Alone, terrified and screaming (more on that soon) she was a tiny thing that fit in the palm of my hand. That is, after Michael refused to retrieve her declaring that she was spitting and hissing while trying to hide amongst the leaves. Impatiently, I fished for her in the underbrush and there emerged a miniature nightmarish wild cat.
A cute and adorable kitten, she remained physically endearing into adulthood. However, her personality developed into something similar to a spoiled celebrity. Pushy, demanding, cranky and often crossing the line into psychosis, she developed an unnerving habit of chasing her tail while letting loose a horrific scream. This would be followed by inconsolable growling and various means of blood-letting for anyone trying to provide comfort.
I'm not sure if this was a method of commanding attention or letting off steam from a period of irascible brooding. She would often silently slip behind me as I was busy painting. I have no idea how long she sat watching me, but sooner or later that ghastly scream would pierce the zen and nearly send me through the canvas. To observe Babush is to first hear the ferocious growl followed by the tail slowly moving toward her face. From the corner of her eye she spots the tormenting appendage and then savagely chases and attacks it. I often feel scabs of her own making.
This behavior has prompted unending trips to the vet. A clean bill of health is always the final diagnosis along with offers of kitty-cat prozac and sympathetic statements such as "that's because she's a tortie", as if that should explain everything. Have you ever read the internet joke about administering a pill to a cat?
My friends shake their heads sadly murmuring "that is no pet." As the years pass and she ages the symptoms diminish...somewhat. We've spent ten years tolerating each other. If our pets offer the mirroring principle, I've had lots of introspection into my own unexplainable angst. Yup, she's a nutcase but she's my nutcase and I adore her passionately.
Hoping you have a pet to love,
|Portrait of Babush, oil on canvas, 11"x14"|