Mac McKatt is the formal name on his Cat Actor's Guild card, but he's also known as "Kramer" for his entrances into any room and "Psycho Kat" when he gets a nose full of cat nip. And if he doesn't get on the treadmill pretty soon, his new nickname will be "Satchel Butt."
I wasn't going to mention it was his birthday, given the fool he made of himself last year trying to blow out the candles on his cup cake -- you'd be surprised how flammable whiskers turn out to be -- and do NO parents teach their off spring "stop, drop and roll" anymore?
But he's been strutting around here for the last couple of days like his agent got a call from Hanna-Barbera and he nailed the audition for the new "Top Cat".
Let's be honest. When you "rescue" a pet from the shelter, aren't you expecting just a little respect? You know, some deference to the fact that because of your sole and singular magnanimous efforts the cat is better off than most villages in the Sub-Sahara. I mean, you don't say that out loud and you wouldn’t throw up in the cat's face, but you're still thinking it, right?
Rule: if you're looking for respect, get a dog. A cat ain't gonna get you there, not by half. And while I'm on the soap box, I think you can tell a lot about a person by the pet they own: if you own a dog, you want unbridled love and respect; if you own a cat, you don't want to wear rubber gloves and pick up warm crap. If you own both, you're a parent and are just trying to get through to the weekend.
So Mac moves in -- doesn't really have much in the way of possessions, pretty much just what he's got on his back -- and for the first month or two, it's head butts all around, happy feet everywhere, please let me sit here and just stare at the marvel that is you. Then about month three, he starts to cop an attitude -- you know, that working-class hero attitude. It's all like, "Yo Yo Yo -- Opposable, shouldn't you be using those thumbs on a can opener or a brush or something? You DO know I haven't eaten for an hour, right?"
Except for the crack about being an Opposable, I was willing to let the rest slide. You know -- disadvantaged cat from a tough neighborhood doesn't really understand the social mores of living in a gated community. We used to live in Nicaragua -- we know how hard it is to assimilate.
When it starts to warm up last Spring, Mac's still wearing his winter coat and apparently the zipper's stuck 'cause he's all like, "Hot… can't move… need water… bring now… me so hot."
Erica, the heir to nothing, stops by and says, "I vote we shave him." Mac leaps up, "Shave what? With what? By who?" He decides it's cooler and less accessible under the bed, so disappears like a cheerleader's promise.
Ann makes some calls and sets up the First Annual Mac McKatt Shaving and Bath Ceremony. And the barber comes to your house, which is a better deal than you might think because the last time we took him to the vet he tried to eat the backseat. You let a 20 pound cat work on your upholstery for very long and leasing rates start to look pretty good.
So, there we are: Mac and I looking out the window at the appointed time when "the van" pulls into the driveway. We're both excited, Mac perks up and watches the van park right outside the window and I read the sign on the side of it: Pussy Cat Grooming. I laugh right out loud.
Mac looks at me like, "Roger Corman's producing James Bond, now? If Honor Blackman gets out of that van, I'm biting you where it don't show."
Ann comes out and says to Mac, "Are you ready to get a nice bath and shave?"
Mac: "I ain't getting in that van."
Me: "Come on Mac, you're going to be a lot cooler after this is over."
Mac: "An Opposable driving a van with no windows? There's probably a portable grill and a Chinese menu in there. I ain't getting in that van."
Me: "Come on, buddy, I'll carry you out to meet the guy."
Mac gets his back up and hisses: "Touch me and she's going to be filling out paperwork for you in the E.R."
And as he backs up, Ann scoops him into the portable cat jail and slams the door.
And I'm like, "HA! Opposable's rock, smart guy!"
We pack Mac out to Kung Pow Barber and I tell the guy, "He's a little uncertain about all this so you might want to keep your hands where he can't see them."
"Does he bite?" says the guy?
"Bite? He was feral for two years, he not only bites, he kills."
"Has he ever bitten you?"
"Oh, hell no -- Mac won't bite me. Not sure about you, though."
"OK -- tell him not to bite me."
"Just tell him not to bite me and he won't."
"Ahh… yeah, well -- the thing is… his English ain't so good."
"Neither's mine, I'm Greek."
"Whatever." So I get down to the jail door and look Mac straight in the eye and say, "Mac, do NOT bite Mr. Popadopolus. "
And the guy says, "That's not my name, its - "
And I look at the guy, "Really… his English ain't that good."
"OK -- I get that. We'll be fine."
"You want me to stay here and help?"
"No, we'll be OK. I'll bring him in when we're through."
I go back into the house and Ann says, "So, what do you think?"
"I think in about 20 minutes Mac is going to drag his dead body into the garage and we won't have to buy cat food for a year."
30 minutes later, Mac kramers through the door followed closely by Popadopolus doing the electric slide into the house. Mac looks like he just joined the Marines and the two of them are acting like Two Wild and Crazy Guys -- Popadopolus is even talking about giving us a discount because Mac was so good. Mac's English is a little weak, but apparently his Greek is just fine.
Fast forward a year and it's coming up on Spring. Mac's stuck in his winter coat again but he's strutting into rooms doing the Mac cat stretch -- that's where you stretch with your front legs so everyone can admire your lats and then stretch your back legs so we can all see how nicely you've developed your quads.
And he generally only does it when Ann is around, so it's clear what's going on -- he's been watching the Disney Channel and caught "Beauty and the Beast" once too often.
I'm watching his act and it's just pathetic. I'm like, "Dude, give it up -- it ain't happening. Besides, check it out -- you got some seriously hairy legs going on there."
And Ann says, "Maybe we'd better call Popadopolus ."
Mac looks at Ann and she says, "Yeah, Mr. Popadopolus."
Whereupon Mac turned around, walked over to the window and jumped up onto the sill where he first saw the van. Apparently his English is getting better.
I don't know what happened in that van. And I don't want to know. But whatever it was, it’s going to happen again in two weeks.