So our new house came with an amenity we weren't aware it had:
A tiny cat that won't quit hanging around our front porch.
Now, I love cats. In particular, I love my cat, Henrietta, who is as fetching an animal as there ever was.
Henrietta does, however, have a few flaws. One of them is a complete indifference to my husband.
It's not that she doesn't love him. It's that she often growls at him when he tries to touch her (in Henrietta's defense, she likes to sleep under the covers, and often my husband sits down on the bed without checking to see if any of the lumps on it might be her. You can see how she might find this irksome).
Still, the growling, as you can imagine, hurts his feelings (although apparently when I am away on tour and Henrietta has absolutely no one else to hang out with, she will sleep curled up by, and even allow herself to be touched by, him).
So there has been some discussion within the household about the possible adoption of another pet, one that would actually allow my husband quality pet time. I was hoping for a dog.
But we got Gem instead.
Gem, from the day my husband showed up at the house and started doing work on it, long before we moved into it, took to hanging around under cars parked nearby, waiting for him. When she sees him, she bounds out from beneath the cars, rushes over to him on the porch, plonks down (her skinny body actually making a plonking sound on the porch floor), and rolls over to show him her belly.
When he bends down to scratch her, she jumps up, and butts her head against him, and even CLIMBS INTO HIS LAP while he's kneeling there, purring furiously.
I would like to add that she does not do this to any of our workmen, or to me. Just to my husband.
Now she's taken to simply hanging around our porch, waiting for him.
Gem, in other words, is a little kitty slut.
Not that I'm jealous. Not at all. I have lots of problem with Gem, the first one being her name. I was like, “You call her WHAT?”
Me: “As in, Jem, in TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD? Or Jem, as in Jem and the Holograms?”
Him: “Gem, as in jewel. Because she's my little jewel.”
Do you see how I could have a problem with this?
I said, “You know, she seems like more of a Jemima. Why don't you call her Jemima?”
Him: “Because she is like a little jewel, not maple syrup.”
Here's another problem with Gem: She eats a LOT. It did not seem to occur to my husband to try to feed her until I suggested it. My husband does not have a great deal of experience with cat care. Until he met me, he thought it was all right to take cats camping.
So I said, “If you intend to assume ownership of this cat, it might behoove you to feed her.”
So he did.
Him: “Did you see how fast she ate that can of Fancy Feast I left out for her? She ate three cans yesterday.”
Me: “You gave her three cans of HENRIETTA'S FANCY FEAST????”
Him: “Yeah, about that. Gem likes fish and shrimp flavor. We need to buy more.”
If, for some reason, Gem isn't on the porch, all my husband has to do is walk out on it, and call “Gem!” and she comes running right over.
She doesn't come at all when I call her.
Him: “You're not saying it right. You have to say, 'Ge-em.' Like it has two syllables.”
Me: “Gem only has one syllable.”
Him: “But you have to say it like it has two. Like this. Ge-em!”
Me: “Jemima has two syllables. Actually, three.”
Him: “Say it like this: Jay-yam. Then she'll come.”
Me: “I am not saying Jay-yam.”
Him: “Ge-em! Oh, look, here she comes.”
But my husband has made an effort on behalf of Henrietta. He feeds her and pets her (when she'll let him).
So I decided to make an effort on behalf of Gem.
Therefore, yesterday, when I came out of the house, and I found a storm approaching, and Gem huddled up on one of our porch chairs, crying piteously for food, I took quick action. Thinking my husband had somehow forgotten to feed her, as someone who would take a cat camping (or even go camping in the first place) might, I gave her a can of Fancy Feast. Maybe, I thought, she'll like me now. Also, the food will keep her from wandering away and being caught in the storm.
Then the heavens opened. Thunder and lightning crashed and crackled. The wind was blowing the rain right up onto the porch. Poor Gem was getting all wet!
So I did the only thing I thought I reasonably could. I picked up Gem—and the food—and took her to the back porch, which is sheltered from the rain.
I would like to mention that Gem did not like being picked up by me AT ALL—although she'll let my husband pick her up. She actually tried to get away, employing teeth and claws to do so, and almost succeeded.
But once out on the back porch, where I put her down, she continued to eat, oblivious to the fact that I had probably saved her life…and risked my own in doing so.
Later, I said to my husband, “Don't worry about Gem. I fed her already.”
Him: “So did I. Twice.”
Today was the final blow with Gem:
I called our cat sitter, who is a vet tech, and asked him to come over. I wanted to talk about getting Gem spayed and vaccinated, because if you are going to feed a stray, you also have to make sure she isn't having unwanted kittens and/or spreading diseases to other cats around the neighborhood. Even though we never let Gem into the house—because we were sure her presence would not be welcomed by Henrietta—we wanted to make sure she wasn't harming other people's cats.
While we were talking to the vet tech, a neighbor came out, and, seeing Gem lolling around at my husband's feet, said, chuckling: “That Tom. She's such a character.”
We stared at the neighbor. “Tom?”
“Oh, yeah, that's Tom, the girl cat. She belongs to the guy on the corner. She is so funny. Always hanging out on someone else's porch.”
GEM IS NOT EVEN A STRAY!!!! SHE HAS OWNERS!!!! WHO HAVE BEEN FEEDING HER ALONG!!!!
I was so disgusted, I turned to stomp back into my house…and stepped in a big pile of steaming you-know-what someone's pet had left in my driveway.
My husband denies it strongly, but I swear it was a gift to me from Gem.