My neighbors define the words “animal people.” At current count, they have 11 ferrets in their house. Before you call “Animal Hoarders,” let me explain. These are the most-loved, best-cared-for ferrets you have ever seen. They are all fat, furry and fluffy. Their gourmet food budget way exceeds mine. And the wife has pretty much made it her full-time duty to care for them. Their home is the cleanest, most beautiful house you’ve ever seen, although much of it has been converted into Weasel Playville. If I was a ferret, I’d want to live there.
All those weasely mouths to feed isn’t enough though. They also care for a small group of stray neighborhood cats. The cats live under their deck and eat specially prepared chicken. They’ve all been captured and spayed or neutered – but not before one got a litter off.
That was a few years ago, and that cute little thing in the photo above was the runt of that litter. The wife-half of this neighbor duo gave finding homes for the kittens her all. Part of this campaign involved holding them up in front of Lee every time he was outside doing yardwork and going “awww, see, aren’t they ca-yooot?!”
It worked. We brought Sylvester into our house as soon as he was old enough to be taken from the litter. Lee really wanted a kitten, and I felt sorry for the little guy because his bigger, tougher brothers and sisters were always nudging him away from the food bowl.
Sylvester spent his first few weeks in our home being timid and skittish. As an outdoor kitten, he had a tough time adapting to indoor life and constantly having 2-leggers around. We went through another round of mistrust and under-the-couch dwelling when we took him to have his balls snipped. In fact, I’m pretty sure a lot of how he acts now can be attributed to the simple desire for revenge.
That scrawny, wide-eyed kitten is long gone. A few years later, he now looks like this:
Those days of being bullied out of the food bowl by his siblings, hiding under furniture and being painfully shy are long over. I’m pretty sure that whole thing was a ruse. If I’m wrong about him still carrying a grudge over his balls, then my neighbors are actually raising tiny little torture devices that come in cute packages and then grow up to be hellions. Here’s how a normal day looks for him now.
Sylvester’s Recipe for a Damn Good Day
1. At around 3 a.m. or so, decides that Girl Human (who probably didn’t go to bed before midnight and has to get up for work at 6:30) has had enough of this sleep crap. Hoist your 20-pound blob of Fatittude onto the bed, then smack dab into the center of her chest. Do the Happy-Kneading-Paw-Dance until she wakes up. Then plop.
2. After making sure Girl Human won’t fall back into a “real” sleep, head into the bathroom. Play patty-cake with the water in the toilet bowl, just long enough to make sure that when she gets up to pee the seat will be nicely cold and wet.
3. When Girl Human hauls herself out of bed and starts her daily ritual of squealing when her butt makes contact with the toilet seat (she never learns, at least not in the morning), add to her pleasure by head-butting her legs while she pees. Its their fault for not getting the door fixed. It closes, but not in such a way that your magic Paws of Mischief can’t nudge you right on in.
4. Attempt to kill Girl Human by continuing the leg-weaving as she makes her clumsy, half-asleep, cold-assed way to the coffee pot. Meow for effect. You aren’t sure why you try to kill her, since you need her for food. But its fun.
5. While she pours the coffee, work up a good squawking meow. There’s a speck of bare dish showing in the food bowl. Just a speck, but REALLY? These humans are slackers.
6. Ignore your fresh bowl of water and decide that you wants to drink from the cup on the table. Knock the cup over, making sure the water goes all over Girl Human’s purse just as she’s ready to drag her sleep-deprived butt out the door. Enjoy the new words she invents as she makes herself late drying everything off and changing purses for the day.
7. Nap all day. You had a busy morning.
8. Torment the ferret while no humans are watching. If The Weaz is in his cage, sit in the chair that faces his hammock and paw at it, giving the weasel your best “neener, neener, I’m out and you’re NOT” grin. If The Weaz is in the bedroom playing, stalk the door and stick your paws under it repeatedly, letting the overgrown rat know you’re waiting.
9. Later in the day, refreshed from your nap and your ferret-cage whapping, scout the area for bottle caps. The Humans drink a lot of Lipton Diet Green Tea and sometimes leave the bottles on the coffee table. Ignore all cat toys and proceed to whap these bottle caps everywhere (clattering them into walls at 2 a.m. and waking up the humans is also fun). When this grows boring, make sure to leave the cap in a strategic place – preferably one where a barefoot human will step on it and squeal in pain.
10. Conclude the day by waiting for Girl Human to take out her Kindle, curl up on the couch, and start reading. As soon as she’s into it, jump up and start furiously head-butting the Kindle. This worked better with books, unless she was reading hardbacks. But sometimes you gotta sacrifice a few painful head-bumps to be the best pain in the butt you can be.
I love the fat brat, and wouldn’t trade him for the world. I do, however, wish he’d let me sleep. And read. And make it to my coffee pot without tripping over him and killing myself. And pee in peace. Just sayin’.