Kit and Caboodle

Well, this was all I needed — a Cat One moving in.

Now, I ain’t talking ‘bout the weather. This Cat One is a cat. One cat. At first.

I got to explain.

My gentleman friend Lust is manly enough, being the owner of The Sloth Lounge, the kind of bar that don’t stick little umbrellas in your drink, but where everybody knows your name and your business and how much you can hold before you do something stupid. (And which, being in the French Quarter, has been doing zilch business during the pandemic.)

But Lust got a soft spot for cats.

I live behind the Sloth, in a nice apartment across the courtyard, with my youngest daughter Gladiola, and Lust lives up above the bar, and we visit a lot, and maybe we’ll get married before the end of the world, if that don’t happen too soon.

Anyway, a couple months ago, Lust opened the Sloth front door for some air, and this cat strolled in and hopped up on a bar stool like she was waiting to be served. Lust went behind the bar and found a dusty can of pet milk, and poured her a shot, which she licked up, very dainty, with one paw on the bar.

So, she became the new bar cat. (Lust usually keeps a bar cat, but he was between cats at the moment.) And since we were watching one of them tropical storms, Lust named her Cat One, since we were hoping that’s all it would amount to.

Well, Cat One had a secret, which we didn’t find out about until she holed up for a long time under the stairs one day. Then she presented us with Cat Two, Cat Three, Cat Four, Cat Five, and little Invest, the runt of the litter.

Because the bar was closed, Cat One took her brood and moved in with me and Gladiola.

I have to admit, them kittens made the pandemic lively.

With kittens around, every time you open a door to go outside, you first do the cat dance, stomping your feet around to scatter the kittens so they won’t dash out with you.

And if you’re dumb enough to put the cat litter box in your own bathroom, you can forget about solitude in there. Every time I sit, Cat One escorts her little ones to the litter box for a lesson in what to do in there. Every time.

Naturally, we have been ordering a lot from Amazon, and everything comes in boxes, and cats love to sit in boxes and stare. So, we got boxes around, each with its own sitting, staring cat, until the place looks like a cat-wrapping factory.

The vet says kittens got to stay 12 weeks with their mama, at which point she will get sick of them, so we figure they’ll be moving out by Christmas. My friend Awlette, my sister-in-law Larva, and my older daughter Gumdrop each want a Christmas kitty. That will take care of Cats Two, Three, and Four. Cat One will take over the bar cat position, and little Invest will wind up with me and Gladiola. That leaves us Cat Five.

He’s the one always stuck halfway up a curtain, squalling.

If you leave a cup of anything on the coffee table—he’s the one who hops up there and knocks it off with his little paw. When it crashes down, he skitters away hysterically, and when the sky don’t actually fall, he sits and licks his back leg, like: “Crash? What crash?”

One day he prances across my computer keyboard while I am on a Zoom call with Gladiola’s teachers at Celibacy Academy. And he somehow unmutes my sound so everybody gets an earful of bad words I am yelling at him.

Would you believe, that Zoom meeting found him a home. Seems they got a mouse problem at the retired nuns’ home. And they need an “aggressive cat” to solve it.

So, come Christmas, he’ll join the convent.

They’ll call him, “Cattus Quinque,” which means “Cat Five” in Latin. (Some nuns still love Latin.)

His mama, the bar cat, will be proud.

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