Friday, February 3, 2012

Introducing Schroeder

After sweet Miss Maggie B died on December 2, Homer Wells became very needy. He started following us everywhere: into the bathroom to brush our teeth, into the bedroom to get dressed, downstairs for breakfast, upstairs to find a jacket, back downstairs to look for keys, into the kitchen to unload the dishwasher, to the front door to zip up a backpack, to the computer to check email, and on and on. Thus, after an appropriate period of mourning, we decided to alleviate Homer's neediness, and we brought home Schroeder, a 10-month-old pound cat who spent most of his formative kitten-brain-development months in a cage. It turns out that when you release a cooped up adolescent cat with ear mites into a 1850-square-foot house, he does a lot of frenetic, wild-eyed bouncing off the walls, 24/7. Needless to say, Homer is no longer needy; "resigned" is more like it (to his mature and patient credit).

Schroeder was so bouncy--and bitey--that for awhile, I thought we'd chosen the wrong cat. Two events this week helped him finally calm down: a second round of ear-mite pesticide at the vet's, and the discovery, high up on that dresser he finally managed to bounce onto, of a green and yellow hand-knit mama-and-baby-dinosaur finger puppet. Schroeder has spent the last three days killing that finger puppet over and over again, and when it comes back to life, day or night, he's ready to do whatever it takes to kill it once more. Half an hour after we go to bed, he leaps from the floor, lands half an inch from the only two precious eyeballs I possess, and proudly dumps the finger puppet on my cheek. Over and over again. "You've made the right choice," says his heroic and self-assured posture, as he impatiently awaits our praise.

Miss Maggie B was a dutiful cat. For the nine and a half years she lived with us, she guarded E every night as he fell asleep, after which she'd come back downstairs, relax with a glass of red wine, and get back to the hard work of looking ravishingly beautiful and begging for canned food. It turns out Schroeder has taken on some household responsibilities as well. In addition to boldly killing finger puppets, he routinely knocks the cover off the shower drain, snakes a paw down as far as he can reach, and ruffles around a bit, until he retrieves all the hair and accumulated gunk we hadn't known we were missing. Thankfully, he doesn't leap into bed with it and drop it on my face. Homer, now that I think about it, hasn't ever had a regular job, unless you count training us to carry him into the bathroom when he needs to poop (at which he has been quite successful--but then, we're pretty motivated students). Perhaps the right of Top Cat, which Maggie was and Schroeder now is, is the consequence of a solid work ethic.


a slipshod sybil said...

he's so adorable, Liz! congratulations! (I had a cat once who stalked earmuffs with the same assiduity

Liz Paley said...

Thanks, Slipshod Sybil! Homer used to stalk socks as a kitten, and he'd growl if our other cat came anywhere near. What's the beast situation at your house these days?

Janice McCarthy said...

Isn't it amazing how cats grieve? I am sure Homer will appreciate the little guy when he mellows out a bit more.

He is incredibly cute! And his drain-cleaning habits don't sound so bad. Bast's job is to drink out of the water glasses left on the counter top, then play with the water until the glass rolls onto the floor and shatters... He works the night shift, of course, so the crash usually happens at about 3am. I miss my kitties!

Janice McCarthy said...

Oops! I meant 'she'! Sorry Bast.

Liz Paley said...

Silly Janice. If you would simply remember to top off the cups you leave out, Bast wouldn't have to knock them over at 3am to reach the water. Fortunately, she is a patient cat and will continue to work on this until you are properly trained.