I’m a dog person, I believe, by nature. I mean, I like dogs. If I was going to have a pet I would choose a dog. Would I prefer not to have any pet? Perhaps. It all depends on the circumstances, I think.
I have a friend who is a cat person, a dog person, a bird person, a hyena person, a fish person. This friend of mine (we’ll call her Alison), well, she would bring just about anything home if she felt it needed her tender loving care.
Years ago Alison and I shared an apartment together in Calgary. We were very young, very single and, well, maybe just a little lonely for home. So I went out and bought some beautiful huge plants to sort of spruce up the dump we were living in. Al, on the other hand, went out and brought home a cat. Marmaduke is what we called him in the end, I think. Marmaduke was as crazy as we were; in fact I think Marmaduke had crazy down long before we did.
Imagine our surprise when, walking into our apartment one night, we realized ole Marmaduke had gotten down with the place, gotten down and dirty. “Oh, my, God!!” was our first expression upon entering our lovely abode. It looked as though a very large cyclone had gone through the apartment and left shreds of this and that everywhere - an old torn up shoe, a discarded sock, and some very ugly plants were all that was left. Okay, so I’m exaggerating a bit.
“Marth, I think Marmaduke took out your plants.”
“I didn’t think he’d demolish the whole place, though. Did you? I mean I kind a thought he might be a little off but I had no idea what he was capable of.”
“Where is the damn cat anyway Al? Have you seen him yet?”
“No. I hope he doesn’t jump out commando style and bite out my jugular!”
I laughed. Al quietly called out his name.
“Marmaduke, where are you? Here, Marmaduke, come to mommy,” Al whispered into the air.
We heard a shuffling and Poof! – out of nowhere Marmaduke sped across the floor, jumped over our heads and scampered up the mantle piece. There he sat staring at us with his beady brown eyes, surveying the damage, and nodding, it seemed in delight.
“Yep, I did this, yep, just little old me. Take that, you two wussy girls,” Marmaduke (I am sure) was whispering under his breath.
“Marmaduke, why did you make this mess?” Al asked the cat that sat so smugly on the mantelpiece.
He sat as still as a statue but Al and I both knew that cat was dying of laughter inside.
“Is that cat taking speed Al?” I asked.
“Sure does seem like it. You didn’t leave any lying around, did you?”
“Oh yeah, wait, maybe it was the heroin I left out on my bedside table. Marmaduke, you silly cat, were you into my heroin?” I asked that smug little cat.
“Why are we talking to the cat, Marth?”
“Beats me. They never listen anyway.”
We both cracked up. Al and I shared many adventures, and this one, it seems, was just another one of those situations that always made us laugh.
“So what should we do with Marmaduke tomorrow when we are at work?” I asked Al
“Well, I guess we’ll have to cage him.”
“Where did you find this cat anyway Al?”
“On the street. Do you think it belongs to someone?”
“Oh my God, imagine if he thought you kidnapped him and so he tried to escape and couldn’t so instead of sitting in a corner crying for home he just went ballistic and took out our apartment instead.”
“You’re insane! Of course he didn’t think he was kidnapped – he’s a cat.” Al said and went to pet Marmaduke on the mantelpiece. When she approached Marmaduke he let out a hiss and scratched her hand.
“That’s it, buddy, you’re out.” And Al grabbed the cat and threw him outside. Marmaduke quickly skirted back inside. I couldn’t help but think of the Fred Penner tune “The Cat Came Back.”
“Seems like that cat ain’t going anywhere Al.”
“It’s kind of freaky isn’t it; I mean, who would want to live here?” Al said pointing to our dismal living conditions.
”Maybe,” Al said, “this cat is one of those cool cats that love to live in the gritty, funky, hip yet poverty inflicted part of town.”
“Well, if that’s the case the cat’s in the right place.”
We then started to clean up the mess old Marmaduke had made. It didn’t take long; after all our apartment did not have a ton of square footage.
“Marth, what would you say about a nice grey cat?”
“You mean like a trade-in?”
“Well, no, we could have two cats.”
“Okay, whatever, Al, I have a feeling Marmaduke has other plans and won’t be sticking around long. I think he’s just passing through.”
“Yeah I get that same feeling. Okay, I want to bring this grey one home. He reminds me of my cat from home. Remember Simon?”
Simon became part of the family, and – well, that is a whole other story.
Marmaduke ran away. We did try to find him but that cat hit the road and as far as we knew he wasn’t ever coming back.
“Hiss” by TIMMER!! Creative Commons Flickr. Some rights reserved