99: The Bad Influence

99: The Bad Influence

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

The Bad Influence

The mathematical probability of a common cat doing exactly as it pleases is the one scientific absolute in the world.

~Lynn M. Osband

The first cat was so mild-mannered and easy to train that I thought nothing of bringing a second cat into the household a year later. And besides, they looked enough alike that they could have been brothers.

But in direct opposition to Cat Number One’s calm and serene disposition, Cat Number Two quickly raised enough havoc in the household for me to wonder if he wasn’t actually an evil twin.

No amount of squirting him with the squirt gun, sharply clapping my hands, or hollering “Get down!” could convince him to stay off the kitchen counters, dining room table, or the upper window ledge. Even the “Cat Off” spray had no effect on his penchant for walking on all forbidden surfaces.

And the worst part was that instead of Cat Number One teaching him good manners, Cat Number Two taught the first cat to follow his misbehaving lead!

Right away, the pint-sized Peeping Tom streaked for the bathroom every time he heard the shower come on, stationing himself on the laundry hamper behind the door to “watch me” take a shower.

Now the first cat races to the bathroom right along with him, and takes up residence on the opposite side of the room, which happens to be the toilet seat, and sits on the closed fuzzy lid while I bathe.

Cat Number Two preferred sitting on a chair at the dining room table while I ate, so Cat Number One now takes a seat at the other end of the table. I never, ever, feed them at the table, of course, but it looks to all the world like they certainly expect a place setting in front of them. After all, we’re all dining companions, right?

Someone must have fed Cat Number Two people food, because he climbs on the drain board and attempts to lick the plates in the sink before I can get them into the dishwasher.

And whereas Cat Number One never before responded to the sound of a can opener, now they both start caterwauling at any electronic sound coming from the kitchen, whether it be the garbage disposal or coffee grinder!

I used to have floor-length sheer drapes in my living room. Cat Number One always politely nosed underneath the hem to come up and sit peacefully on the windowsill to sun himself.

It took Cat Number Two only a week or so to tear a hole in the curtain to put his head through to look out the window. Now they both lie on the back of the couch, side by side, and peer out any one of a myriad of torn peepholes.

The other day I scolded the second cat for gnawing on one of my potted plants. He must have thought I was calling to him, as he came over to the couch and plopped down in my lap. He playfully head-butted my hand to get me to pet him. Naturally, I complied, but aloud I said, “Is this an apology? Are you honeying up to me now cause you know you’re not supposed to eat my plants?”

I absentmindedly scratched his ears and looked to see what Cat Number One was up to.

And there he was — gnawing away on the very same potted plant! Number Two wasn’t apologizing, he was running interference for Number One!

These two little buddies of mine were polar opposites at first. Number One was an angel until Number Two came along. Now I affectionately refer to Number Two as “My Little Terrorist.” But despite his terrible behavior and his bad influence on Number One, I can’t imagine a better pair of almost brothers.

~Jan Bono

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