What a trying day, and so I go home and find anything labled “beer” and kick up my feet in the recliner. I feel myself sink blessedly into the fake leather upholstery, lean back my head, sigh, and revel in the relative quiet.
At least, that’s how it’s supposed to work. But we have six cats.
Eyes closed, I count a full ten seconds before I feel the familiar weight land on my stomach. Next comes the probing wet nose in my ear, then the ecstatic purring of a feline that has found a warm body.
I open my eyes to a furry face just millimeters from my own. Paws begin kneading my chest, then a tongue seemingly longer than the Nile River licks my eye. The full weight of this fat, spoiled thing drops down onto me, pinning one arm, with no intention of leaving for the next three years.
“No way,” I say to this sleepy, yawning parasite. I try to gently, reasonably tip it off of me, but it turns around, resting its unattractive (and I really can’t stress that enough) hindquarters on my nose as it digs claws into my stomach in an effort to stay.
“No!” I say gruffly, and try to pick it up off of me, but it has become a huge hairy ball of dead weight that intends to cling to me until the Rapture, or at least until its next dinnertime.
As I fight that battle a second cat joins the first and maneuvers for space. Neither one of these blobs looks or feels like it’s missed a meal in about 30 years, and the combined weight is starting to constrict my lungs.
“Aw, c’mon!” I protest, grabbing handfuls of squishy cat and pushing. Both yowl in protest, and one decides to hold on by shredding my shirt, a birthday present from my mother, who has been to our house only once and now likes to pretend she can’t remember our address or phone number.
I finally gain hold of both furry cat bottoms, which is not at all the sweet victory it may sound like, when a third cat leaps onto my head and circles twice before settling in. His tail keeps brushing my cheek, and the tip finds it’s way up one nostril.
“No, no NO!” I yell, but they’re cats. The only time they ever listen is never, and that’s a long time when their hair is invading all the upper orifices in the human body.
My brown-eyed girl enters the room, and immediately begins gushing about how DARLING this scene is, and grabs her phone to take pictures. She’s a fine woman, and I married her for all of her wonderful qualities, but this isn’t one of them. I free an arm from this invasion long enough to bean her with a throw pillow.
“Hey!” she says, “You just ruined that shot!” Then she puckers her lips at the cats and coos, “Did Daddy just ruin your picture? Yes, he did, didn’t he?”
When we settled into married bliss she told me we might eventually adopt a cat. What she failed to say was that every time she sees the big, sad, googly eyes of a stray her heart lunges in her chest, and she believes it’s her fate to rescue the poor thing and turn it into a fat, spoiled monster.
“Absolutely not!” I declared when Number Two was brought home. “I mean it this time!” I shouted with the arrival of Number Three. “I’m putting my foot down!” I warned at the sight of Number Four. “GET THAT THING OUT OF HERE!” I screeched at Number Five. “I’m too old for this $%*&,” I moaned about Number Six.
And I attract every single one like a magnet.
“They just love their papa,” my wife sighs contently as they continue to swarm and I try to kick another off my legs. “Isn’t this just so nice to come home to?”
I wish she loved goldfish as much. At least they have the courtesy to go belly-up after awhile.