Kaboodle was so sweet - Kaboodle was so conniving. Sometimes, it seemed she was two cats, not one.
In truth, much began to change with our cat.
While she did not develop ringworm, she began to exhibit some of the characteristics which had made Sunflower and I think we did not want a cat in our house.
At first, it was all rather endearing.
Take her food, for example. Kaboodle would come in from the out of doors, hungry. Her food dish would be 3/4's full. She would sit down beside it, look at me. "Meow," she would say. This "meow" meant, "feed me."
"Kaboodle! You have plenty of food in your dish. Eat that."
So, I would get her food bottle and pour the tiniest bit into her bowl, atop the larger serving that was already there. Satisfied that she had been properly served, she would eat.
When she wanted to go outside, she would sit by the door, expecting someone to open it for her. It seldom took more than a few seconds before her wish was catered to. When she wanted to come back inside, she would leap onto the back porch, walk up to the sliding glass door, sit down, and wait expectantly for someone to jump to her command, and open the door for her.
Naturally, there would be a race to see who could be the first to serve this cat.
My family would have done well in ancient Egypt.
She would take a seat in the rocking chair. A human member of the family would stroll in to watch television, intent on sitting in the chair. "Damn," that person, even Fire, would mutter. "The cat beat me to the chair." Then he or she would sit on the floor.
This, as I say, served only to further endear her to the entire family.
More annoying were other traits.
How haughty she became!
Oh, I didn't mind the fact that dead shrews, killed strictly for pleasure and not food, repeatedly showed up on the porch. No. She was a hunter by instinct. Maybe, one day, she would need that hunting skill.
Kaboodle would stroll into the house, someone would pick her up, set her on their lap, and begin to pet her. Naturally, what we all expected when we did this was that she would sit there and purr, as she had done when she first came to us.
She would tolerate this for about two seconds, leap to her feet, and, radiating disdain, shake off the person so showering her with affection, and prance over to someone else.
When the snubbed person was me, I felt shunned, insulted.
"Wait till winter," I would threaten. "I'm going to tie your tail to a branch, and throw snowballs at you!"
This wasn't all.
I would be walking trough the house, the cat would spot me, crouch down like I was some kind of enemy, then dash off and hide under something, or crawl into a box.
I, who had saved her from starvation; I, who had opened my door to her, brought her in from the cold, and catered to her every whim, being treated like this, as someone to shun, to hide from!
Sometimes, I would grab her, force her to remain on my lap, and stroke her fur while her tail swished, and an unpleasant, impatient growl emanated from her throat. Stupid. I did not know. One can force affection upon a dog and the dog will like it, but not a cat. One can force nothing upon a cat.
See her walking across the floor, reach down to pet her, and she would roll suddenly onto her back, wrap her front claws around your hand, grab a hold of your finger with her teeth, and then do a rabbit kick with her hind paws on your hand and lower arm.
Though she showed some restraint, considering her capabilities, having your hand clutched, even gently by those claws, was like having your hand clutched gently by a dozen razor blades.
It wasn't always gently. Sometimes she would get so carried away, clutching, kicking and biting so exuberantly that her claws would pierce skin. One would want to tear one’s hand away this cat, but one somehow knew that to do so would only leave the hand slashed and torn.
The boys thought this was great, and encouraged it.
They would put a heavy glove on one hand, and offer it to the cat. Kaboodle saw the glove as an invititation to attack with full ferocity. She did so - biting, clawing, and growling.
I tried the glove a few times myself.
Kaboodle would see the glove go on. Her ears would perk up, her eyes would glow with fierce intensity. She would leap to the attack. Truly, Kaboodle went after the glove far more fiercely than she did an unprotected hand – much more fiercely. This confirmed to me that she was playing, not really trying to inflict true damage, but, those claws! If they accidently slipped above the glove to unprotected skin, that skin became torn and ripped. Blood flowed.
I wondered about the stereotypical image of the sweet old lady and the gentle pussycat. Where had such an image come from? Kaboodle would have taken that sweet old lady and left her in shreds.
"I think I'm going to get this cat de-clawed," I began to threaten. "I'm going to get it neutered, so it can't have kittens, and I'm going to get it de-clawed."
"Dad," Rye would protest. "That's cruel. Kaboodle won't be any fun without her claws. Besides, a dog might get her."
"Dad," Fire added, "one day, Dallas and I spotted Scout running down the road with a cat in his mouth."
"A cat in his mouth?"
"Dead or alive?"
"Dead. Fresh dead. It was torn up. Blood was dripping all over the road. That could be Kaboodle if you get her de-clawed."
It pained me to think of Scout as a cat-murderer. Fire had won the argument. Kaboodle would not get declawed. As to being spayed, that was, as they say, a different story.
And look what she did to her litter!