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A Day In The Life of a Woman Owned By Cats

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
This is one of the short (HA! I couldn't be brief if my very life depended upon it!!) stories I have written. Sorry for the length of the post, won't do this too often. *smile*

A Day In The Life of a Woman Owned by Cats - A Short Story by Gaye Flagg - Fall, 1999

The first of the month and time again for the lottery - "Eeeenie Meeeenie, Mineeee, Moe, does the power or phone get paid this month, I dunno..." What other clever games can I make up to decide which bills get paid...hrmmm...lay them out all in a circle, and spin a bottle? Perhaps post
them on the cork board, blindfold myself, spin about like a young gazelle and stick in a push pin??

The one thing I know I must do is make the dreaded trip to the grocery store. Toilet paper, yes, must have that - and cat food. The cans remaining on the cupboard shelf are the flavors that are normally met with total distain - then later hurled up on my beige carpet in retaliation. I drag myself up from the comforts of a good book and my cozy chair-with-blanket to brave the sopping masses who, like me, have all converged upon the grocery store in the rain.

My basket looks pitiful compared to the women who so obviously have children...chips, candy and treats all resting comfortably in their baskets...Milk, eggs, bread and other staples in mine. Ah yes, finally...here it is! The Pet Food Aisle. Browsing amongst the miriad of colorful cans with cute cat pictures are those with whom I feel I can truly identify. I feel at home in this place, safe and
comforted in knowing there are others who, like me, are completey and forever more ruled by felines.

The women actually look at the prices and ingredients on the individual cans, but the men... well, they seem to just grab and run as if it is so much better not to be noticed actually buying cat food - much like feminine hygiene products. I have watched men who buy cat food and the way they behave in the food aisle. There are three very distinct types, all obvious by their behavior. The men who were simply sent to the store with instuctions not to forget the cat food and the other necessities of a woman's day all contained on a very well-organized list by location in the store - these men can be spotted traveling the store with a very confused look on their faces, frequently checking the list against the inventory in their baskets and mumbling strange chants to themselves. Those are the guys I call Type One..then there are those who actually do own cats but think the world will view them as somehow less than the fine person they are for doing so, and that they will be branded in some unmanly sort of way - these are
the ones who you see taking time to read the contents of the frozen vegetables but will quickly toss as many cans in the basket as casually as they can and move on to other aisles before anyone can observe. These guys are the ones I call Type Two. Finally, there are the men who are owned by cats and have given up trying to fight it - these are the friendly sorts who will stop to ask you about your beloved four-footed children and share with you the latest antics of their little darlings, ask your opinions on cat
litter, clay or clumping and how about those pesky fleas, whatever do YOU do for them anyway...so many flea products!! - They are the Type Threes and it is always fun to share an aisle with them!

"Now where were those double dollar off coupons??!", says a woman with 3 bags of cat litter, a large variety of cat toys and at least 50 cans of cat food as she strolls off for parts unknown. My informal study of behavior now halted,
I begin loading can upon can of cat food in the basket, two of each flavor for Calypso and Mara, and a bunch of the more expensive brand of "Gourmet" for Whit, my always-finicky-but-ever-endearing Geezer Meezer of the Much Too Sweet Variety. Whitney eats 8 small meals a day, including
portions from 2 cans along with her dry kibble. Her insulin requirements necessitate this amount of food to keep her diabetes stable.

At last, the task is done. The young man at the check out looks down at the long line of a gazillion cans of cat food, each having to be scanned individually, and then back to the even longer line of people waiting behind me, and right back to me, this time with distaste.

"Paper or plastic?", he inquires sharply, as I am concentrating on not screwing up the last check in my checkbook.

"Paper, please.", I mumble as I scratch through and initial the wrong date I just put on the check. "They make cheap cat toys.", I smile and comment as he frowns at me.

*Beep Beep Beep* The register rings each can as the young man scans it.

"Oh YIPPEE!", he suddenly cries, allowing me to drop the checkbook, pen and all to the floor under the counter. "You have spent over $15.00 so you are eligible to receive 3 free soup bowls from our dinnerware collection - its all on special this month!"

"Hrmmm? Oh yes, yippee..." I mumble, retrieving my pen from under the foot of the five year old standing behind me screaming "MINE MINE MINE" and reflecting on the sad shape of the bowls from which my cats must endure their meager meals. Once shiny and pretty with each of the cat's names
painted brightly on the sides, the bowls are now chipped and faded from two years of Siamese antics to see who can dump their food on my kitchen floor the fastest.

"Well, do you want them or not?", he rudely asks.

"Ummm, yes.", I reply. "Thank you."

"Do you have your Valued Customer Card? I will need to scan it for you to get the bowls.", he informs me.

"Oh, well, hrmmm...Yes...I am certain its somewhere in here..." I say, while digging through the various necessities without which I believe I cannot survive and are contained within the deep, dark recesses of my handbag.
Amongst the odd coins, cat toys and treats that had been deposited in my bag unbeknowst to me by one or more pointed shadows in the night, I finally locate the required card and hand the pitifully torn and wrinkled scrap to the now impatiently outstretched hand waiting to receive it. As
the clerk attempts to scan my card, I am drawn back to the time I reached into my bag and was rewarded with finding the remains of a large, partially-chewed and very dead insect of some sort and shudder myself back to the present.

*Beep* The card is finally scanned after what seems like an eternity of dragging it across the scanner platen.

"Well, how about that?", the checkout boy comments with a smile. "ALL those cans of cat food you bought are on sale for twenty cents off each can! You have saved about a hundred bazillion dollars!"

"Young man, I didn't spend a hundred bazillion dollars today, but thanks for thinking I possess the resources to do so", I retort as I take my receipt and put the bags in the cart for transport to the car. Looking at the darkening clouds, I wonder if I will make it home before the next downpour. I load the bags into the back seat of the car and make my way back home.

Coming down the driveway, I see 3 blue-eyed faces watching my approach through the glass in the kitchen door. Without thinking, I take the heavy bag containing the cat food and go into my house with it. A cat chorus greets me as I walk into the kitchen, with various meanings behind the songs
they sing to me. "Whitney wouldn't let us on the bed, Momma!!" from Calypso, along with "Those DREADful kittens really must be dealt with, Momma" out of Whitney and the always funny, "Oh Momma? Go see what I left for you on the bed!!" coming from Mara...all voiced in between dramatically
desperate cries of "FEED US NOW!!!" from all three of them. I have 12 feet weaving in and out around and between my ankles as I wash the three new ceramic soup bowls and fill them each with a can of food. Now we play the game of "I Want THAT bowl, No I Want THAT bowl, No You Can't Have THAT bowl, that MY bowl, No, THAT's your bowl" for a while until everyone reaches an agreement and commences eating. I go back to the car for the remainder of the groceries and put them away while the cats have their dinner.

Once again, I sink into the comforts of my cozy chair-with-blanket and good book. The cats are fed, fat and happy, piled up in a lump before the woodstove, which is happily boiling the kettle of herb-scented water I lovingly placed upon its top. The rain breaks forth from the sky, coming
down in what seems like buckets to gently lull me into my afternoon nap. All is right with the world.

"Oh CRUD!", I exclaim as I am rudely awakened by Calypso, who is determinedly digging to China in the litterbox. "I forgot Kitty Litter!!!"

Calypso has appointed herself the dedicated cover girl of the family. She covers everything. Even if it isn't hers. Calypso will happily wait outside the litter box for the other cats to finish just so that she may get in there right behind them, take much joy and wild abandon in digging in the sand, throwing it to the four winds and making sure that no grain has been left unmoved by her efforts. She announces to the world in a way you cannot help but hear that she is now covering up so-and-so's business and will be continuing to cover it until it is covered to her complete and total satisfaction upon which time she will then be covering it some more. Do not interrupt her, or attempt to remove her annoying little body from the litter box, for she will bite you and wage war on you to get back in there so she can finish the job she started.

Back to the store I travel, and pick up the 25 ton bag of Rose-Petal Scented Kitty Litter, which states clearly on the front of the bag as well as in large print on both sides that it is supposedly "guaranteed" to eliminate all unpleasant odors. I should test that guarantee one day. It doesn't mention what the company will do to uphold their end of any such warranty, it simply instructs you to call a toll-free number for more information. I really must make time to do this and why in the blue blazes didn't I think
to get a cart for this huge bag when I came in are the thoughts which prevail as I pull the bag towards the check out line.

"Oh, hello, its YOU again!", says the same young man at the checkout, now working the Express line as I approach, stumbling all over myself to drag the heavy bag onto the counter.

"Ummm, yes. I forgot this.", I say as I hand him the money and await my change.

The rain is a full deluge now, and the clerk asks me nicely if I require assistance with the bag.

"No, thank you.", I replied, and gently shook my umbrella which sends sprays of droplets sputtering all over me.

Out into the rain with the cumbersome bag of heavy kitty litter I venture, and attempt to hit the Unlock button on my car's handy remote control hanging from the keychain.

*POP* Up comes the trunk lid, and rain floods the carpet of the back area, which I did not mean to open, but hit the button for anyway. Leaning against the soaking car for support, balancing the kitty litter and the umbrella, I
close the trunk lid and again attempt to unlock my car doors. Finally, into the back seat goes the bag, just before I would have dropped it into the puddle covering my feet. The wiper blades aren't doing their job so the
going is slow on the way home.

Finally, I pull into the driveway and I see Mara is waiting for me at the door. Little Miss Mara O'Hara, my little neat and tidy girl who must never soil her dainty paws in a litter pan not kept completely scooped and always fresh is at the ready to inspect my every move while preparing the royal litterpan for her immediate use. Mara is always the first to use a clean pan of litter and it endears her to me. I don't like to share my bathroom either, Mara-Boo.

At long last I am able to curl back into my cozy chair-with-blanket, and breathe in the Rose Petal/Herb-Scented freshness which perfumes the room as I drift back into my nap.

*Purrrrrrr* All three cats join me in the chair, and yes, now, finally - all is right with the world.
post #2 of 6
Very nice story. A bit sad though, I think. Maybe it's all the gray sky and raining? I don't know, it struck me as rather sad, in a quiet sort of way.

Thanks for sharing it with us!
post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 
Anne, thanks for taking time out of your day to read my story. I'm sorry you thought it was sad. Were you unable to find even one tiny little smile in it anywhere at all?

I'm afraid that stories such as these are pretty indicative of my daily life. My husband works a "tour" schedule at work and is absent for 3 weeks out of every month. My teenager is almost 17 and is gone most of the time too, so I spend a lot of time by myself. I am at the beginning stages of that oh-but-so-wonderful time of a woman's life "many-paws" and I guess I just get a little blue sometimes. When that happens, it seems to help me to write. Maybe you are picking up on that as well?

Anyway, thanks again for reading it. *smile*

post #4 of 6
There were some smiles for sure - I smiled when I read the observations about the men that buy cat food. The part about the cats' welcome was also heartwarming.

It's the image of the woman struggling with the car locks in the rain and almost dumping the cat litter into a puddle and as I said, all the rain and clouds. I lover rainy weather, but here it seems like it makes it all more difficult, if you see what I mean.

What does your husband do, if it's okay to ask. Do you keep in touch when he's "on the road"? When my husband is away for a couple of days I find that very difficult to be alone with the cats (well, that's not really alone...).

You write very well. Are you in some creative writing workshop?
post #5 of 6
I thought it was a pretty good picture of what we do for our cats. I to live with a husband who travels quite a bit. From 1995-2000 he was gone 6 months at a time every year, and now 2 weeks every few months. We were just talking about how much extra work it is for these guys, but I would rather work my butt off rather than not have what these guys give me! It was a very good story!!!
post #6 of 6
I must say, I got a huge laugh out of it, and didn't find it sad at all! (I guess different people view things in different ways )

My favorite part was the cat covering up everyone else's "business" in the litter pan!! I laughed so hard!! I could just imagine her doing that!!

You have a great talent for writing!! I hope you write more stories for us!! I enjoyed it.

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