Dumbcat is afraid of men.
Up until recently, he was afraid of EVERYONE. He’d hide when anyone came over. Beeline for the pots and pans cupboard or under the bed or deep inside the couch up where the springs live until the people left. THE PEEPEL MOMMEE! THE PEEPEL! MAEK THE PEEPEL LEEVE OUR HOUWSE!
The only person he could tolerate was my old roommate C., because we lived with her for six years when we first came to town. He’d hide for a bit, but then he’d come out and be headbutty and such.
But men? NO THANK YOU. He’d hear a man’s voice and he was OUT of there. And he wouldn’t come out until the men were gone. When I went to my parents’ camp this summer, he hid every time Dad came to visit, and even when The Nephew came up (but that might have been because The Nephew is a loud little wee one, and he kept saying “Aunt Amy? Where is the cat? So I can HUG HIM?” and Dumbcat made himself very small and invisible in the back corner under the bed in the farthest bedroom and played a game of YOU CANNOT SEE ME because MOMMEE THE SMALL HUMANE WITH LOUED FEETS IS SKARY TO ME.)
The only man that ever won him over was BFF, and that took DAYS. BFF came to visit for a few days before I moved out of state and by the last day, Dumbcat was sitting on his lap purring. BFF was so pleased. And it is like a visit from a rare butterfly, when Dumbcat comes to sit on your lap, because he’s so damn skittish.
But the past month or so, he’s been really good with people. Three people have come over – Laura, and Cousin S., and friend K. – and he hasn’t run from ANY of them. But they all have ladyparts, of course. Because they’re LADIES. I was so pleased he was letting them pet him, but I just figured, well, he’s getting old, and petting’s petting, but they’re not men, with their low rumbly voices and stompy loud feet.
This weekend, my parents came to visit. They like to visit close to my birthday and take me to lunch. We usually go shopping but this year we didn’t because instead of shopping I got some money to put toward my Most Excellent Adventure in the Land of the Finns fund. (We’re getting there, kiddos. Almost halfway! 3/4 of the way by the end of the month!) So they came all this way to take me to lunch and then turned around and left. Is that not the sweetest thing? Even though I’m old, they still come to celebrate my birthday with me. Aw, those parents.
So they got here and Dumbcat was on the back of the couch and he didn’t run away from Mom, and she was so happy. And he got some grandma-petting. Then Mom and I went to talk and walk around a little bit and when I came back in the living room I thought Dumbcat would have run off because A MAN IS HEAR MOMMEE A MAN WITH A MAN-VOYCE! but a SHOCKING THING HAD HAPPENED!
Dad was sitting on the couch and Dumbcat was headbutting his legs and hands and Dad was petting him as if he’d never petted an animal before in a weird patting tentative way.
“WHAT IS HAPPENING?” I said.
“This cat loves me,” he said. “Maybe he’s not as dumb as I’ve always thought.”
See, Dad hates animals. He can tolerate outdoor dogs as long as they don’t get near him or make any noise, but otherwise, animals are his nemeses. He doesn’t approve of pets and hates animals being in the house because FUR GETS ON THINGS and FUR IS THE WORST and he’s always telling me that Dumbcat will steal my breath and give me cat scratch fever and saying “YOU HAVE GOT TO GET RID OF THAT CAT.” When I was a kid we had beagles (outdoors only) and cats (mostly outdoors only, and not Dad’s choice – we begged him into letting us have them) and that was it. Where I came from, no one knows. No one in my family loves animals like I do.
(SIDE NOTE: I totally wanted to take a photo of this most momentous occasion to document it, but Dad was all, “NO BECAUSE THEN YOU WILL PUT ME ON THE INTERWEBS AND THE GOVERNMENT WILL GET ME” and we had to have a discussion about how, if the government wanted, the government could ALREADY get him, as his car is registered, he pays taxes, he owns a home, etc., and he was all, “BUT THE INTERWEBS! THAT’S HOW THEY GET YOU!” and it was really a losing battle. Once, my brother put a photo of Dad up on the Book of Faces and Dad LOST HIS SHIT. “You make him take that down. MAKE HIM! TAKE THAT! DOWNNNNN! People will KNOW about me! Where I am! WHO I AM! They will COME FOR ME!” so my brother had to take it down and he was so sad. “It had like ten likes!” said my new-to-Facebook brother. “I know, dude, you just kinda gotta roll with the Dad-crazy, it’s a thing,” I replied.)
So Dad and Dumbcat had some loving before we took off for lunch. “This cat hits you with his FACE,” he said.
“Yep. He’s filled with headbutts.”
“I don’t know if I like that, because sometimes his teeth touch you and it’s like he wants to bite your hand all up.”
“Nah. He won’t bite. He only bites when you clip his claws or accidentally when you’re feeding him treats because he’s so excited, and he never REALLY bites. He’s too sweet to bite.”
“I think he might be vicious.”
“He’s not vicious. He’s a good boy.”
Then we tried to leave and Dumbcat leapt up on the couch and purred and I petted him and Dad was all “He doesn’t like you to pet him right now because he’s trying to settle down and take a nap. Don’t torment him” because NOW, APPARENTLY, Dad is all-knowing about what Dumbcat likes best and they are BFFs for all of time.
(Side note: this BFF-ness didn’t stretch too far because when we got to the restaurant he was all, “WOMAN!” [to my mom] “Do you have any of those hand-wipe things? I touched that cat. I COULD HAVE CAT DISEASES. I can’t eat with cat diseases on my HANDS!” and Mom didn’t so he had to go to the bathroom and wash his hands for like ten minutes to get rid of lingering cat-germs.)
When we got back there was some MORE Dad-and-Dumbcat bonding time and awkward petting and it really was the most heartwarming. And once Dad got home and called me to tell me that he was safe and didn’t get hit by a truck on his way home, he was all, “I bet that cat misses me so much” and I was like, “Yes, SO MUCH. So much that he’s sound asleep on my lap, most likely dreaming of his new best friend Grampa.”
This was the best interspecies friend story of all time. And no, I have no idea why Dumbcat is all of a sudden Bravecat and Lovingcat. It’s completely out of character for him, and kind of adorable. It’s like he’s discovered PEEPLE, MOMME! And they can all give him PETTING! And all of them are NIEC PEEPLE! WHERE DID ALL THEESE NIEC PEEPLE COME FROME?
Don’t worry. He’s still the same old Dumbcat, though. He got stuck in his litterbox today somehow and dragged it halfway out of the closet while yowling at it most impressively. THAT’S a new one. Haven’t seen THAT one before.
That’s my good boy.
(Psst, tomorrow is a VERY SPECIAL DAY. Do you all have your party hats and those unrolly party tooter thingys at the ready? Man, I sure hope so. A person with unruly hair and crazy eyes who writes a kooky blog only celebrates her VERY SPECIAL DAY once a year, you know. MAKE IT COUNT, PEOPLE!!!)