93: Tattle Tail

93: Tattle Tail

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Cat Did What?

Tattle Tail

If animals could speak, the dog would be a blundering outspoken fellow; but the cat would have the rare grace of never saying a word too much.

~Mark Twain

“Okay, what is it now, Patches?” Patches, my fat little calico, was once again trying to tell me something — something of utmost importance, mind you. A usually quiet cat (other than her incessant “I’m so happy” purr), Patches would only get vocal when she needed something. The food bowl is empty? “Meow, meow, meow” would resonate through the home until I would finally obey Princess Patches’ commands and follow her to the kitchen to replenish. Time to go outside? Again, meows would echo off the walls until I made my way to the front door, where she would be sitting with her paw on the door waiting for someone with thumbs to come along and release her.

Granted, I was aware — and appreciative — of my cat’s intelligence. When she wanted something, she would make it happen. (I’d like to think she got that from me.) But honestly, the needy meows were sometimes annoying. And this particular morning was no exception.

Patches and I had just made a move. The sweet man in my life and I had just decided to combine our homes and take the next step in our future together. And although he and I both knew we were ready, one little question remained hanging in the air.

How were our cats going to take the news?

He, too, had a ruler of the roost. A muscular, sleek, gray cat named Mittens. At first glance, you would think Mittens was not a very nice little fella. The first time I ever saw him, I almost laughed at the irony of such a sweet, cuddly name as Mittens paired with such a fierce looking tiger-like cat. But I soon learned not to judge a book by its cover. Under that fierce exterior lay the sweetest, most cuddly fur ball I’d ever met. Falling in love with Mittens didn’t take long at all.

Would it be that easy for Patches?

Well, we were about to find out.

The inevitable came. After moving everything else I could think of, it was finally time to pack up Patches and move her as well. She wasn’t too thrilled with the forty-five-minute drive (no more little quiet kitty, that’s for sure). But, much to my surprise, once we arrived at the home and I put her down to wander through the house, she seemed to be immediately at ease. She sniffed around, circled the perimeter of every single room, and eventually made her way to the living room where she found her favorite resting spot on the radiator, and promptly went to sleep. Wow. That was easy.

Now, on to the hard part.

Patches, meet Mittens.

We let Mittens inside, and he immediately knew something was “off.” He made his way through the home sniffing around until he finally found the culprit — a massive pile of sleeping multicolored fluff resting on “his” radiator. Patches woke up — and thus, the fighting began. The hisses, the growls, the shrieks.

Sigh. So much for love at first sight, huh?

Over the next few weeks, the cats seemed to come to a truce. There was definitely no love lost between them, but at least they were learning to coexist — even managing to share from the same food bowl (just not at the same time, mind you!). As long as no blood was shed, we considered the status quo a success.

Which brings me to this particular morning. The incessant “meow, meow, meow” could be heard throughout the whole house. I was getting ready for work so I didn’t immediately go to find out what was going on. I figured whatever it was would pass. But the meows started getting closer, and soon Patches stood in the doorway of the bathroom staring up at me with that “Hello? Didn’t you hear me calling for you?” face. “What, Patches? What is so important?” I knew her food and water bowls were filled — those were the first things I had taken care of when I woke up that morning. I knew she didn’t want to go outside (Miss Lucy, the sweet, playful outside doggy took care of making sure Patches would now, and forevermore, be considered an “inside cat.”) So, what on earth had my little fat cat in such a tizzy?

I let curiosity get the best of me (I guess I learned that one from her), and decided to stop what I was doing and follow her. We made our way down the hall, with her looking back every second to be sure I was coming, and ended up in the kitchen. Patches made it there first, and calmly and methodically sat down on the floor and looked up at the counter. And there, up on the counter, chomping down on last night’s leftovers that were mistakenly left out and not put up in the refrigerator, was Mittens.

Patches had just told on Mittens.

I immediately burst out laughing. I mean, yes, Mittens was doing a bad thing and was eventually shooed off the counter and scolded — but seriously? He got told on? By a cat? Once my giggle fits finally subsided, I realized that there was a deeper meaning to be taken from this whole thing. Yes, our kitties were learning to coexist; yes, the fighting had stopped; and no, there was no cuddling or playing between the two, much to my dismay. But, finally, there was this. This incident told me all I needed to know.

Mittens and Patches had now become brother and sister. Tattle “tails” and all.

Mission accomplished. Our happy little family was complete.

~Melissa Halsey Caudill

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