Monday, September 24, 2007

The Other Residents of the House .... Part 2

This is George. Even without the sun highlighting his fur, he is a gorgeous orange. Poor George started life as Jasmine. I had convinced a fellow teacher to adopt one of our Principal's kittens for her daughter, who was in my class at the time, with the promise that if things got too bad (she wasn't used to cats) that I would take the kitten. So Kayla (the daughter) named the kitten Jasmine after her favorite Disney princess, and they took [her] home, where the kitten immediately got itself tangled in sheets, climbed up into the coils of the refrigerator, and jumped on the walls leaving large scratches through the wallpaper. Being used to cats, this doesn't faze me. To someone who is not so familiar, this is terrifying and my friend immediately started panicking that she had gotten a defective cat. To her credit, she kept the kitten for a few months, but she finally decided her sanity was more important than a few tears from her daughter, and the kitten came to me.

During those months, I had to put my cat Cecil to sleep because, one day he suddenly developed mouth cancer, and I was told he wouldn't last long, and the time he had left would be very painful. That was one of the worst things I ever had to do. Anyway, I was down a cat, so Joanne felt no remorse at bringing the cat to school one day for me to take home. The first thing I noticed was that Jasmine was not female, so we changed his name to George. I think he was so relieved to finally have a proper "male" name, he calmed down considerably. Also, coming into a household with a resident cat who quickly put him in his place, helped.

George has grown to be a stately gentleman (most of the time). He has his likes (food) and dislikes (Andrew) and he really likes his routine. He watches the dry food bowl diligently and if he feels the level is getting to within the panic zone, he lets us know by pacing back and forth and rationing what is left. If he feels one of the other cats has been at the bowl too long, he nudges them along. He is also one of the first to let us know it is time to distribute the nightly treats. One of the things he loves best is watching TV with us, especially when it starts getting chilly and the blankets come out. He gets himself situated, usually draped over and along the legs, and then goes blissfully to sleep.

George was born to a stray cat family. It happens very infrequently, but every now and then that wild side comes out when he is completely stressed. And then watch out. There is a male stray that is coming around our house these days. It's raggy and unkempt and he drives George crazy. They throw themselves at each other even though there is a glass door between them and the noises coming from George are unreal. You read about cats howling and this is the real thing. I'd love to know a way to keep the cat away without hurting it. He only comes at night, and then not every night, so I don't think animal control will work. I'll keep working on it.

My mother says he is the only cat she knows with a theme-song. We sing "George of the Jungle" to him occasionally. He wasn't actually named after that George. I got the name from Looney Tunes when (I'm probably remembering this wrong and if so, I apologize) Marvin the Martian kidnaps Bugs and says 'I will love him and keep him and call him George'. But that's how I remember it and that's why he's called what he is.

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