The Devil Wears Kitten Fur

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic
Selecting an adorable kitten at the pet store, I take her home to find that she is the spawn of Satan.

Submitted: July 04, 2017

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Submitted: July 04, 2017

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I'm a cat lover. There's nothing I enjoy more than bringing a new kitten home. Don't get me wrong, I'm not a hoarder of cats or anything. In fact, I've never had more than three at a time. But the first time I picked out a kitten on my own, I brought it home to the apartment I shared with my friend Jenni, and both of our lives would never be the same.

It was my first apartment after graduating from college. Jenni and I didn't know each other that well. We had been sorority sisters, so when she was looking for a roommate she put a makeshift ad on the bulletin board in our sorority house. It was perfect timing for me. I hadn't been able to even look for an apartment yet, with finals and graduation and all that.

Jenni greeted me at the door of the second floor apartment. She had already moved in and she'd been living there a couple of months, but she wanted a roommate to share the rent. She showed me aroung the apartment. It was freshly painted in a soft eggshell color paint. The plush new beige carpet didn't have a spot on it. She had already put up nice drapes in the two bedrooms. Heavy, expensive drapes custom made at JC Penney's were hung in front of the patio doors. The kitchen had new white appliances and wood block counter tops. Jenni already had it stocked with dishes and cutlery. There was a small dining room table with four chairs in the eat-in kitchen area. A sofa and chair in the living room completed the picture. All I had to do was move my bed and bedstand in. It was perfect.

That is, it was perfect until I brought home a small little furry monster named Rumba.

Jenni started the cat thing. She adopted an older, mellow female cat from the local shelter. It was a white short hair with a black splotch on its head and a black tail. Jenni named it "Prissy". Prissy had already been spayed. She slept most of the day. She was a sweet, peaceful cat. But her life was about to change drastically.

I was jealous of Jenni's relationship with Prissy. Everywhere Jenni went, Prissy followed her. As soon as Jenni sat down, Prissy was in her lap. I wanted a companion like that. I'd never had my own cat, either. I grew up in a household that always had one or two cats, and I knew that was what I needed.

My boyfriend Ken helped me search for a pet store that had some long haired cats, because that's what I wanted. I imagined a beautiful, elegant long haired cat sitting in my lap, purring.

After looking up every pet store in town and calling quite a few of them, we finally found a pet store that had some long haired kittens, 8 weeks old, all from the same litter. 

The pet store was on the other side of town, but I thought it was worth the drive. Ken drove. We spotted it on the right side of the road: a huge store with a faded sign that said "Fin and Fur Pets". To this day, Ken (now my husband) insists it was called "Scale and Tail Pets", but I remember it as Fin and Fur.

We pulled into the parking lot and I jumped out of the car, excited. Once we were in the store it was obvious these were "free range" kittens, running around the store untethered. I was playing with a beautiful long haired silver tabby kitten when Ken called me over to see one that he had picked up.

"This is the one," he said, stroking the kitten's head. "Look how cute it is!"  It was a long haired calico with ears too big for its head. Its colors were remarkably rich. It had long white whiskers and the cutest little tufts of white fur growing between each paw pad. The kitten rubbed on Ken's chest and purred.

"It looks just like Gizmo, the gremlin," I commented. "But it does seem really sweet."

We had decided. We paid only $10 for the kitten, which was pretty good considering she'd had her first vaccinations already, but we'd have to get her fixed on our own. She was a female, of course, being a calico. I started trying to think of a name, but couldn't come up with anything good.

The car ride home was pretty uneventful. The pet store had given us a cardboard carrier for the kitten. In the coming weeks, my kitten would learn how to chew out of that carrier. The store also gave us a starter kit with some kitten food and a collar. The kitten never wore the collar. We couldn't get it on her.

As soon as we got the kitten home, she changed personality. I've never seen anything like it. Is it possible for a cat to manipulate people into buying her by being all sweet at the store? Soon I would be convinced she was that smart.

She tore around the apartment, climbing the door frames, jumping on the nice dining room table, leaping from the table top to the window sill, climbing the drapes, and tearing up a pile of coupons I had sitting on the sofa. That's when I decided to name her Rumba. I'm a musician, and the Rhumba is a lively dance. I decided to spell it without the "h" to make it easier to spell.

In the following days Rumba destroyed most of the wonderful things in our apartment. She scratched the uphoIstery right off of the sofa. She clawed the dining room table and chairs until the finish was worn off of them. I was afraid to show Jenni that Rumba had climbed the $100 drapes from JC Penney. Rumba climbed them in order to get to the top curtain rod so she could practice her balancing act. When we yelled at her, or sprayed water at her, as the vet had suggested, she slid down the drapes with all her claws out, shredding them to pieces. She also did that when she climbed the door frames.

One day Rumba was quiet for a long time and I realized Jenni had left her bedroom door open (we were trying to remember to close the door to Jenni's room due to her antique doll collection). Rumba had crawled under Jenni's bed. There she found a box, which she tore up. In it was Jenni's most expensive Madam Alexander doll. Rumba made short work of the curly hair, prying it out with her teeth. She then ate the wool clothes off the doll.

It wasn't long before Jenni moved out. It wasn't just the drapes and the dolls: there was another really disturbing habit Rumba had. She tried to nurse off Prissy, as if she had an oral fixation from being taken away from her mother too soon. At least, that was the way I rationalized it. Poor Prissy! Her nipples got so sore from Rumba's teeth that Jenni had to put bandaids over all Prissy's nipples to discourage Rumba. And actually, that didn't discourage Rumba. She chewed the bandaids off.

Anyway, Jenni moved out. Now it was just me and Rumba. I always dreaded what she would do while I was at work. One day I came home and she had gotten into the kitchen pantry where I kept the trash. She had licked out an almost-empty butter tub. Her hair was greased up in spikes like a punk rocker.

Another day when I came home and couldn't find her, I heard her meow but couldn't see her. I could tell the meowing was coming from somewhere very high. I looked at the ceiling and couldn't believe what I saw: the bottoms of Rumba's paws, walking across the plastic panel covering the flourescent lights in the ceiling. She had gotten trapped up in the ceiling somehow! Pushing on a ceiling panel, I got her out. She was very warm, so I don't know how long she was up there. It took me a couple of days watching her to find out how she got up there. She first got on the kitchen counter (she used the kitchen towel hanging from the oven door to scale her way up to the counter), then she proceeded to jump on top of the refrigerator and shove her head up to the ceiling until a panel opened a crack. Then she slid right into the ceiling.

Now all these things would have been cute- and her shenanigans certainly proved she was smart- but Rumba was destroying the entire apartment. I opened the door to the apartment one day and she ran out. The man in the apartment across the hall had very bad timing. He opened his door at the same time, to get his newspaper. Rumba invited herself into his apartment and started chewing up his nice leather luggage.

I dragged her out of there, apologizing to the man and offering to pay for his luggage.A piece of leather was still in Rumba's teeth. She spit it out, as if to spite me.

I never even saw Rumba take more than a two minute nap. I thought that was abnormal for a kitten, but the vet said not to worry.

Looking back on it, I don't know why everyone in my building didn't move out because of Rumba. She got into the apartment residents' shared storage unit one day, slid under the door of some unfortunate soul's storage closet, and started knocking things over. It was scary because I couldn't see what she was knocking over (although something that sounded like ceramic shattered) and I didn't have the key to that closet. I just had to wait until she came out.

All of Rumba's antics of course prevented me from getting my security deposit back when I moved out of that apartment. My husband Ken also distinctly remembers how Rumba got into our food all the time. If I was fixing something in the kitchen, she would literally climb my leg, digging her claws in, to get to the food. She once bit a hole in the middle of Ken's ham sandwich. He was so mad he chased her around the apartment but couldn't catch her. 

When Ken and I moved to a house, Rumba was a semi-outdoor cat. When she was outside she spent more time tearing up other people's yards that she did ours. She caught all kinds of critters, too. She once carried a live bird into the house, dropping it on the kitchen floor. The bird stood up, shook its feathers, and started flying around our house. It took a while for us to guide it out the door. Rumba also brought a dead snake into the garage. It looked like she had bitten right through its neck.

We will always fondly remember Rumba as the little devil cat. It's easier to remember her fondly now that she's gone. She lived to be 15 years old. She had gone deaf by that time. She got in the road and was hit by a car. It was incredibly sad seeing her dead on the road, her gorgeous fur blowing in the wind. We buried her in the back of our garage.

The moral of my story is simple: be extremely careful when you pick out a kitten. Don't be fooled by their cuteness. Check to see if there is that tiny devilish twinkle in their eyes. That's the sign that a kitten is really the devil wearing fur.


© Copyright 2017 Jane Atkinson. All rights reserved.

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