Monday, June 2, 2008

Praise for my Girlfriend

Here's an aside before writing on the topic of the day. My allergist's offices are located in a late-20th-century blah office park adjacent to the local hospital, at the top of the nearby hill. Ever since I went car-light at the beginning of November, I've been biking up there about every two weeks, where I willingly subject myself to subdermal injections of a poison personally designed to do me the most harm. After the nurses watch me for twenty minutes to root and cheer if I keel over from anaphalactic shock, I then bike to work...gently, so as not to spread the poison through my veins too quickly.

Well, there's a perfectly decent bike rack near the parking garage that I always use. (Note: property owners haven't quite figured out that bike racks work a lot better if there's access from both sides, but this one isn't as bad as most.) Anyway, for the last seven months I've always been the only bike in the bike rack. Until today.

So, about my girlfriend. My sweetie is so affectionate. She's always happy to see me, even if I have to accept her affection on her terms. She comes and snuggles up to me every night. I've never had a girlfriend like this. Just don't try to trim her nails!

Rita came to our family the summer after we were married. My mother-in-law tends after the feral cats in her neighborhood outside of Pittsburgh, PA. Rita's mother was feral (and was eventually neutered). Rita has always been a bit fierce, presumably because of the slight admixture of Maine Coon in her background. (Maine Coon evidently is a domestic breed which in itself includes a tiny bit of American Bobcat.)

Our very first Thanksgiving, our three pound cat attacked and landed the 25 pound Thanksgiving turkey, and growled at any of us who tried to get near it. The year after that, one morning I went to the pantry to get breakfast and saw my kitty totally on point, crouched, tail down and switching, head down, intensely focused on the floor of the pantry. I sensed something was up (hey, there's a reason humans are the most dangerous predators on the planet), so I started removing bins from the pantry and setting them outside. All of a sudden, Rita pounced and came up with a baby field mouse! (Of course, she promptly went into the girls' bedroom and promptly dropped it, causing no amount of terror and shrieking from said bedroom.)

Last summer, Rachel suggested that we get the cats trimmed for the summer. The groomer does this thing called a "lion cut", where they trim all the fur except around the head and paws. We took Rita and both calicoes in to have this done. When we got the kitties back, I had an extra bill for general anaesthesia--for Rita. Funny, calicoes have the reputation for "ripping your face off" as one veterinary assistant put it, but Rita was the one that caused all the trouble. The groomer even called the veterinarian in to help out, but even he ended up in fear of getting bitten.

My ferocious girlfriend. Of course, it's her bed that she lets me sleep on, but she doesn't begrudge me. I've never had a cat that's been this rewarding. She turns twelve years old this month, and she's showing her age. I'll really miss her when she passes away.

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