I know that anyone reading this who knows our beloved cat, Zach, is already questioning how I could refer to this cat as “good” but I swear, he is. I mean, he does have that little problem of hissing at people, but he’s just very finicky. And, he only likes very certain people. Like, people named Jeff, Melinda, Elena and Ian. With the last name Burpo. And even then, yes, he can sometimes be a little finicky with us. Like, when he’s coming down from a half of a pill a night of his Prozac to a quarter of a pill a night. (Which we recently decided to do in an attempt to bring him out of his zombie-like state, as convenient as it was to have him spending 24/7 under the bed upstairs.)
The key is that when you are as close to Zach as we are, you learn to recognize when he’s in “one of those” moods. And, you just back off. He’s happy. We’re happy. No one gets hurt. So, why is it that I forgot this simple rule of the Burpo household last night? Was it the extra-large plate of delicious Southern food at Screen Door, followed by the banana whipped cream pie? Or, was it the mint julep and wine? Or, was it the exhaustion that overcame me after we concluded watching True Grit at home after dinner? It’s hard to say which affected me most, but for whatever reason, I forgot the rules of Life with Zach.
We had just wrapped up the movie and were preparing to go to bed. I was still parked on the couch when Zach, seeing that I was finally alone, jumped up next to me. I don’t want to make a big deal of it, but he likes “cuddle” with me – which for Zach means jump up on the couch next to me and purr after everyone else has gone to bed. So, I did what any good kitty mom would do and started petting him. I could tell he was in “one of those” moods. He was purring pretty aggressively and gave me a strong nip with his teeth when I was petting him (which he does somewhat often and doesn’t really hurt). I told him that I didn’t like that and advised him not to do it again. But, it is a surefire warning sign that he’s feeling what I might call, “happily aggressive.” Usually, that’s our queue to lay off but for some reason I decided that surely he would listen to his kitty mom when I asked him to stop. Then, I went for the full side body stroke. That’s when the incident occurred.
It happened so fast I didn’t know what had hit me. One minute I’m petting my cat on the couch and the next his slightly stinky mouth was wide open, teeth probably in need of cleaning on full display, lunging for the palm of my hand. Maybe it was that extra glass of wine that prevented me from slipping it away in time, but whatever it was, the next thing I knew I was letting out a yelp and swiping at him as he scurried off to see if he might luck out on some more food before we headed upstairs for the night. Just then Jeff came back downstairs where I was rolling around on the floor and grasping my hand in horror. Okay – so I wasn’t actually rolling around on the floor nor I was doing anything “in horror,” except maybe being horrified that we offer food, shelter and love to such a mean cat – but I must say that it did hurt! And, there was blood. It wasn’t like oozing out all over the floor or anything, but we did have to get a paper towel and a Band Aid. A Lightening McQueen Band Aid, no less. (Note to self: purchase normal Band Aids at the grocery store.)
I was so mad at Zach that needless to say, I did not bother to say good night – even after I passed him in the hall later and could swear he looked at me and said, “What?! I told you I didn’t want to be petted, but you wouldn’t listen…Live and learn, Kitty Mom. Live and learn!”
Anyway, I don’t mind saying that he got me pretty well because the ole’ hand isn’t feeling so hot today. That’s code for: it really hurts. It’s on the lower palm of my right hand, so use is a bit limited, including writing and typing. Bummer. I did pick up some hydrogen peroxide at the store this afternoon along with some normal Band Aids, so I’m hoping that it feels a bit less sore by tomorrow. I had Jeff take a picture earlier this evening just to prove I’m not telling any tall tales.
Sympathy cards and checks made out to Melinda’s Nordstrom Fund can be delivered to my home address. As for Zach, we had an open this afternoon so he got locked in his carrier in the garage for a few hours for the gazillionth time, which never makes him happy. That, and I’m not petting him tonight.