Tuesday, August 01, 2006

"He and Me"

By Andrew Davis

I am pleading with him to stop, but he just ignores me and continues to knock over everything he passes – CDs, plants, picture frames, and whatever else is within reach. The more I scream at him, the more aggressive he becomes and it begins to seem as if there’s nothing I can do. Suddenly, though, he stops and begins to walk in my direction. There’s nothing to knock over where I am, so why is he coming over here? Oh my goodness.

“Leave me alone,” I shout, but my plea falls upon deaf ears. He quietly sits on my bed and I notice his eyes – they tend to become glassy when he gets like this. Then without warning, and with incredible speed, he leans over, bites my cheek, jumps on the floor, and begins to lick between his legs. “Alright, alright you fat-behind cat…I’m up.”

He is Macaroni, and He was my cat. His entire life revolved around food.

Mornings always started this way in the Davis household. No matter what we did, there was no stopping Mac. Some mornings I would wake up cold and uncomfortable because, without realizing it, I had thrown both my pillows and blankets at him trying to stop the destruction.

He took to his morning rampages when he realized that a simple meow would not get us up out of bed to feed him.

The first time I saw him on the war path I was lying in my bed. It was early one morning and I happened to wake up in time to catch him pacing back and forth, apparently thinking about how to get us up.

All of a sudden he jumped on my sister’s dresser, where there were piles of CDs.

He put his fat head down and just pushed the CDs off as if he knew exactly what he was doing. At the time I doubted that he did. Then I watched as he jumped to her adjacent desk and knocked all the picture frames down to the floor. It was the funniest thing I had ever seen in my life. It was like I had my own personal Discovery Channel going on in my bedroom. But instead of watching a chimpanzee learning to use a twig to fish for termites, I was watching a really fat cat force his owners to wake up and feed him.

OK, so when I say fat, I mean FAT.

Macaroni, or Mac for short, weighed in at 20 plus pounds.

That’s right. I said 20 pounds. That is fat. Just in case you didn’t know, cats, on average, weigh about eight pounds.

But then, Macaroni was never any average cat. There was a simple, but rather humiliating reason why our cat grew so big. I’m ashamed to say it’s because of how stupid we were when we first got him. Wow, we were stupid. We figured that since humans eat three times a day, cats needed three meals a day too. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Why not? How could a cat make it through a day eating only once?

That seemed downright inhumane.

So we gave that cat three squares, or should I say, three rounds, as in three cans of cat food a day. That’s right, one for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Could we have been more stupid? And on top of it, we fed him table scraps as if he were a dog. “Here, want some spaghetti? How ‘bout some Apple Cinnamon Cheerios after you finish that chicken leg?”

Very sadly though, Macaroni Ignacious Alloicious Davis (his full name) developed health complications from this overfeeding routine. He was still only a kitty when we found out that he had asthma -- and no he didn’t use a cat inhaler. When he reached eight, he developed diabetes. For four years, up until he was twelve, we had to give him a shot of insulin each time he ate, and some medicinal drops to prevent asthma attacks.

He was the sickliest cat I’ve ever known – with all his ‘human diseases’ – but he was still the happiest. Food was his life and he was constantly scheming about how to get more. Asleep or not, he was thinking about his next meal. And we always knew he had scored when we would wake to overturned garbage, or when we found a loaf of wheat bread that had holes in the bag. Yup, Mac had broken in, once again.

Stay tuned for more…

Andrew Davis grew up in Harlem. He has learned a lot about cats. Maybe the most important thing he has learned is that he will never love a cat quite as much as he loved Macaroni. This story is dedicated to Mac.


Dilys said...

it's pretty funny at the beginning - good writing, then I realize that the story gets darker and darker.

ClaudiaR said...

Yes, I agree with you, Dilys. At first as you are reading this story you are thinking, oh gee, an overweight cat, how funny. But not really. Not when the poor cat gets so sick.

Dilys said...

yup. exactly.