Cats, snot and aphorisms

Posted by Liz Jasper | 1:01 PM | 11 comments »

"What goes around comes around."

"The mills of the gods grind slowly, but they grind exceedingly small."

Growing up, I heard my mother spout junk like this about once a week. Maybe twice. It's hard to say as those sort of things went in one ear and straight into the internal round bin, accompanied by my official motherly-advice-internal-soundtrack that went something like "yeah, yeah, yeah, whatever." So you can imagine my surprise, today, when it turned out she was speaking The Truth.

Let me explain. You see we have this cat, Fuzzy. I did not name her. I would not have named her something so insipid, so…generic. In my family, we like to get a feel for the cat's personality before naming him or her. (Unfortunately, this often leads to confusion, as the cat's name tends to change over time as we get to know him or her better, but I digress.) Anyway, the point is my cat's personality is not the sort that goes with "Fuzzy".

Fuzzy belongs to a sweet cat. A nice cat. The sort that sits on your lap and purrs. Our cat is more the sort to sit on someone else's lap and purr, just to stick it to you. And she's not cute the way a name like Fuzzy would imply. She's is better looking than that. It's like that old saying, "she's got a good personality" only in reverse. Fuzzy has a terrible personality. We keep her because she's so good looking. A lot of people get taken in by her good looks and object when they hear us call her, as is warranted by her personality, That Little Turd. However, in fairness to us, it doesn't take long before they stop being blinded by her incredible cuteness and realize she is a little turd. Usually about the time she's left them in disdain to move on to a superior guest, leaving them with scratched leather shoes and a lap full of cat hair.

Anyway, about a year and a half ago, Fuzzy's kidneys went on the blink. Which means I, as primary care keeper, have the great joy of giving her (foul tasting) meds twice a day and every evening stabbing her in the back so she can get subcutaneous fluids and not dehydrate into a mummy. As you might imagine, she is not fond of this. There's a lot of hiding under furniture and complaining. After about six months of this, I stopped calling her Fuzzy altogether and went with Cranky Pants. Now, I know what you're thinking: "Cranky Pants" is even more trite than "Fuzzy." I agree. "Bitter Butt" is ever so much better.

I recently went on vacation and, because Bitter Butt can't go more than two days about her meds, we had the great delight of taking her along. I know she was in raptures over being shifted from her home, because she so clearly expressed it by peeing, not in either of the two litter boxes I have set up for her use, but everywhere else she could imagine would be annoying. And let me tell you, she has employed a vivid imagination in her pursuit of spite peeing. Bathroom rugs, so you get a little damp surprise under your feet when you leave bed for the necessary in the middle of the night. Inside closets. On luggage, towels, and expensive electronics. God forbid she waste her time on that crappy boom box gathering dust in the corner when someone's left out their new IPod.

Oh, I'm sure you are saying, that poor sweet dear! She must be expressing her trauma at being moved. That just goes to show you're a sucker for a pretty face. Of course she's expressing her feelings! She enjoys watching me down on my hands and knees scrubbing up after her, coughing my way through thick vinegar clouds. I can tell because I swear I hear her purring.

Today, after dumping the bathroom rugs into the wash yet again, I went outside for a little fresh air. One of the neighbors was out doing some pruning so Bitter Butt was on her best behavior, stretched in a warm puddle of sunlight, looking cute. When she has an audience, she likes to pretend she's a model cat -- in hopes they'll fall for her charms and take her home with them. (I am not kidding. Last week, after realizing no one had seen her for three hours, we discovered she'd gone and moved in with the neighbors. Moved in. She had installed herself in the second floor of their house and everything. Little turd.)

Anyway, as I mentioned at the beginning of this, I have a tendency to ignore many of my mother's teachings. But trust me, plenty stuck. Today at the ripe old age of…well that doesn’t really matter, does it?…I decided take another "to do" off the list: The need to cover my nose and mouth when I sneeze. Hey, I'm in a cabin in the woods. I'm in my jammies at noon, for crying out loud. I'm on vacation and letting it all hang out. (And the flower-pruning neighbor has his back to me and is too far away to notice or care.)

So I got crazy and…sneezed commando. And learned that it is not, as I'd always assumed, just another example of stupid old-fashioned politeness that one should cover one's nose and mouth when sneezing. The whole covering thing actually served a purpose. That purpose being to keep things best contained to a tissue from shooting out over one's deck. (Digression: If I were a boy, I'm sure I would have learned this at the age of six. But I'm a girl, so I had to spend a few decades overcoming all that training to do what I was told, even when no one was looking, before I learned this lesson for myself. But that's a rant for another day.)
My eyes squeezed shut during actual sneeze part, but flicked back open in time for me to see a huge blob of mucus fire through the air (take that, six-year-old boys of the world).

My horror and disgust seemed to cause time to slow. I watched as the snot arced through the pristine mountain air, catching a ray bright of September sun. My hands shot belatedly up to cover my nose and mouth as I gasped in nice girl embarrassment. And then gravity caught hold of the glittering wad. Gaining speed, it hurtled down toward the ground…and landed splat on Bitter Butt's pretty grey tail.
She turned away from her contemplation of the greener grass of the neighbor's lawn to look at me. Her beautiful emerald eyes narrowed in judgment. She knew I had done something. She just wasn't sure what.

And I…

I left it there. On her tail. Seeping into her fur, like pee into a bathroom rug hot out of the dryer.

What goes around comes around. The mills of the gods may indeed grind slowly, but they grind exceedingly small.

Liz Jasper is the author of the award winning mystery, Underdead. Her second novel, Underdead In Denial is available on October 2. To read excerpts, reviews or learn more about Liz's books, visit her website at


  1. Mary Ricksen // September 13, 2008 at 3:19 PM  

    I want to thank you Liz for a good laugh, I surely needed one. That--was incredibly funny.
    As long as nobody saw you sneeze, it never happened. That would be my story and I'd stick with it.

  2. Arkansas Cyndi // September 13, 2008 at 9:04 PM  

    Fuzzy sounds just charming. LOL I'm surprised you can caught her at all to give her meds and a shot after all this time.

    Maybe you need a nice doberman to come over and teach Fuzzy some Ms. Manner lessons! LOL

  3. Liz Jasper // September 13, 2008 at 9:40 PM  

    Hi Mary, I'm glad you got a laugh out of it. My sister read it and was dying, but then, she's met Fuzzy.

    Hey Cindy, I'm off to look for a doberman. Though, I am a little concerned for the dog.


  4. Anonymous // September 14, 2008 at 1:10 AM  

    Liz, I can so relate to this! We belong to a Blue Russian named Bonnie Blue. She is very crafty always knocking things off tables for the dog to chew up. Funny story, great comeuppance for the kitty!

    Scarlet Pumpernickel

  5. Mary Marvella // September 14, 2008 at 3:38 AM  

    Loved it! I laughed out loud more than once. There's something satisfying about seeing an arrogant cat get just desserts!

  6. magolla // September 14, 2008 at 2:04 PM  

    OMG! Too funny!
    --wiping tears from her eyes.

  7. Liz Jasper // September 14, 2008 at 3:10 PM  

    Hi SP, Mary and Magolla,
    I'd respond individually, but I'm too tired from staying up until the wee house trying to urge the little turd back inside after she streaked out last night.
    (I will admit here that I was tempted to let her spend the night freezing outside with the cayotes, but the Nature Conservancy owns the field out back and I felt it wasn't right to let her loose when she hadn't been properly debriefed on who was supposed to be toying with whom.)

  8. Mary Marvella // September 14, 2008 at 3:27 PM  

    I'm still laughing!

  9. Ginger // September 15, 2008 at 9:39 AM  

    Liz...too funny. This is why I don't own a cat. (Well, other than allergies but whatever...) I don't like anyone in the house to be smarter than I am. *vbg*


  10. Liz Jasper // September 15, 2008 at 12:59 PM  

    Ginger, the worry with cats is not that they are smarter than one, but that they are more devious. And that they spite pee on one's bathroom rug.

  11. Beth Trissel // September 16, 2008 at 4:10 PM  

    I loved this Liz. too funny and so typical of those crazy got to luv em anyway felines.