Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Babette's Story pt 3

Due to the pervading theory put forth by my mother, that Babette had been abused (most likely by a man) it was forever impossible to discipline or chastise her for fear of traumatizing her further. Consequently, Babette had the run of the house. By this, I mean she was allowed on all of the furniture, the desks, counter tops, tables (including the kitchen) and once in a while managed to make it to the window ledges too.

Babette was a great "helper" around the house, but mostly with paper work. Homework, bills, any thing that involved sitting at the table and writing she wanted in on. Usually this "help" began with laying across the table. Eventually she wanted to be more involved and would pounce on what ever paper work I was working on or just start to shred it with her teeth. This also including laying out sewing patterns - something about the crinkle of tissue paper that was like catnip to her ears. If extensive writing were involved Babette would "help" by taking hold of your pen or pencil. Typically all of this extraordinary usefulness would wear her out and in the end she'd make a fantastic 10 pound paper weight by stretching full length across the work thereby ensuring that a) the work was all finished and b) it wouldn't go anywhere while I succumbed to ear and chin scratching.

Helping mom clean up is hard work for any cat!

Eventually I did have to go off to college. I didn't go more than a 45 minute drive away so I saw Babette some weekends and on every holiday. Though she would curl up with my mom while I was gone, she always new that I was her human and came back to my bed while I was home. At some point when I was away she began becoming more and more of a baby.

Babette was always a little vocal. She spent her first evening in our home meowing into every corner of every room in the house. But when I came home from college she began begging for food too. Not just at the dinner table, where she would reach up to my chair and attempt, by patting my leg, to get you to give her a taste I happened to be eating. It wasn't enough that she had a food tower that kept her bowl perpetually full and a pet drinking fountain that circulated and filtered water, she began wanting to be pet before every meal. I would walk over to her food dish, she would follow and sit right in front of it. For many years this would be enough, but eventually she would sit, look up at me look at the food dish, look at me, and meow a little if I didn't reach down to pet her.

The same went for breakfast as well. Babette was a master at waking me or my mother up in the morning. My mother was a light sleeper and a light touch when it came to taking Babette to the kitchen in the morning, but if I was home I got the added benefit of being woken up at 5am to sound of the my cat tossing things off of my desk or dresser. If that didn't work she would find something noisy (like a bag or piece of paper) and beginning to play with or chew on it. Her last resort was to come right up to the pillow and bop me on the nose with her paw.

I admit there were mornings where I kicked her out of my room (not literally) I just let her outside and then shut the door. I also admit there are only a few times I can remember doing this, because as I say, Babette was a vocal kitty. She could stand outside of a door and cry for hours, especially when she new for a fact that I was on the other side of it. She also knew how to knock.

After a few months of living with us we discovered that Babette had not been spayed. I discovered Babette was in heat when I woke up to a pitiful crying kitty kneading her paws on my chest, as I by virtue of being her human mom could help her. We took her to the vet to be fixed and at the same time my mother had her declawed (I know... not the most humane of options, however, it was be declawed so she didn't ruin my mother's furniture or find her a nice cage at the Humane Society). She ended up staying the vets for a full weekend. We dropped her off on the way out of town to visit my newborn nephew and picked her up on the way home. When we got her back her little front paws were kind of sore. She had dissolving stitches so we didn't have to take her back to the vet - but in the mean time she developed the habit of sitting in Statue pose with one paw held up. She would periodically switch which paw, but it was a habit she held with varying frequency the rest of her life. But in this way she also learned how to knock on a door, or even push one open if she needed to get to me.


Anonymous said...

Did Babette feel the need to help you mark your books by chewing on the corner of them as you read? My cat performs this service for me, presumably to help me make sure I don't inadvertently read the same book twice.

The Tattooed Librarian said...

Haha! Not with books. She'd obsessively rub her cheek on them to the point I thought she'd cut herself. But her preference was for mail or other papers laying around. She'd rip the corners off of those and slobber on them, making doubly sure that I was really finished with that bit of mail!