45: Trapped

45: Trapped

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: My Very Good, Very Bad Cat

Trapped

Fun fact: Tough guy Marlon Brando loved cats and was sometimes photographed with them.

Last year, we lost our cat, Toby. He was a great friend, but cats are also a responsibility and an expense. While not pleased about his death, I was happy to be free of the extra work.

My wife, Marie, had another opinion. She had had many cats over the years and longed for feline companionship. It didn’t matter that we have two dogs. Having a cat is different.

However, it takes two to make a marriage. Summoning all of my masculine authority, I made it very clear that under no circumstances was she even to think of getting another cat.

She tried anyway. I was invited into McPhail’s, the local pet store, to view various kittens on numerous occasions. But I was rock solid. I didn’t flinch. We left the store catless.

Next came the vet clinic. I got updates on stray cats that needed new homes. My little Mother Teresa of the cat world visited them and told me how we would be a positive influence in their lives. I would assure her that her saintly intentions were mixed with my fiendish, selfish desire not to add any more pets to our household.

Marie was determined. There was the social pressure. Ann at church asked me why I didn’t want a cat. Marie expressed her desire to many friends, who sometimes glared at me for not giving in. I had no trouble being portrayed as the cruel husband, as long as we didn’t take in a stray. I was in charge and I was sticking to my guns.

Then it happened! Marie found the perfect excuse. She went to the Mitchell Golf Club with Bonnie to play a practice round for a tournament she had entered. People often drop off unwanted cats, I’m told, at golf courses. This kitten wandered up to Marie and rubbed against her. As she would eventually explain, “He chose me. There were eight other women, and he walked right up to me. I would never have chosen a cat like him.” Right! I didn’t fall for that line.

He chose her enough for her to call the course the next day, pick him up and hide him in our basement, leaving a can of Pounce on the table to break the news to me gently.

She’s crafty, though. We went golfing with friends after work. I had planned to go directly to the course, but had forgotten my clubs. Marie didn’t complain when I asked her to bring them in her car. She seemed happy about the idea. Strange.

After an enjoyable golf game and dinner with our friends, we came home. I saw the Pounce. My first words were, “Where is he?” I announced in a firm voice that he would be out of the house at the earliest possible opportunity. I was angry. How dare she go against my wishes! How important was my opinion in this relationship? I even considered sleeping on the couch. I was upset.

Then I made the fatal mistake. I crept into the basement to see what the fuss was all about. The huge, friendly eyes of a scrawny cat greeted me. It was obvious that he needed care. I picked him up to see how light he was. He had me at the first purr.

The next day, I mentioned something about the cat going back, but as I was saying it I knew I didn’t mean it. By evening, I announced that we were keeping the cat, as if it had been my idea all along.

The final seal of approval was giving him a name. Marie purposely came up with some terrible ones. She’s sly. By giving me naming rights, the cat was sure to stay.

I struggled to find a name. Then it dawned on me that he was found on the Mitchell Golf Course. His name would be Caddie.

My only victory in all this? Marie is on poop patrol. Since he is her Caddie, I’m not going to clean the sand traps.

~John Stevens

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