It’s becoming increasingly clear to me that the time is nearing when I will need to move my elderly mother into my home.
She is very attached to her house in Fayetteville, but I don’t think she will ultimately object. The problem is others who are in the picture.
Titus is my mother’s poodle. Mom is rarely without Titus at her side. Titus hardly goes anywhere without her.
Then there’s Lady Ashley, the 16-year-old cat who thinks she rules the house where I merely pay the mortgage.
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Titus and mom are frequent visitors. Lady Ashley is not pleased. Mom, she ignores a little more than she ignores me. Titus makes seemingly friendly gestures. Lady Ashley hisses, shows her claws and retreats under my bed to sulk.
In an effort to see if the two can peacefully coexist in the same space, I recently had a talk with each.
“I’m adorable. I’m loyal. I’m loving and I am exceedingly obedient. So what’s there to talk about,” says Titus. The obedience claim is overstated, but I let it pass.
“That creature knows no boundaries,” responds Lady Ashley. “He wanders everywhere. Do you know that he drank out of my water bowl? Ugh! What makes him think he is worthy of being in my presence? That constant drooling and tail wagging makes me think he’s not very smart.”
Lady Ashley then plays the sympathy card. She reminds me that the vet said her recent urinary tract disorder was likely because of “environmental stress,” i.e. an unwanted intrusion into her territory.
Titus did come to the family under mysterious circumstances. He just showed up at my mother’s door about 10 or 11 years ago.
Then, she adds, “There’s the question of Titus’ uncertain lineage. I mean, what do we really know of his background.”
Titus did come to the family under mysterious circumstances. He just showed up at my mother’s door about 10 or l1 years ago. He had tags, but the woman who answered the phone when my sister called vehemently denied that her dog was missing. Which led to all sorts of speculation that Titus was not merely abandoned. There had been suspicions of an, er, pharmaceutical enterprise nearby where people were said to trade all sorts of things for the merchandise for sale. Some family members speculated that Titus had escaped after he was traded to some unsavory characters.
It’s not something that Titus is willing to open up about. But in an un-doglike response that I attributed to mom letting him watch certain presidential candidates on television, Titus retorted: “Well, your Lady Ashley is a serial killer. And probably a drug fiend. I’ve seen the way she laps up catnip. And, further, how can you forgive her for bringing a baby rabbit and the screaming squirrel into your house?”
Lady Ashley has a past that belies her noble bearing. A former colleague found her at about three months of age wandering around a downtown Raleigh construction site. My colleague had other cats and pressed me to take in the homeless animal. Attempts to turn her into a house cat failed. She escaped numerous times, leaving a trail of bodies in her treks though the neighborhood. After an escape, she liked to bring home “gifts,” sometimes live creatures.
Lady Ashley has a past that belies her noble bearing. A former colleague found her at about three months of age wandering around a downtown Raleigh construction site.
Yes, squirrels do scream and, believe me, it is not a sound that you want to wake up to. That’s how I discovered Lady Ashley’s latest gift in the house. My nephew arrived to capture the screaming squirrel and return him to the yard while I held off Lady Ashley.
I explained to Titus that Lady Ashley has reformed in her dotage and never goes much further than the screen porch or the garage.
“Well, if you want to believe that,” responds Titus, with a tone that is a little reminiscent of a certain presidential candidate.
After mom and Titus departed for home, I pointed out to Lady Ashley that both she and Titus share abandonment with ultimate acceptance into a family. Isn’t that a basis for friendship, I ask?
Lady Ashley merely continues to groom herself.
This mission is beginning to feel like a fool’s errand for another day, so I head for the fridge to get a big glass of wine. After I settle down on the couch, Lady Ashley jumps up and curls up at my feet. We catch up on episodes of “Empire” and “Scandal” on the DVR.
Linda Williams: 919-829-4524