December 8, 2000
OK. So I'm no cat lover. But that doesn't
mean I want to see them set on fire.
As usual, this will take a little explaining.
My wife and I have been invited over
to another couple's house for dinner, and I'm a little nervous
considering what happened last time.
Our hostess is a cat lover. Our host
smiles and puts up with it. It must be a case of love me, love
Except it's not just one cat - it's eight
of them. One more and you qualify as an animal shelter. Two more
and you qualify as "the crazy cat lady down the street".
Their house is beautiful, except everywhere
you look there's a cat staring at you. If it's not a cat, it's
a bowl of half eaten food or toy or something that's been scratched
to pieces. They're constantly getting on each others nerves,
hissing, swatting and taking cover behind the curtains.
In short, the perfect ambiance for an
elegant dinner party.
Did I mention how they like to get up
on the table and lick the plates? My wife shooed one off the
dinner table, and it took half a place setting with it.
I'll give them one thing - cats are extremely
intuitive. They can sense that I'm a dog person - that's why
they zero in on me and insist on sitting in my lap for the entire
evening. Claws extended. Plus I'm allergic, so the cats get a
double word score with me.
And as soon as you unhook one from your
tender regions, another one jumps in. If this house has one thing,
it's an inexhaustible supply of cats.
They're independent, aloof, moody and
territorial. I don't know why people think these qualities are
charming in a cat when you wouldn't put up with them in a human.
Give me a big dumb dog any day.
All I ask of a pet is that it stay on
the floor. With a cat you know that the minute your back is turned
it's up on the counter sitting in the butter.
And that leads me back to the problem.
The cats were unhappy that humans were
eating off their dining room table. They expressed their displeasure
in various ways, including going for a stroll on the other furniture.
As long as they weren't giving me a razor sharp lap dance, I
"What's that smell?" It's not
a question you usually put to your hostess, but something was
The person across from me yelled, and
I turned around to see a cat running down the hallway like a
burning schoolhouse with legs.
It had been up on a side table, and rubbed
against a candle.
I don't know what Martha Stewart says
about the proper way to extinguish your host's flaming cat at
a dinner party. By the time I found my glass of water, the lightly
toasted feline had put itself out and was angrily looking for
someone to blame.
The rest of the meal was overshadowed
by the smell of burnt fur and our hostess disappearing down the
hall to check on the cat flambé. The cat was OK and spent
the night hissing at anyone who came near.
So we're heading back for dinner again.
I just hope we're not having fondue.