Athens Review, Athens, Texas

September 28, 2012

You can bet the cats in my house know who’s boss

Jeff Riggs
The Athens Review

Athens — My cats have been on a tear lately making me wonder why I’m one of the cat people.

They’re always where they shouldn’t be, and when they aren’t where they shouldn’t be they’re not happy about it. They always want to be on the armoire or in a box, or just underfoot.

Someday, you’ll pick up the Athens Review, and there I’ll be in the headlines. “Man suffers fatal fall tripping over pet cat.”

More than likely, I’ll trip over him trying to get cat food to theirbowl. This is an activity they oversee with great interest, and if I sleep late, they sit by the door convinced that I’ve forgotten the routine.

My cats — or more accurately my wife Debra’s cats, are named Lonzo and Oscar. One is black and white, and the other is big and yellow. They’ve lived with us for almost  six years, since the day we brought them home from the Humane Society as a birthday present for Debra.

They were little then. They could jump on you without dislocating any ribs.

It’s funny how cats each have their own distinct personality. If I hadn’t seen the Broadway show about felines, I would have known this would be watching our kitties down through the years.

Oscar, the yellow one, likes to sleep on whoever is in the recliner at the time. He doesn’t like to share his spot with a dinner plate, a lap top or a book.

If I’m working on the computer, Oscar will lie down, making sure his considerable body falls across as many keys as possible. So, I move my keyboard to one side,  while letting him sleep on the other. My wife says I spoil him.

Lonzo is your traditional curious cat. He’s especially curious about what we’re eating. While Oscar has never begged for a drink of milk or a ham sandwich, Lonzo thinks whatever we’re eating is fair game.

Lonzo’s favorite is yogurt, so when I’m finished I let him lick the rest of the yogurt off the cup. Our favorite brand is Yoplait, and our favorite flavor is Key Lime.

Not too long ago, I decided to try the Yoplait light, to save a few calories. Lonzo sniffed it, and refused to eat it. We tried different flavors, but there’s something in the diet yogurt that he just won’t touch.

Well that’s good enough for me. I quit eating the light, and went back to the good stuff. I figure cats have better sniffers than we do, and if he detects something in that artificial sweetener that’s to be avoided, who am I to argue?

Like just about any cat I’ve met, ours like to slip off to their own little places  and nap. Oscar is constantly getting in trouble, because his hammock of choice is the paper tray at the top of the computer table. The other day, while hopping down from the heights, he knocked Debra’s laptop in the floor.

Fortunately, it was still working, so Oscar only spent a short time in the doghouse. He didn’t really seem repentant though.

Lonzo has commandeered a box that we unpacked in the living room. He hangs out there most of his spare time now. He doesn’t just nap there, but rises up to survey the room, to see if anyone is eating ice cream or a bowl of cereal.

Bedtime can be a problem with spoiled cats in the house. I have a firm belief that cats need to be outside the bedroom, while I’m in it. So, Oscar will sit outside the door and cry —  actually it’s more of a wail, until Debra insists that I let the poor baby in.

So Oscar comes in, and prowls around the room, trying to find out what goodies are behind the closed bedroom door.

Of course, when Oscar comes in the bedroom, Lonzo also starts to cry. Why should his brother get to have all the fun? So I have to let Lonzo in too.

Finally, Debra will get tired of the snooping, and tell me to throw them out. Strangely, they’re usually ready to go. They’ve won the battle, and they’re getting a little bored with the bedroom decor.

In two weeks, Debra has another birthday rolling around, and she’s making some unsubtle hints about getting some more “Happy Birthday Kitties.” She foresees another couple of fur balls coming to live with us.

I have a feeling that’s not going to happen, unless I’m more of a pushover than I think I am.

Of course that’s what I thought before Lonzo and Oscar moved in.

Rich Flowers is News Editor of the Athens Daily Review.