Where I explain why one bedroom window almost always stays closed
In short, this is probably all my friend Joan’s fault.
Several years ago, a friend of mine from college called me to say that she had a new cat. I was skeptical. This friend lived with an ex-girlfriend of mine. She already had a cat. A stereotypical cat . . . it didn’t really like people, unless you were actively feeding it, or petting it. And, if you were petting it, sometimes it just got pissed off & tried to take out one of your eyes. And, this cat only let you pet it if you worked, a lot, to win its trust. The idea of a kitten in the apartment didn’t sound like it would be a good idea.
The first report of the cat, named Ben at this time, came when random neighbors tried to break into the apartment. My friend, Jackie (not the ex, Kate), was shouting “Ben, get off of her! Stop it, Ben!” The neighbors thought “she” was getting raped, but no – the kitten wanted to play with the grumpy cat, and wouldn’t take no for an answer.
A week later, my ex-girlfriend, Kate, called me, asking if I could take the cat – things just weren’t “working out”. She knew we already had a single cat, but we also had two dogs – and maybe the dogs would keep the cat in line.
I remember taking the cat home, and he was absolutely fierce . . . and was much more active at night than during the day. After re-christening the cat as Lupin1, we let the dogs sniff the cat carrier. Lupin hissed & tried to scratch through the bars. The dogs thought this was great fun.
Lupin spent much of his time for the first few weeks of his time with us in the crawl space above the basement closet. He could watch from on-high, but nobody could get to him (well, I could, if I really reached, but that would be ouchie for me). He came out at night to eat & stalk around the house while everyone slept, but in the early days, seeing him about was rare.
That weekend, we went away to visit some family – and we took the two dogs and the one cat with us. Lupin explored, he wandered. When we got home, he was fast asleep in the middle of the bed. Once the dogs got wind of him, he found his way up on top of the basement closet.
I started to actually worry about him being a truly anti-social cat. It had only been a week, but he was the monster on top of the closet, and that was all. Worse, if he “had to go” but we were actively around, he’s poop right there. And, being as I was the only one who could get to him, I also was the only one who could pick that up. That was fun. So, I started bribing him to win his trust. Every morning, I would make myself a sandwich, and I’d take a piece of lunchmeat downstairs with me. Within two days, I had Lupin coming out to me any time I came downstairs.
Before long, I was able to actually pick him up and pet him, and he really started to like me. Carefully, I started introducing him to the dogs, and the dogs & he gained a respect for one another (sadly, Lupin and the existing cat, Pip, never got along). I continued to bribe him with ham, and he loved me more & more.
I started picking him up & taking him to bed with me, and he’d stay all night, nestled in my armpit. Except for the nights that he felt frisky and would spend all night licking exposed skin. Seriously. I sleep without a shirt on, so he’d lick my arm. Or my chest, or my neck, or my face. Eventually, when I had enough of the annoying, I’d shoo him away (there may have been a time when I was dead asleep and nudged the little kitten away while I was dead asleep. There may have been a two second pause between my flinging my arms & the cat hitting the floor . . . he was just fine, though, and hopped right back into bed).
All of this is just a very long way of saying that I had a cat (I can tell lots of Lupin stories, and I will, in time, but for whatever reason, I needed the “bribing with ham” back story here), and while it took a long time, the cat absolutely adored me.
There was one day that friends were visiting, but I had a wicked headache and went to bed early. A few minutes after I turned off the light, I heard a commotion downstairs and then Lupin came into the room. Only, he didn’t jump straight onto the bed, as he had been doing. A few seconds later, Duffy entered the room.
“Did he have something in his mouth?” my wife asked.
“Huh?” I responded, groggy and overcome with a headache.
Lupin meowed, looking very intently under a set of drawers.
By this time, the two dogs had joined the bedroom party, and all three were staring, very intently, under the set of drawers.
“Ryan thought Lupin had something in his mouth,” my wife responded. Looking under the drawers, it was obvious that there was something there. I managed to get the dogs out of the room, but there was no keeping Lupin at bay. So, I closed the bedroom door, grabbed a broom, and tried to shoe the something from under the drawers.
As soon as I got it out, it took to flight. My heart started beating a bazillion miles per hour. Lupin mewed & tried to catch it.
Looking back, what I believe happened was that Lupin stalked / caught the bird and brought it directly to me. He had been leaving little presents on the front or back porch for a long time. Let me tell you that there’s nothing like waking up at 4:30 in the morning to walk the dogs only to find a dead chipmunk sitting outside. I would dispose of these little presents as quickly and as quietly as I could. Lupin, obviously proud of his captures, though, must have thought that someone else was coming & taking these little tributes. So, not only was he going to give his latest catch directly to me, he was going to give me the pleasure of playing with and/or killing the damn thing.
So, I have a bird flitting about my bedroom and a cat making crazy kamikaze leaps at it. I have to imagine that the bird isn’t fully injury-free (first of all, it had been captured by a cat. Then, it was delivered via said cat’s mouth), and possibly diseased.
My bird catching skills are nothing compared to Lupin’s. I, simply couldn’t corner the damn thing at all. Lupin was going crazy. I made the decision to open the bedroom window . . . I did so, but the screen wouldn’t come undone. I worked at it and worked at it and worked at it . . . but the screen had been in for, probably, at least twenty years, and it was happy. Finally, I shoved it and felt it give, and then I watched it fall down the house, bouncing off the siding, and then a tree, before landing on the ground.
“Fuck it, I’ll deal with that later,” I said to myself and tried to corral the bird out the window. 20 minutes later, I had a bird-free bedroom and a really pissed-off kitty.
I walked outside, got the screen, walked in, and tried to put it in . . . but 20 years of being stuck in one place, and then a violent collision left it warped and I simply couldn’t get it to fit from my vantage point. The next day, I realized that if I take a ladder and a rubber mallet, I can get the screen back in. But, during the next violent wind storm, I realized that the screen was kind-of temporary.
I should replace it . . . but I should replace all of the windows. For now, I just live with the knowledge that I open that bedroom window at the risk of inviting a bird to re-live this whole incident.
1&nbps;If you need to ask what kind of name Lupin is, I don’t know if we can be friends . . . and, yes, I know Lupin was a dog, but keep reading, this cat acted much more like a dog than a cat.