Sunday, March 4, 2012

Everybody likes a cat story, so here's one about my Ophelia, looking angry here because I flashed a light in her face while she was climbing into my lap.  You see, my time at the computer is Ophelia's petting time.  She absolutely hates the three boy cats she lives with (even though two are her half-brothers) and won't get on the bed or anywhere else they can challenge her.  I have to be in a one cat space to pet her.  She is a smart girl, though; when she hears the ping of my computer shutting down she jumps out of my lap.  You cat knows a lot more about you than you think it does.

Ophelia was originally one of my mother's cats, born on her property and brought in to be a house companion.  (Ophelia's wild mother objected to this; she thought her children should learn to hunt and run the risk of vehicular traffic just like she did.)   Anyway, Ophelia was one of Mama's bed cats who comforted her during her final illness.

The most serious charge I had from Mama as executor of her estate was to take care of her multiple cats.  I was glad she also secured me the services of the nice lady who'd been helping her clean up after them.  It was a zoo around here for a while, til the transplanted cats settled and the older ones went to their reward.

Meanwhile, I had a horrible problem with Ophelia and her half-brother Tiger.  I had to sell Mama's house, and nobody could catch those two.  My brother fed them herbal tranquilizers from Vitamin Shoppe for weeks, but it didn't seem to help.  Finally, I took desperate measures; I went to the liquor store.

We had grown up teetotal, so I still have almost no idea about the varieties of liquor or how they are served.  I started prowling the store's back aisles, where the small bottles were,  reading about their flavors and serving suggestions.  How could I tempt cats?  At last, I found a bottle of Kahlua.  It said "top up with milk".  That did it!  I bought a bottle and then got some milk from the grocery.

I took a day off from work and went to Mama's with my booty.  Carefully removing all other food and water dishes, I left each cat a saucer of milk with about a teaspoon of Kahlua in it.  I do know that liquor affects people according to their body weight, so I was sparing with my dosage.  Hopefully, Ophelia and Tiger would become sleepy and be easy to catch.

Things are never quite that simple.  The Kahlua simply affected their ability to maneuver.  I finally got a protesting Tiger while he was trying to climb up to his basement fastnesses.  Immediately I put him in a carrier and took him home.  Ophelia, I knew, would require more time.  She's that kind of cat.

After stopping for lunch, I did get Ophelia.  She wasn't in the least sleepy, but she was purring and trying to work her claws in the hardwood floor.  At last I got close enough to scoop her up!  Mission accomplished - no personnel lost.

Ophelia and Tiger are homebodies here now.  Tiger is a bit wilder than she is, since my folks were too old to socialize him properly.  He will come up and sit in my lap, and he loves his place on the bed, but he bites when he gets excited.  And, of course, he loves to chase Ophelia around and make her yell and spit.  After all, she's his half-sister. 

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