Public enemy no. 1

Public Enemy no.1: Sweetheart AKA Crumbum

So, Carissa has this nearly 18-year-old cat that is simply a vision of death itself. To stare into the yellowed-eyes of this beast is to understand mortality. Her name is Sweetheart. She moves around as if she has never known joy in her life. She constantly looks like she’s hungover and, if she only had thumbs, she would take her own life with a Remington 20-gauge pump.

Don’t get me wrong, I think cats are fine. In fact, Carissa has another cat who, besides being obese and his limp, is A-ok. But Sweetheart is indeed a miserable creature. Even being asleep seems a burdensome activity to this cat, judging by the amount of wheezing.

First of all, she is wildly desperate for attention. To be petted and cooed too. To be looked at. For her name to be said. Intonations that sound similar to her name is ecstasy. She immediately starts purring. I like to call her “Crumbum” so that I bring her no pleasure and so that she doesn’t think that I at all like her.

Here’s one thing she does: she is senile and has this routine where she finds this tiny, round, cat-toy and cries incessantly until someone praises her. Is it an adorable, endearing cry for attention? No. The sound comes ripping out of her body as if it’s being jarred the entire way up by her rib cages and then tearing up her vocal chords to get out. The first time I heard it, I was truly alarmed: thinking that something was causing her terrible pain. Alas, she has just found a tri-colored ball. It’s like a mixture of an infant and old man crying, both of which have terrible bronchitis. In consistent, sharp, and loud. She does this a few times a week, especially if no one has acknowledged her in a while.

Her frantic desperation is enough to unnerve any guest, but her persistence is really what makes mild annoyance blossom into loathing. For about two weeks I was sleeping on the very comfortable and surprisingly spacious couch of the Olezene’s and every morning at precisely 4:30am Sweetheart would jangle down the stairs hankerin’ for a fix. She lumbers one step at a time: front paws, back paws, front paws, back paws. Panting heavily near my make-shift bed like a predator excitedly approaching its victim.

She’s too feeble to bound onto couches like almost all other cats, so instead she has this truly pathetic routine of clawing the surface with her front paws and laboriously heaving her bulk over the top. I would awake to popping noises of threads getting shifted as she slowly pulled her self onto the couch to lay next to me.

No, Cat, I do not want to smell like the fuzzy navel of an unkempt man. No, I don’t want your dandruff-ridden hair all over my blankets and person. And no, Cat, I don’t want to touch you. I have to wake up in two hours and get ready for work.

I would pluck her from the couch (“pluck” because she vehemently latches onto the fabric with her claws) and put her on the ground or another couch. She’ll let out a laryngitic mew and a few minutes later attempt to craw onto my couch again. With astonishing creatively, she would approach from different routes and angles. She will keep trying until I finally wake up for the day. I tried putting pillows on her, blowing on her face, blocking her with trays, putting her upstairs (which I was sure would work considering how painful moving looks for her) and eventually what was most successful was building a barricade of couch cushions around me. I wouldn’t say this was a complete success because I swear she retaliated by defecating in strategic locations both nights I did this. And still, it wasn’t like the barricade ensured peaceful night of sleep because she would still wake me up with her mewing and clawing at the cushions.

Oh, God, do I hate this cat.

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