Our family has a cat. She’s been living with us for 11 years but we don’t know each other. She’s more than anti-social. She’s anti-people, anti-dog, cat, life.
I say “she;” we assume it’s a female. If it’s a male he’s got some serious issues in addition to the ones unrelated to his sex. Once I asked the vet how to confirm gender. The technique required me doing things she doesn’t like — being touched.
Her name is Sunshine. Apparently Stormy was taken. You’d think she would be more appreciative, since she was a rescue cat, given to us by a friend of a friend. I’m still trying to figure out who declared, “This is a great idea.”
We don’t know her birthday or age. But that’s not the bad news — it’s that she shows zero signs of aging despite spending hours laying in the sunlight and roaming around all night outside, searching for her personality. At this pace she is going to challenge the world’s oldest cat, who is 39. Meanwhile, Bernie, our wheaten terrier, seems ready for a nursing home at age 11. What gives?
Our kids say Sunshine has never been the same since I had the vet declaw her. There was no choice once she scratched my wife’s most valued possession: Tory Burch shoes. She was lucky she didn’t end up pushing a broom at Wayside Waifs.
And did I mention she snores? Saws logs all day long next to my pillow.
Her demeanor can’t be typical for most cats. I saw the trailer for the movie “Puss in Boots” and laughed hysterically — but my mood changed quickly when Sunshine darted out off the bed, leaving a trail of fur.
Seven years ago, we thought Sunshine had finally found a better deal in some drainage ditch somewhere. We had moved from our house to a rental three blocks away. She came with us, and then disappeared for a week, then two. Corks were popping every evening. As I dared to conceal my glee, the kids asked lots of questions. This was back when they believed me.
“Where is Sunshine?” they asked with huge, expressive eyes.
“She’s fine! Chasing mice outside, of course.”
“But it’s winter and she might freeze to death!”
“What do you want for Christmas? Find something in this catalog.”
And then we had a message on our answering machine. The new owners of our old house were calling. “Do you have a tabby cat? There’s a cat at our door and we started to feed it. It’s living with us.”
Their subsequent calls would be met with instructions: “Don’t pick up. It’s a telemarketer!”
Eventually there was a reunion and for about three minutes Sunshine acted like she cared.
Still, if you see a cat at your door resembling our Sunshine, invite her in. Years will go by and you’ll never see her. You can even pick a new name. I’d suggest Pat.
Matt Keenan’s book, “Call Me Dad, Not Dude,” is available at Borders and online at thekansascitystore.com. Write to Matt at his website, matthewkeenan.com.