Sunday, August 17, 2014

Confession #8: I Didn't Vote in the Last (Cat) Election

*This post is rated PG-13, due to violence, cat swears, mild cat sensuality, and scenes of intense melodrama.

The world of cat politics is a medieval morass of plots, intrigues, secret alliances, and, yes, even seductions.

I always thought Myrtle was just a name. But in this household, it’s much, much more. It’s a title.

One of these days I’m going to walk into my living room and find a cat triumphantly standing over Myrtle’s lifeless body as the rest of the cats chant, “Myrtle is dead! Long live Myrtle!”

Or, in the tradition of Hamlet, dead bodies scattered across the floor, no one a victor. Or, perhaps it will be more like Macbeth- murder, witches, ghosts, and descents into utter madness. Yeah, that’s probably the one.

Act I, Scene I
(A living room, midnight. Three cats encircle a cauldron, whiskers tossing wildly in the wind- the gusts blowing dust bunnies furiously across the darkened room from the swirling ceiling fan. The dim glow of the nightlight gleams wickedly in their eyes.)

First Cat:          When shall we three meet once more?
At mid-day sun, when naps are o’er?

Second Cat:     When the hissy-fitting’s at an end,
                        And all are established as foe or friend.

Third Cat:         That will be ere night and day blend.

First Cat:          Where is the place?

Second Cat:      Upon the counter top.

Third Cat:         There to meet with Myrtle.

ALL:                Right is wrong, and wrong is right;
                        Slink through the silent and murky night.


Although, things would get a little muddled because I guess Myrtle could be Duncan/Macbeth/Lady Macbeth/witch all rolled into one….

It doesn't matter though, not really. Just know that all necessary elements of  a Shakespearean tragedy are in place.

Myrtle's sudden and mysterious appearance in our lives (that story here) dramatically changed the dynamics of our human-dog-cat-cat existence. Or at least the cat-cat part. Charlie wasn't much bothered. As long as the cats stayed away from his rawhide bones and understood that I was HIS, things remained peaceful on that front.  And I'm just the third person omniscient narrator of the house, of little consequence except to keep the cats fed and the stories told.

Up to this point Severus and Minerva, being well-matched in temperament, respectfully ignored one another, except when seeking a napping and/or bathing companion or the occasional friendly competition of Catch the Red Dot. It was an idyllic time, a peaceful time. And there was much purring in the land.

Then, without warning, came The Age of Myrtle.

I knew Myrtle was trouble from the beginning. Later, I couldn't help but wonder if her original plan had been to try to drive me to madness with her ghostly wails, and when that didn't work, it was on to Plan B. Within a few hours of bringing her into the house, she had barricaded herself in the bathroom. Literally barricaded. She had managed to open the cabinet door under the sink and slink through a small opening in the back and push out two drawers, effectively blocking the bathroom door from opening more than an inch. It took much swearing patience, a wire coat hanger, a ruler, and some duct tape to rectify the situation. I'm sure she did it to buy some time to plot. She now knew there were two other cats to contend with. Her only question: to exterminate or to subjugate?

Severus and Minerva, stereotypically curious, spent long periods of time outside the Portal of Mystery (aka, the bathroom door). Unified by circumstance, the two cats whiled away the hours swiping exploratory paws under the door, trading cat insults and swears through the crack, and speculating with one another in low, anxious hisses. Within a couple of days, after I deemed Myrtle healthy and the decision had been made to keep her, she was released from her quarantine. Myrtle made herself at home quickly.

Physically, she was a small, unprepossessing cat. Short legs, short tail. Great big, soulful, mesmerizing, green eyes.

History reveals many megalomaniacs to be small and unprepossessing with mesmerizing eyes.

She had chosen subjugation over extermination. Megalomaniacs love an audience. And someone upon which to wield their infinite power.

For nearly two years, Myrtle has ruled the cats with an iron paw. Myrtle eats first......even though there are enough food bowls for everyone to eat at the same time. There are occasional, unprovoked, double-pawed face smacks, to keep everyone in line. And the sneak attack baths, to humiliate and demoralize the populace. It is difficult to plot a coup when pinned down and your face is being contorted by powerful licks.

But something is happening. Something has changed in the last few weeks.

I see now that we have all underestimated Minerva's intelligence and thirst for vengeance. She has been biding her time. Watching and learning from Myrtle. Planning and plotting. Until such time as she is ready to act.

When is that time?

Apparently, now.

Step One: Build an army of allies.
Minerva was hoping to recruit Mrs. Weasley, the wee ginger ninja, not so wee anymore. She would be a powerful ally. However, that has proved difficult. Myrtle, in a stroke of cunning genius, promptly took Mrs. W. under her wing upon her arrival last summer. She has been brought up under Myrtle's tutelage and they have a strong Obiwan/Skywalker-type bond. Undaunted, Minerva has continued to plant the seeds of rebellion and still hopes to win the ginger ninja over.

She found greater success gaining Severus's support- through her, uh, feline femininity and the fine art of seduction. She may well be the Mata Hari of cats. Severus's indifference was pronounced- at first. But she was relentlessly persistent and soon he fell victim to Minerva's sessy love dances on the floor in front of him (she looked like a trout out of water, flopping all over the place, but he seemed to like it) and her throaty purrs of, "Hey, big boy...." To finish him off, she sang her trilling siren song- a truly impressive compilation of every cat vocalization known to man, and then some. She was his Pied Piper, and she led him merrily down the path of insurrection.

Step Two: Make an unmistakable stand against your foe.
It happened at the food bowls one night. It was the cat equivalent of the Boston Tea Party or Patrick Henry's impassioned "Give me liberty, or give me death!" Momentous. The message could not be ignored. I was scooping food into each bowl, Myrtle sitting right next to them and the other cats hanging back. Suddenly, Minerva sauntered up and sat in front of one of the bowls. Myrtle hissed. Minerva ignored. Claws extended, Myrtle's paw swiped the air in warning. Then the unthinkable occurred. Minerva full-on smacked Myrtle upside the head. There was a collective gasp as we watched Myrtle's whiskers quiver in outraged surprise. I quickly poured the remaining kibble and left the room. I hate confrontations.

Step Three: Prepare for battle.
In the days following The Great Kibble Rebellion, the hot, humid summer air has been rife with tension. Myrtle spends much of her time perched on her throne, eyeing everyone and every thing with deep suspicion, starting at the slightest sound or movement. Minerva and Severus are often found conspiring, whispering plans through their whiskers. Mrs. Weasley no longer seems certain of her loyalty to Myrtle, but is unwilling to commit to Minerva's cause as yet. So, she is remaining neutral for now and spends most of her time in the bedroom, away from the other cats, communing with Frogbert, the toad that lives in the window well.

I, too, remain neutral, as a good storyteller must. I don't know how this will end, only time will tell. But I do know things will never be the same.......

Revolution is nigh.

1 comment:

  1. Oh dear. I do believe Felix and Tilly are afeared for their kittykuzins.....or getting ideas....


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