Of Feral Felines and Niles Crane

Letters From Cleo and Tyrone: A Feline Perspective on Life, Love and Litter

My Dearest Cleo,
It is with great joy that I received your slight missive this afternoon. Imagining you sitting alone on New Year's Eve in your tiara practically broke my heart. There isn't any of the shrimp p&acircté left, is there? Well, just know I tried to get it to you, but as luck would have it, there was an obstruction, a real reason I could not vacate my position in this house, not even for a moment. As you may or may not know, strange and terrible things have been going on here, and I fear all is out of control and careening toward the abyss.

For no discernible reason (for, I suggest, all reason has fled my own mommy's mind and spirit) this home, my sanctuary, the place in which I not only live but also reign supreme, has been invaded! Invaded, I tell you, by the cat from hell. Well, if not from hell, purgatory, or maybe New Jersey. Whatever. This tiny waif of a critter, gray like ash, tiny of body and furtive of manner, was actually ENTICED by my own mommy into coming inside, whereupon she slammed the door behind him and announced he was now an indoor cat. Absolutely beside himself with terror, this nubbin of a feline began to climb anything and everything in sight, hence the phrase, "climbing the walls." At least now I know where it comes from.

And do you know what Mommy has named him? Magic. Indeed!

Why my mommy decided it was time to induce this feral creature into my home I will never understand. Sure, she noticed the first day he showed up almost a year ago, pressing his tiny body up against our French doors, looking pathetic and frightened. But I saw it for the act it was right from the very start. One look at those sad little eyes and before you could say "Fancy Feast," she was putting food out for him everyday. Twice a day. Sometimes more. Okay, okay, so he was really skinny and could have used an extra meal or two. But then, when the rains came, she went out and bought him a little cottage and outfitted it with pillows and towels and a small light bulb for heat. I swear, he was really comfortable out there. He could have lived out there FOREVER!

But no. I don't know if it was the coyotes who wander around up here, or the drop in temperature, or the fact that this "Magic" would disappear for days on end, driving Mommy to complete and utter distraction, but she moved the interloper inside.

After climbing the walls, Magic gave up and cowered in the bedroom corner. That lasted about three days. Then he began to venture forth, most notably into the kitchen. And he discovered the food dishes. Yes, it's true. He crept in, low to the ground, head shifting from right to left with furtive fury, and then slowly began to check out the wet-food dish, then the dry-food dish, my water dish and - get this - he went to MY litter box and USED IT! And what was Mommy's reaction to all of this? She praised him. Yeah, that's right. It was all "good Magic" and "what a good boy" kind of stuff. Nauseating.

To tell the truth, he is pathetic, but now this Niles Crane wannabe demands lap time. Yes, you heard me correctly, ma cherie, lap time. My lap time. Or what should be my lap time, were I so inclined to have lap time. At that time. Lap time.

And when I get into bed at night, you'll never guess - not in a million years. Well, yes, you're right - you did guess: Magic is already there. And imagine this if you will - he hisses at me! At me! Being on the bed is my right, my privilege, my territory, my destiny manifested! He even reached out as if to scratch me! Well, I hissed right back and gave him the paw, I did. Oh, did that offend you? I'm sorry. Sometimes I forget myself. But I did, and I meant it.

Do you think I should just wander the house when Mommy is gone, opening those windows and doors I can reach and hope that Magic will make a dash for freedom? Or do you think, like so many formerly outdoor cats before him, he has come to realize he has fallen into the honey pot (MY HONEY POT!) and is here to stay? Oy, this is giving me a headache. I think I'd better go shred something just to calm down.

With all my heart
(and hope that a bit of shrimp p&acircté remains),

Tyrone the Tremendous

Read Cleo's response now!

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Copyright 2000 by Virginia L. Browne and Linda Hamner
By Virginia L. Browne and Linda Hamner
Reprinted by permission of St. Martin's Press, LLC

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