Molly Fisk

Molly Fisk

Everyone thinks I’m one of those cat ladies. “Crazy” cat ladies, I believe they’re called. People with many dogs are called breeders, or Lord and Lady Grantham if they live at Downton Abbey. People with sheep, goats, and cows are farmers. No one calls the aquarium-lover a “crazy fish lady,” no matter how many Siamese fighting bettas she has. And the adjective seems to attach itself to “lady” rather than “gentleman.” Let’s be charitable and assume that’s only because of the crazy/lady rhyme.

I do love cats. They’re smart, soft, incredibly funny, and wash themselves — what’s not to love? As a human with a tendency to get lonely, I don’t want one cat, all by itself when I leave the house. I want my cats to be happy, and for that they need their own kind. Right now I have five, due to my tendency to adopt whole families. I lost two last winter to predators, which happens despite my Jurassic Park-like fencing arrangement over half the yard. Sometimes they manage to escape via the pear tree and blackberry bush.

I cherish and protect my own cats. I’m also fond of other peoples’: friends’ cats, bookstore cats, the little black one I spoke to for ten minutes Saturday night on someone’s lawn in Berkeley. I am not, however, a “slut” for cats. I’m currently locked in ferocious combat with one particular feline, and I’m losing.

He’s a stray, and “intact,” as they say, who looks and acts like Norman Mailer: burly and swaggering, with a big square head. After we put the miraculous six-foot wire fence up — the fence no one could get in or out of — he started showing up to gorge on Science Diet and pick fights with my males. It took weeks to figure out he just climbed a fence pole and threw himself onto the lawn with abandon. He lolls around on my deck in the sun. I come home and he’s on the sofa. After seven failed attempts, I’ve given up trying to catch him in the county’s Have-a-Heart trap. If he were nice, I’d just adopt him. But he’s not nice. He expresses himself very clearly by spraying anything I’ve touched. This morning, his stench gilded the microwave, the bread box, a geranium pot, and clean laundry in the basket I had foolishly left in the kitchen. It’s pouring with rain, but my doors are wide open. I’ve wiped things down with hydrogen peroxide where possible. Last month, when it was warm, my car windows were open all night — he hit the steering wheel, dash, and back seat upholstery. He sprays the wood pile. I am losing my mind.

It’s hard to know how to deal with a true foe. I pray some bobcat will eat him, but until then I’m trying to adopt the strategy of the Dalai Lama. His Holiness calls the Chinese, who for decades have trashed Tibet, “my friend, the enemy.”

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  • Patricia November 7, 2015 at 3:06 pm

    Maybe buy some bobcat urine from a hunting supply store, and put that around your yard?

  • Mickey November 7, 2015 at 1:43 pm

    Excellent, Molly. thank you.

  • hillsmom November 7, 2015 at 9:43 am

    On Thursday, I had to have one cat “put down”. I miss her and her trilling “mew” when she felt it was time to eat. She had the most beautiful plush fur. I keep watching for her and think I see her whisking around a corner, sitting in the window when I come back home. The other cat seems to look for her, but otherwise doesn’t care. They generally didn’t like each other, and had the most comical, elaborate rituals of avoidance. It does make me smile to remember that.
    Her ashes will be buried in the garden where the sun warms.