I've been a crazy cat lady before I knew what a crazy cat lady was. I was born a cat-loving goon. So it stands to reason that I would love all cats (and animals for that matter) in a ferocious, determined way. Every. Single. Cat.
People are funny: the more they get involved with something and learn of that somethings' quirks, the more they become snobbish and dull about it all. Buttons are one example. Coins, stamps. Shoes. I know someone who likes yarn. A lot. You name it, and there is some poor sap out there who is completely and utterly obsessed about it and can tell you all about that commonplace item he so raves about until you're dead and he's blue in the face. And then they get a complex about it. Button superiority, coinage hubris. And they're discriminate little buggers. Very discerning customers, those item fanatics. And they love to regale people of how amazing their thing is to everyone in the vicinity; this is why I'm bad with small talk, by the way. I cannot seem to join in their cultish love of shoes. I stand there awkwardly nodding to everything they're babbling on about as if I had some insight or interest.
Pet people are no different. You get dog snobs who turn their noses up at yippy little things hanging out in purses, and small dog lovers who hate clumsy slobbery beasts, especially as they knock into everything. Snake people hate bird people, fish people are lonely little sods, exotic pet people are right out, ferret people hate everyone and so on and so forth. But cat people are a breed all their own.
It's not so much the physical appearance of the cat they go on about. It's the personality. This one is a shit, that one is stupid. Mitsy has a co-dependency with a stuffed bear. Mopsy gets angry when we leave for the weekend and pees on the bed. I'm certain you've heard it, and if you've heard it and did not immediately worry, then I'm positive you are a cat lover. Cat lovers get off on stories of other cats being horrible, selfish creatures.
I am immensely guilty of such exaggerations. I revel in them. I am, however, a cat connoisseur. Everyone I know has normal looking kitties. You get the exception of the Hemmingway types (the polydactyl cats who look eerily like they have furry little hands, which then leads to the even eerier theory that, once they've evolved thumbs, then it's the beginning of the end for man-kind...) and the cross-eyed Siamese. But nothing in the way of a weird cat. This is where I gleefully come in.
I posted a blog about one of my cats, Pharrah. You know, the one with the eating disorder who successfully drove the sea lions from Pier 39 (because, I have discovered, they were jealous that she out-sealed them)? Well I have another one. I collect them, you see. I had Ophelia, that sad, strange little thing who had a water fetish. She would still be with Mother had the mother ship passed her over. It didn't. She loves it in outer space. /squish
In light of my eclectic collection of feline companions, I thought I’d all introduce you to my newest little bundle of fur: Tripod. I fucking hate his fucking name. And so does he. Know why? Because it rubs it in his face, every day, that he has to make his way through life with only three legs. Yep. I have a “special needs” kitty. I think the definition of that is wide, and as a result, I have aptly expanded it to include all of my kitties as “special needs” kitties.
I found Tripod in a Pet Smart cat adoption fair. All the cute, normal kittens were purposefully placed within eyesight, all healthy and shiny and spritely. I love to love kitties in cages, as it rips at what semblance of a heart I have; I do it to remind myself that it is still there and beating, despite what I may think. While ripping at my heartstrings, I stooped down to peer into a dark cage at the bottom, and I see this huge kitten. He’s thoroughly depressed, covered in fleas and has the ominous name of “Tripod” on the little placard. At first I didn’t see his nub—that shiny pink little thing. But as he slept, I caught glimpses of it. And I knew I had to have him. The little old lady seemed dubious at first, but then delighted in the fact that, yes, I did in fact want damaged goods. He was a steal at a discounted price. I think they calculate cat prices like they do cars. This cat comes factory standard, fully loaded. This one has some miles. This one was manufactured just last month. This one has some parts missing, so, we’ll discount the price for you to make the offer more attractive. I was sold. I’m a sucker. Bite me.
When I was buying him cat food after getting him in his box, the clerk was so happy he had another home, because, according to her, he was returned. Who the fuck returns a cat? Peter O’Toole and maybe some other weirdos. Whatever. He was mine.
I love to gleefully tell people I have a 3-legged cat. It amuses me—they cannot believe it. Sometimes, I get people asking how he lost his leg. My need for attention takes over at that point, and, with the spotlight on me, so I wax hyperbolic different accounts of T-Pod and his Compton days, or some other such nonsense. So I’m here to set the record straight once and for all:
Saigon- 1968. During the Tet Offensive, T-Pod flew a solo mission just after midnight, shortly before the first battle of Saigon. The main point of this was to completely overtake all military operations of the Viet Cong army amassed outside of the US Embassy in Saigon. While the battle primarily fought on the ground, raged, Tripod with his kitty instincts, fired heavily on the advancing enemy, which then drove the Communists back. In retaliation, the Viet Cong army fired on the air strike raiders, downing several planes, including solo pilot Tripod.
While Tripod went down, the US Embassy did not. The Viet Cong army failed to meet their military objectives, in large part due to the daring aerial acrobatics of our hero. Luckily for us, T-Pod’s wrecked plane landed in friendly territory. His life was spared, but he lost a leg in the crash. To him, it was but a small price to pay for driving the enemy back and saving the US Embassy. It is still a point of pride to him to this day. He was honorably discharged and given a life-time supply of catnip, which he promptly sold for booze.