Wednesday, June 07, 2006

The Cat Butler

Genesis 2:2 says, “And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.”

At our apartment, Smudge and Callie are like gods.

They rested today, taking luxurious comfort in the dwelling we provided to them. They seem to not know how to count, nor which day of the week is the seventh day. Therefore, they take no chances and rest every day.

We made offerings of food and water, and they lazily surveyed their realm, taking liberty to sprawl their slinky bodies over whatever surface struck their fancy. Smudge found comfort on a window sill for a while.

Callie squeezed into the space between the stereo and a speaker. (It was off.)

Before Hurricane Katrina chased us out of New Orleans, we had four cats and a hedgehog, but we gave up all but these two. Right now, I think that’s all we need.

They come and go at their leisure. Callie will sit at the door and meow when she wants to go out. Usually I am the one to obey her command. My Darling Wife calls me “The Cat Butler.” I can’t argue with that.

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We hope to get the keys to a FEMA travel trailer soon. The cats will come with us. I wonder if they will recognize their old house. They haven’t seen it or smelled it since the flood and the fire.

There’s really no way to explain it to them, either. For all they know, our house is still there, still sitting pretty with sofas and chairs and windows and a big bowl of food by the back door. They probably think the lawn is covered with green grass, and the trees still bounce with birds and squirrels that always seem to be just out of reach.

How can they comprehend until they see it for themselves?

I suppose they are not unlike most of America in that respect: they won’t understand unless they see it for themselves. Until they walk through the barren, bashed neighborhoods, there is no hope that they will ever understand the totality of the destruction, the scope of the disaster, the loss of life and lives.

I imagine my cats will enjoy exploring the neighborhood when we go back. So many places and spaces to find adventure in! And not too many other cats around, I expect. They will probably feel like queens once we get back there.

No, wait, they will be like gods: furry, pad-footed gods. Excuse me, I’m being called to the door…


T. said...

We had a small circus of animals traveling with us when we evacuated: two dogs, three cats, two ferrets, and a turtle. After the hurricane, my cousins' two ferrets died (likely due to the stress of being moved from place to place after the hurricane), and two of my cats disappeared. The animals were all pretty disoriented by the entire experience.

Sadly, I agree. Most of America doesn't seem to understand (or sometimes, seems to want to understand) the magnitude of destruction down here. "Katrina is so last year."

Two questions, though (and I'm sorry if I sound intrusive): Where are you staying while you wait for your trailer? 2. How long have you been waiting for one?

Tim said...

1. We are paying way too much for a two-bedroom apartment in Riverbend. We've been here since October.

2. We requested a trailer so long ago I don't even recall. FEMA installed a trailer on my property sometime in early April. It's all hooked up now and we're just waiting for them to give us the keys!

Anonymous said...

I, too, am a cat butler. Ours are house cats but I'm in charge of the 10PM medicine in wet food feeding. My employers names are Pogo and Oscar.

Anonymous said...

I am being terrorized by by my roommate's demonically possessed cat, Ellis. If I don't do as he says, he pushes heavy, expensive things like lamps and vases onto the floor while I'm sleeping. This afternoon, he left a large dead lizard by the door as a warning to me not to go for help. He's evil. Eeeeville.

Anonymous said...

To dangerblond: Try to think about the lizard as a peace offering. If you were a cat, you'd be thrilled with a dead lizard!

In NC, where we brought our cats and ourselves, PK, I, too, am still the cat butler. Most recently, I received my wages in partial parts of what must have been a nestful of baby bunnies. Yuck!

Laurie said...

Oh! Your cats make me want to take a nap. They just look so comfortable.

Anonymous said...

I had a cat named Smudge a long time ago. I hope you and your employers get those trailer keys soon!

Nice post, Tim. I can't wait to hear how the cats react to being "home".