my eyes while I knead his scruff and stretches his forepaws around my midsection and purrs.
This is what I do for a living, after all, but sometimes you have to learn it all over again.