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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Heeeere Kitty, Kitty, Kitty, Kitty

I will be writing a bit on Liza Bean Bitey tonight, and it occurred to me that because it's been a while, and because there are new readers, the cat may be unknown to some.  

For your reading pleasure:  Liza Bean Bitey, The Beginning...



People say to me, Pearl, they say, you're not really what I think of when I think of people who talk about their cats. You don’t have anything cat related on the walls, you don’t have any items of clothing with pictures of cats on them, you don’t dress said cats...

That's not true, I say. I dress them.

Just not against their will.

Several years ago, my mother had called to say that she had the perfect cat for me.

I pointed out to her that I didn’t need a cat.

“You don’t need a cat, you need this cat,” she said.

And two weeks later, there she was:  Miss Personality, a 12-week-old bundle of tiger-striped love. “Me! Me!” she said.

Liza Bean Bitey is an attractive cat; a tidy, small-pawed cat; one of those tail-held-high, mischievous, string-chasing, straw-fetching, lap-invading cats that makes you think, Hey, I should get a cat.

It would not be revealed for quite some time that her "kittenhood" was a ruse, that Miz Liza Bean Bitey, of the Minneapolis Biteys, was a master of disguises. Fluent in several languages, wanted on espionage charges in Bulgaria, an in-demand studio musician, and one-time possessor of a piece of the True Cross, Liza Bean had us fooled.

In other words, for a year, all was well.

And that was when we decided that Liza Bean Bitey needed a companion.

Dolly G. Squeakers (aka Salvatore Dolly, aka Here-Kitty-Kitty-Kitty, aka No-Kitty-No!!) had been at the Humane Society for less than four days. A gorgeous, long-haired, Siamese mix, she appeared to be about the same age as Liza Bean.

“We don’t know much about her, of course,” the woman at “check-out” told us. “It does appear that she’s got a touch of gingivitis going on...”

Say no more, my good woman. What’s a little gum inflammation between friends?

In the beginning, we kept the two apart; and in that time Dolly put on quite a bit of weight, although how she did it with four teeth is a mystery. While there is nothing inherently funny about gingivitis – and I think my dentist will back me on this – there is something very funny about watching a cat pick out one piece of kibble at a time and chew it thoughtfully on the side of her mouth with the most teeth.

Her lack of teeth was also evident when she spoke. Dolly had been through a lot, apparently, and had plenty to say about it. She meowed in a questioning tone often, her brilliantly blue and slightly crossed eyes trained on your face, her little black lips coming apart to reveal pink gums, a tooth here and there.

And so when the day finally came to introduce the two cats, we were shocked that the “playfulness” exhibited by their reaching under doors to paw at each other turned out actually to be a testing, on their parts, for weaknesses.

Their intent, upon first meeting? Murder.

Over the next couple weeks, Willie and I kept them apart during work hours, determined that their reunions would be under careful supervision; and while there were no further “incidents” of a violent-kitty nature, we had to admit that perhaps we’d made a mistake in bringing home another cat.

“Call your mother,” Willie said.

And so I called her, told her what was going on, told her everything I could think of about Dolly, asked her if she’d consider taking her in. She said she’d think about it and get back to me.

A day later, she called me back.

“Pearl?” she said. From the sound of my father’s muffled laughter in the background and the barely-contained chuckling from my mother, I knew it was not going to be the outcome I had hoped for.

She cleared her throat.

“Upon reflection, your father and I must decline the opportunity to adopt your cross-eyed, toothless, and possibly mentally retarded cat,” she deadpanned. “But we do thank you for thinking of us and hope that you will call us with future offers.”

Dagnabit.


Eventually there was an end to the war-like hostility between the cats. Tins of tuna were shared, water drunk from the tap, paws extended in the name of peace; and while it is true that Dolly Gee sometimes still childishly orders pizzas delivered to the house in Liza Bean’s name, Liza Bean no longer contacts Immigration with concerns regarding Dolly’s citizenship.

And for creatures who share a smallish living area, that’s not bad.


15 comments:

Delores said...

Essential actually.... the hubs and I haven't quite gotten around to that state after 40 years of shared accommodation. Paws extended in peace you say...well...we'll try it but no guarantees.

Should Fish More said...

I'm still trying to figure out how Miz Bitey got my wallet out of my back pocket in the Dew Drop Inn in Cleveland. 200 bucks, what, she bought drinks for the house??

vanilla said...

Accommodation.

Shelly said...

And thus the adventure begins! Love both those sweet kitties-

Joanne Noragon said...

The Dew Drop Inn in Cleveland! Some other Kitty lifted SFM's wallet.

jenny_o said...

You have given me an idea - the first in two years, so thank you - of how to help integrate Sir Iron Jaws and Ms Hellcat into the otherwise fairly peaceful kitty household: tuna, and lots of it. I am weary of shuffling cats around so everyone can get his/her share of "run" time!

Love this piece, Pearl. Especially love how your mom politely turned down your offer of Dolly! Which actually wasn't very fair of her, seeing as she dumped a cat on YOU :)

bill lisleman said...

"wanted on espionage charges" - growing up idolizing James Bond leaves me thinking Miz Liza is strong mysterious operative that hides in the shadows.

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari OM
Wonderful synopsis of two vast lives... I have gotten acquainted but this filled a couple of gaps... Not in my teeth I hasten to add. No lisping this side... YAM xx

Drake Sigar said...

WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE THAT QUESTION YOUR CREDENTIALS?

Elephant's Child said...

The paws of peace still sometimes explode into pointy bits here. As do their mouths. Sullen, resentful peace is only a ruse...

River said...

I've thought about a companion for Angel, maybe a battery operated mouse. Nothing that needs feeding and cleaning up after.

Suldog said...

You always give me a laugh, but this one...

“Upon reflection, your father and I must decline the opportunity to adopt your cross-eyed, toothless, and possibly mentally retarded cat,”

... almost made me swallow my tongue. Magnificent.

NotesFromAbroad said...

I considered getting another kitten for Minette to fool around with but now maybe a puppy would be a better idea.
The dynamics would be fun to watch .. this winter when I am once again the only living human on earth.
love you

Eva Gallant said...

I loved reading about the origins of Liza Bean and Dolly G again!

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

Ah, but every cat like Liza Bean needs a minion. Witless, toothless and gutless with a heart of gold.