Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Filthy Flea Bag

It is a well known fact that my husband Buns is a sucker for strays. Stray dogs, cats, birds, people, it doesn’t really matter what species. Anything that is lost or hurt is immediately picked up and brought home. It is one of my favorite things about him but over the years it has caused me some grief.

One lost soul in particular was a tabby kitten that snuggled up against his ankles at the local Baptist Fish Fry one year. Nearly starved and obviously discarded it was more than Buns could bear to leave him there. He was scooped up and brought home where he would go on to become my greatest mortal enemy.

The kids bestowed the name of Lonestar on him since we were newly moved to the great state of Texas and it seemed appropriate. That moniker didn’t last long though. Because of his antics and deplorable personal hygiene I began calling him Filthy Flea Bag. It was shortened and soon he was just Filthy.

After a few days of food and medical care Filthy’s true colors came out. He was bossy and vindictive, holding grudges for long periods of time and spent days planning his revenge. One of his favorite pastimes was to wait until our four year old daughter was sleeping and then go and curl up on top of her face. It was a constant battle to keep him away from her.

We thought that possibly having him fixed when he was old enough would settle him down but if anything it made matters worse. The vet told us in no uncertain terms that Filthy was the most well endowed cat he had ever seen. That surgery was the greatest loss of his nine lives and he never forgave me for it. He decided from that moment to go into open warfare.

He came home and refused to use his cat box, preferring instead to do his business behind my brand new kitchen counters. We were still in construction at that time and so there was an access point in which I would have to climb under and reach as far as I could to clean up the gifts he left me back there. The smell was beyond dreadful.

When I would get after him for tearing up the back of the couch he would wait until I wasn’t watching and go and spray any clean laundry he could find in the laundry room. If you reached down to scratch him behind the ears he would lay open you hand with razor sharp claws. He also thought it was necessary to mark his territory constantly, including my brand new car in the driveway.

His reign of terror extended outside of the house as well. All of the neighborhood cats were firmly under his control. He was the kingpin of a large group that put on loud musical productions outside my bedroom window nearly every night. One night after a particularly long serenade I grabbed the broom and headed out into the dark to break it up. As I charged around the back of the house I came face to face with Filthy sitting on a window sill. As I shook the broom at him he just sneered at me as if to say “critics” and hopped down and sauntered off into the night.

No doubt about it Filthy was one tough cookie, using up several of his 9 lives in short succession. One day he unwisely decided to take a nap behind the tire of my brother’s pick up truck. When Scott got in and turned on the engine Filthy felt no need to move and so the truck backed up right over the top of him. Incensed that his nap had been interrupted he took off across the yard and disappeared for several days. We searched in vain for him and came to the conclusion that he had gone off to die, but about a week later her strolled back in the front door, right as rain.

So many times after one of his escapades, as I ranted and raved that I was going to take him to the pound or do worse to him, my sweet little daughter would look up at me and plead “Oh please mom, Filthy will be a good cat one day you’ll see.” Each time I would take a deep breath and say, “Bella you’re right, we can give him another chance.”

From I can haz cheezburger.
One night after several years of his tyrannical rule, he came into my bedroom, something he had never done before. He hopped up on the bed where I was reading and in a normal and loving cat way snuggled up against me and wanted a scratch behind the ears. I was flabbergasted but complied with his request. He stayed there for several minutes and acted like the sweetest, most adorable feline I had ever encountered. It was like he was apologizing for all the mayhem he had caused and wanted to make peace with me. “You’re not so bad then are you Filthy?” I said. He then hopped down off the bed and walked out the door.

The next morning we found him dead next to the front door.

I know death bed repentance doesn’t work for humans but I hope it does for cats. Bella was right, he finally had been a good cat even if it was only for a couple of minutes and I hope that counts for something in the grand scheme of things.

It’s funny, Filthy taught me that you can learn to love your enemies and maybe even forgive them, even if they are constantly going to the bathroom behind your kitchen counters. Anyway, he will certainly never be forgotten.

Rest in Peace Filthy.



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