Little Lulu

Melissa Stagnaro

Not quite a year has passed since I wrote about the kitten I rescued after it had been abandoned so cruelly and heartlessly by the feral feline that had the audacity to refer to itself as her mother.

Despite our original intention to find a home (other than our own) for the poor kitty, over the last 11 1/2 months, the cute little torty has succeeded in insinuated herself firmly into the Stagnaro household, not to mention each of our hearts.

If confronted with a similar situation, I would no doubt do the same all over again. But I’d be lying if I said there haven’t been times that I have questioned that decision. She is, quite frankly, nothing short of a holy horror.

Part of her problem, I think, is that it took us nearly six months to arrive at an appropriate name for her. After being known briefly as Mabel, Ratatouille (which may have stuck if my mother hadn’t insisted on shortening it to ‘Rat’), Kit-Kat, Lucky, Cupboard (by which she is still referred by several Evening Sun staff members) and a host of others, I made a unilateral decision to call her Lulu.

My father refuses to bend to my will. He refers to her simply as “Cat,” or “that Cat.” When she gets that demonic look in her eye, and attacks the house plants, she is “that #@&* Cat.”

Even at the best of times, it seems as though Lulu has something of a species identity crisis. She doesn’t meow, she chirps. She carries things around in her mouth like a dog (even though, to the best of my knowledge, she’s never encountered one.) By the amount of noise she makes as she tromps up and down the stairs, you might think she was an elephant. Just last night she struck out to bite my ankle in a way which would have made any mother rattlesnake proud. And the way she jumps up in the air reminds me of those pictures of sturgeon, salmon and trout jumping out of the water for no apparent reason.

Like everyone else in our household, she’s a picky eater. Only dry cat food for her, no people food. The only exception being Chobani yogurt, which she goes crazy for as soon as she sees the container. Her taste is pretty consistent with mine, actually. She likes the blueberry, strawberry and peach, but won’t touch the honey or the plain.

In an effort to distract her from using the leather sofa as her scratching post, my mother bought her one of those cardboard cat scratchy things. Lulu wasn’t amused at first, but once my mom sprinkled on a touch of catnip, she couldn’t resist.

Now, doped up on kitty crack (as I like to call it), Lu spends an awful lot of time racing through the house like a mad woman. It’s actually quite entertaining to watch her clear furniture with a single bound, slide across the hardwood floor and then dash up the stairs.

It’s almost like she’s in training for something. I’m just not sure what.

Lulu is also obsessed with systematically dismantling my wicker hamper, absconding with hair ties and wreaking havoc with the aforementioned house plants.

I’m not sure if she has a particular vendetta against all lighting fixtures or just that she has an unusually strong tail, but she’s been implicated in not one, but two, lamp fatalities of late.

It will come as no surprise, I’m sure, to learn that when she’s not all hyped up on kitty crack, she spends hours sprawled out on whatever window sill, piece of furniture or throw rug is handy, sleeping it off.

She likes a little love now and then, but strictly on her terms. Heaven forbid you try to give her more than a cursory pat on the head if she hasn’t come to you.

When she actually does condescend to come looking for a cuddle, you better be ready to give her all the lovin’ she wants.

And it’s those moments, when she’s nosing her way under my hand or snuggling down under my chin, when she steals my heart all over again.