Our holiday houseguest list started with my mother-in-law. She, in-turn, attracted the outlaw-in-law, who brought along the pitbull-in-law. They’re all generally nice enough, but as with most relationships it still pays to watch your fingers.
The dog stays outside for the most part, but joined us all inside for breakfast this morning. She’s a friendly beast that thinks she’s a 50-lb lapdog and has all the inquisitiveness and exuberance of a puppy. Her presence definitely changed the animal dynamic in the house as she tried to be “friends” with the domiciled pets. The guinea-pig, who has always been oblivious of our cat, clutched his chest and buried himself inside his plastic pig-loo despite already being inside a cage. The bird, also caged, got verrrrwy, verrrwy quiet even though she is best-known for her sputtering, Al Franken-like rants (her diction is a little bit better). Someone thoughtfully sequestered the cat in the basement before letting the dog in, so his initial reaction was hard to judge.
After being rebuffed by the other pets, the pitbull became completely fixated on the door to the basement, snuffling, prancing and whining. Now, the basement has everything the cat needs to make himself comfortable; his food dish, litter box and plenty of his favorite soft spots to sleep upon. We always shut him down there whenever we take the bird out for social interaction. You’d think that with all the comforts and conveniences close at hand, and a hairy, slavering beast on the other side of the door, the cat would be content to lie low. Something in his felinity, however, determined that if we wanted him in one place, then he wanted to be anywhere but there. So, when my mother-in-law accidentally opened the basement door, he leaped to freedom, perhaps in the hopes of catching the bird uncaged and unawares.
It would have been funny to have seen his face the moment he realized his miscalculation. Instead I had to settle the next instant for the bug-eyed, brushy-tailed look of terror as he came peeling around the corner into the living room looking for any high ground. Fortunately for me, I was leaning back in my chair instead of standing up so instead of leaping on my head he went for the top of the piano instead while the dog’s owner caught the animal’s head between his knees to keep her from continuing the hot pursuit. The Mall Diva swooped in and collected her cat and whisked him to safety in her room, his eyes the size of quarters and his back toes spread out like rakes. Order was soon restored and life, fortunately, went on.
The holidays can be so stressful.