Racist Intermezzo

Feb 28th, 2012 | By | Category: Columns

I think my cat is a racist. I’m serious and this worries me. My husband and I maintain a very civil household. Quite frankly we’re the epitome of a boring suburban couple. We vote, recycle and donate to charities every year. So, this new development has created a stain over my happy existence. I feel like we’re hiding a terrible secret.

Well, let’s back up a bit.

Years ago, we came to the decision that cats are better than children. Cats don’t talk back. Cats are fluffy and cuddly. And most importantly, if you accidentally lock your cat in the bathroom and go to work, when you return home, your cat is ticked off for a short period of time before returning to normal. If you accidentally lock a child in the bathroom and go to work, then by the time you get home the social worker is there waiting for you – and she’s pissed and has brought friends.

So, we have two cats. They are from the same litter but entirely different. Tigger is 9lbs, playful and loving. He is our nice cat. Hobbes, however, is his own unique form of beast. To be quite blunt, he is a simple-minded 26lb. lethargic monstrosity with a nasty attitude and poor self-esteem. He is adverse to all forms of exercise (and movement) with one exception: at 8 years old, he still has a habit of attacking his own tail, biting it hard and then acting shocked that it hurt. This is typically followed with an exaggerated look of disgust, as if he’s acknowledging the world as a terrible place of suffering. He then finds a nesting place and promptly falls asleep until feeding time.

Hobbes also has a tendency to hiss. Mind you, he has never bitten or scratched anyone, but his disgruntled nature has made him edgy and that makes him lash out. For instance, Hobbes hates ceiling fans. On a hot day, he will sulk into our TV room which is considerably cooler than the rest of the house. At some point, feeling secure and safe, he will lazily glance upward at the twirling menace above him. The transformation is instantaneous: his entire body puffs up like a blow-fish, evilly baring his teeth and proceeds to hiss and snarl at the very source of cool breeze he was enjoying moments ago.

His hisses at other things, too: dishwashers, the vet, thunder, toilet plungers and anyone who attempts to hold him without his permission. Again, it should be stated that these hisses are not malicious in nature. They are more of an anxiety-induced emotional response. Typically after one of these hissing fits, Hobbes runs and hides or else, as if accepting his own eventual demises, falls flat on his side and plays dead. We’ve learned to live with this.

So, we were having some work done on our house and of course any sort of construction work is stressful on pets. But for the most part, both our cats seemed to accept the loud bangs of hammers and the constant presence of contractors with a sense of withdrawn apathy. It was the final day when one of the contractors had to come inside to replace a piece of drywall in the TV room. He was a stout Hispanic man who gave off the impression as someone who was kind to both animals and children. Tigger greeted him at the door and allowed the contractor to pet him. Hobbes, however, was not convinced and sprang into action.

I’ve never seen an obese cat move with such ferocity before. Hobbes literally put himself in between me and the contractor, tail ruffled and hissed loudly. The man chuckled and looked at me while I assured him that my cat was harmless. After all, Hobbes has a long standing history of choosing flight over fight. But to my surprise, as we walked towards the TV room, Hobbes prowled behind us, growling with every trot, then zipped ahead of us and blocked our way. His hiss was monstrous.


“Are you sure he’s OK?” the man asked. What he was really asking was, am I about ready to get my face bitten off?

At this point I was getting embarrassed. The man started working as Hobbes jumped up onto the kitty tower, looking down upon us, fangs gleaming. The hiss had gone pure feral and the man literally jumped back away from the wall. Afraid that he would leave, I scooped Hobbes up and took him out of the room, still hissing in my arms and only when the contractor was out of sight did he start to purr.

Stupid cat.

But seriously, what do you do when your cat is a cuddlier version of Strom Thurmond? Honestly, you need to teach your pet the joy of acceptance and understanding. Take a page out of The Bible. No, seriously, rip a page or two out of that fucker. Now start plastering your guest bedroom with quotes from all the religions of the world (except Mormonism, you know better). Get a step-ladder and a bunch of paint you found on sale at Lowe’s and create inspiring portraits of forgiving saints and saint-ladies on your ceiling. Build a glorious throne out of discarded tongue depressors and couch cushions. Replace your floor with marble (easiest part). Steal a cardboard cut-out of Ronald McDonald and dress him up like Jesus. Make the bed with crisp white linens and pull down the shades. Light some ivory candles and put on some hymns sung by a boy choir or men whose balls won’t drop. Order pizza.

There you have it! Your very own Vatican inspired opium den.

Wait, what was I talking about?


Got a question? Send it to jonathandefenestrates@gmail.com!



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