Rendered Fat Content


Jean Siméon Chardin: The Ray (1725–1726)
"They always greet our returns like delighted children …"

Our cats Max and Molly received the worst of the move. While The Muse and I just had to drive familiar cars for two days, the cats had little car traveling experience and much less predilection to enjoy it. I drugged them with kitty CBD, a cannabis derivative advertised as a mild sedative. It worked, perhaps too well, for they both experienced zombie passages, hardly themselves, with Max crashing hard and Molly uncharacteristically cuddling close with her head in my lap. Both refused breakfast, even kitty treats, after our Ogden overnight, and Molly fought like Hell to avoid returning to her carrier for the walk back to the car. Both survived the trip.

I imagine that for them, our arrival must have seemed like landing in Oz.
They'd gone from the only landscape they'd ever known into a place almost entirely different. The old place still snowy, the new one budding into springtime, but a springtime like they'd never imagined. They hung close, finding perches overlooking the yards, and slowly started consenting to food again. They quickly adapted to the new location of their trusty litter box, even though this one was different than their old familiar. Molly spent an inordinate amount of time in the basement lined with unopened boxes, blazing trails between them. Max slept in the front window, perhaps taking refuge in dreaming of where he'd left. The Muse and I busied ourselves with the ten thousand activities necessary to any SettlingInto. I suspect that the cats were doing the same.

They liked the mulch. It seemed as though they could not quite believe that I spread it so liberally over so many handy surfaces. It dug easily and I caught both Max and Molly in satisfies crouch filling another little trench before gleefully covering it over. They watched the fish once we'd cleaned up the pond but seemed confused after the fish died. They used the pond as their drinking fountain and would secret themselves beneath the daylilies stalking birds. Max roamed more widely and was mostly spotted leaving the yard. He'd jump the six foot back fence, balance on top for a minute looking frantic, then drop over. A short while later, I'd hear a scratch and see one of his paws peeking over from the other side, and he'd be up and back over. They both seem respectful of the street.

I'm likely to look up and find one or both of them watching me with great curiosity, Especially Molly, whom I refer to as The Supervisor. Any little chore I might engage in, she's very likely watching. Whenever I touch a hose, she's right behind me, carefully considering. I think that she might believe that the hoses are snakes and I a closet snake handler. She sometimes pounces as if to keep those serpents in their place. She pounces a lot. When nightcrawlers stick their noses up out of freshly watered lawn, she'd out there pouncing, looking every bit like a bucking bronco. Max, the dimmer of the two, climbs the apricot and watches.

They both appear at almost precisely four-thirty each afternoon for treat time. I've adjusted my schedule so as to not disappoint them or myself. It's as if they come to share the stories of their adventures and I come to reassure them that I still appreciate their presence. Molly's always ravenous. Not so much Max, who as a killer has likely eaten between meals. Molly consents to at least a little petting while Max climbs up into his perch to watch the proceedings. Company has been scarce to non-existence through the quarantine, except for The Grand Other, who stops by each day after school. Both cats have taken to her. Max surrenders quickly but even Molly, who traditionally avoids human contact, has started stopping by for a quick nudge. Overall, I can report that they're fine Catpanions, usually close and an interested audience. The neighborhood cats have noticed their presence. The orange tabby who's nice as rain and the bruiser who's as big and mean as a raccoon spark similar responses from Max and Molly, defensive crouches and malevolent growling followed by frenzied retreating back inside.

Mornings find them both waiting, expecting a spot of breakfast long before I'll get around to finding mine. I feed the critters first, however inconvenient, since they're the dependents, though I've come to depend upon their steady presence. They stalk me unless they're napping and they nap in such predictable places that I rarely have to search to find them. They seem forlorn whenever we leave, watching from the window as the car backs out of the driveway. They always greet our returns like delighted children, nudging for some treats, which we just have to give them given the trauma they've just survived.

©2021 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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