Tuesday, February 26, 2008

More Spring Fever: Babysitting Fifi

I've never met a cat I couldn't learn to love, but I have met a few that the learning process took a lot more effort. Fifi was one of those.

With her elegant grace, she reminded me of a feline version of Marilyn Monroe. Just as Marilyn's ethics were, and still are, often in question, Fifi has raised a few eyebrows herself.

It's hard to admit being outwitted, outsmarted and plain old outdone by a house cat, but to pretend anything different would only make me look worse.

She isn't my cat, thank God for small favors. She belongs to my neighbors, but I did, however, get roped into caring for her while her owners were out of town. I was also to feed Granddaddy, the goldfish. Of course, thanks to Fifi, the job was cut in half.

In Fifi's defense, her owners would like for me to state that none of the following incidents were actually Fifi's fault. She suffered from an affliction called spring fever. This fever, I am told, leads to variable degrees of erratic and naughty behavior. The result of the affliction, kittens, is what her owners wanted to avoid.

In my own defense, I'd like to state that her owners failed to warn me of the severity of Fifi's problem. Oh sure, they requested that I not let their baby go outside. They didn't tell me that Fifi, a natural escape artist, made Houdini look like an amateur. They never mentioned her weird behaviors could result in the demise of other household pets, or that she was capable of scheming breakout-plans that could be sold to the inmates at high-security penitentiaries.

The first week I'd go over twice a day to disperse food and attention between the feline and Granddaddy. The fish was always happy to see me. Fifi not so much.

The next few days her cold-shoulder routine turned into something a tad less becoming--howling. I know cats aren't supposed to howl, but believe me, Fifi did a grand job of it. I proceeded to inform her that such yowling was not lady-like behavior. However, I soon learned that Fifi was no lady.

Remembering how my neighbors warned about Fifi's attempts to slip outside, I would always open the door just the needed crack so I could turn sideways and squeeze in. Much to my insult, the cat learned that my needed squeeze-in space was larger than her needed slip-out space. The cat waited until I painfully reduced my bust-size a notch as I squeezed inside, and then she made her get away.

I made a mad dash after her. Fifi headed straight for the tree. Throwing caution and good sense to the wind, I climbed after her.

I'd almost reached her when she decided to jump. I decided to follow. I forgot the theory about cats always landing on their feet, or rather, I forgot that humans don't possess the trait. My pants leg caught on a limb and I belly-flopped on a very thin cushion of new spring grass. My breast size was once again reduced a notch.

While I gasped for air, Fifi ran to the edge of a wooded lot where two toms awaited her arrival. She glanced back at me. The wind picked up her long fur and blew it across her face, she wiggled her tail, sending tempting signals to her admirers. At that moment, I felt certain she wasn't just a feline version of Marilyn Monroe, she was the reincarnation, and one, if not both, of those toms were Kennedys.

Fifi returned later wearing a contented glow. That evening Fifi and I had a talk. Frustrated at her lack of interest, I took her to the fish bowl, pressed her nose against the tank and told her she should take a few behavioral lessons from Granddaddy.

Looking back, I probably shouldn't have done that. Because the next day Granddaddy had disappeared. That night I found him buried face down in the kitty litter. While I gave him a three-flush-salute burial, I wondered how I was going to explain this to my neighbors. I just hoped that Fifi's adventure didn't need to be explained.

Little did I know, the adventures weren't over. One morning while changing the litter box I opened the window. Now it was an upstairs window and had a sturdy screen. After turning my back for a few moments I found the screen ripped apart and Fifi missing. Worried the land-on-your-feet rule might have failed her, as it had me, I made a mad dash down the stairs. Just as I yanked opened the door, a conniving Fifi, who hadn't jumped, skittered from beneath a chair and flew outside to meet the awaiting Kennedy brothers.

Her next ploy was the old play-deathly-ill trick. Draped off the sofa, she could hardly raise her head, barely breathe. Realizing I already had to explain the demise of one pet, not wanting to make it two, I wrapped her in a blanket to rush her to a vet. The moment I was outside Fifi suddenly regained her strength and rejoined the political party.

Through the next few weeks she brilliantly managed to escape the cat carrier, rip open several more screens, reduce my bust-size a few more notches, and play mind games with my head.

By the time her owners returned I'd thrown in the towel and was simply opening the door and letting her out. Let's face it, we'd had a battle of wits and she'd won. Somewhere along the line, I'd even begun to admire her intelligence.

I'm sure you can guess the outcome. Fifi was pregnant...again. Anyway, consider this my good deed for the week. If you have kitties, get them fixed, it will save you, Fifi, and perhaps anyone you ask to pet sit, a whole heck of a lot of trouble.

Crime Scene Christie

33 comments:

terrio said...

Thank goodness I put the coffee down before reading this. I can't believe she faked being sick? LOL! Really?! That is one smart freaking cat. Maybe that's why I prefer dogs, less likely for one of them to make me feel stupid or unneeded.

My sister's cat is her baby (read: she's pushing 40, never married, no children) and it kills me the way she spoils her. It's bad enough the thing weighs like 17lbs but she's very demanding when she wants attention. Very vocal.

I'll take a dog any day.

Christie Craig said...

Terrio,

I tell you, that FiFi was a handful. I have four indoor cats and an elderly dog whom I love dearly. Mama, one of my cats, had been an outdoor kitty when I got her and she sometimes thinks she still is. . . usually when she thinks she's in heat but that's a blog for another time. LOL.

Thanks for posting and sharing your story.

Crime Scene Christie

Kim Lenox said...

How funny! That Fifi is one smart cat!

I have two yeowlers. Yow! Yow! Yow!

Christie Craig said...

Kim,

LOL over those yeowlers! That's Mama when she's "in heat."

Thanks for dropping by, girl.

Crime Scene Christie

Gemma Halliday said...

And this is why I have a hamster. Lol!

~Gemma

Christie Craig said...

LOL, Gemma! But you have your hands full with your dates. LOL.

Crime Scene Christie!

Tera Lynn Childs said...

That's just one reason I don't have cats. At least with a dog you can upgrade to a size that can't slip between the cracks. And they are more likely to spend their days fantasizing about steak than plotting escape.

Katherine Allred said...

You actually think dogs are better than a cat like Fifi? Then you've obviously never met an Australian Shepherd. I have two, God help me. They have the IQ of an Einstein and the personality of the Keystone Cops. Its nothing short of amazing what they've managed to get into the backyard through the doggy door. Pray for my couch. One of these days they're going to figure out how to get *it* outside.

Christie Craig said...

Tera Lynn,

I love dogs but they can be a handful, too. LOL.

Thanks for dropping by to visit, girl.

Crime Scene Christie

Christie Craig said...

Katherine,

Yep. Dogs can be a real handful, too. LOL. Be sure you let us know if your doggies get the sofa outside. I'd love to see a picture of that. LOL.

Thanks for dropping by.

Crime Scene Christie

Beth said...

You've got to love a lady who can juggle 2 men a once! Go Fifi!

Jenyfer Matthews said...

Cats can be determined and crafty creatures. My ex-SIL had a cat, a stray she adopted and wanted to keep inside. She had electric fence set up in her house to keep the cats away from the dog's door and you guess it - that cat pushed its way through the shock of the electric fence to get outside!

I can also remember chasing my sister's kitten across a vacant lot and catching it by the tail on a dive once when I was still young and agile.

Determined creatures!

catslady said...

I'm really laughing out loud. I currently have 6 indoor cats and care for at least 5 strays/ferals. One of my cats is my adopted grandkitty who is the craftiest of all. My newest needs fixed. You realy do have to fix them. I learned the hard way with the outside cats.

I wanted to let you know I got my notecards too - they are adorable. Did you take those pics????

Amie Stuart said...

OMG that was HYSTERICAL!!!!!! Moreso because I"ve dealt with females in heat before (felines that is).

Right now my neighbor's cat is in heat--ask me about her howling. Go on, ask!

I have two fixed males who do nothing but whack her upside her head (Figuratively speaking--they are not amused at her visits) and send her on her way, but like many a dumb young woman, she just keeps coming back for more.

Colleen Thompson said...

LOL, Christie! Loved this...

I hope your neighbors warned you she was in heat before they stuck you with that sitting assignment.

Here's to low-cost spay/neuter clinics.

Tori Lennox said...

Good Lord. Why does this cat seem like one of those sneaky Siamese cats from Lady & the Tramp?

I sure wouldn't pet sit that crazy cat again! :)

Christie Craig said...

Beth,

Yep. That FiFi was a great juggler! lol.

Thanks for posting.

Crime Scene Christie

Christie Craig said...

Jenyfer,

Yep, cats can be determined when they really want something. And they can be extremely patient, too, biding their time until the moment is right to pounce . . . or escape.

Love your story about chasing that kitten. Gotta love 'em!

Crime Scene Christie

Abby Gaines said...

Christie, that's hilarious! And scary, as we just got a kitten this week. But ours is a boy and it's been desexed...so hopefully I don't have to worry about anything more than his already apparent escape artist tendencies...
Abby

Christie Craig said...

Catslady,

Your house sounds a lot like mine. I have four indoor kitties and several outdoor ones that my hubby feeds. (Along with the turtles, the raccoon and the possum.)

I'm so glad the notecards arrived. Yes, I took those pictures. The kitty is Bob and the dog is my grandpuppy, Jenny.

Thanks for dropping by!

Crime Scene Christie

Christie Craig said...

Amie,

Oh, that is so funny about your neighbor's cat continuing to hit up on your male cats, even though they're fixed.

Thanks for stopping by and sharing your story!

Crime Scene Christie

Christie Craig said...

Colleen,

I got the impression that FiFi just went into heat whenever the spirit moved her. And the spirit moved her a lot. LOL.

And thanks for the shout-out about low-cost spay/neuter clinics!

Crime Scene Christie

Christie Craig said...

Abby,

Congrats on your new kitten! What is the little Houdini's name?

Thanks for dropping by, girl!

Crime Scene Christie

Christie Craig said...

Tori,

You know, you're right. FiFi is a lot like those Siamese cats from Lady and the Tramp. I loved that movie, too!

Thanks for stopping by!

Crime Scene Christie

Estella said...

Just like a cat!

Christie Craig said...

Estella,

FiFi was nothing if not determined. lol.

Thanks for dropping by!

Crime Scene Christie

Lucy said...

Great post. Too funny. And yeah, animals have a way about them - trying to outsmart their humans. :-)

Christie Craig said...

Hi Lucy,

Thanks for stopping by. Unfortunately, Fifi didn't have to work too hard to outwit me!

Crime Scene Christie

Faye Hughes said...

Hey, Christie,

Great post. I can just see you chasing after FiFi, too. LOL!

Faye

Christie Craig said...

Faye,

Chasing Fifi was not my favorite thing to do. But I had to try. The upside is that Fifi has since been fixed.

I'm sure the Kennedy brothers are crushed.

Crime Scene Christie

Ruth said...

Christie, are you sure FIFI wasn't angling for a staring role in your next book?

Ruth

Christie Craig said...

Ruth,

That's a great point. And I'll have to admit, she deserves it.

Crime Scene Christie

catslady said...

I loved the notecards and that's so neat that I now know their names lol. And we have the biggest possums and racoons in the county thanks to all my cat food that they eat (with an occasional skunk too).