Sunday, January 25, 2009

Oliver Baggins Pants

On May 6th, 2007, Mr. Husband surprised me during the Birthannukah closing ceremony with a trip to the new Greater Birmingham Humane Society. There, we picked out my new kitty. There was only one kitten available, and Mr. Husband said it was a good omen that the only kitten that day looked very similar to Oliver, Mr. Husband’s cat that waited for us at home. There were several reasons that led us to take that May morning trip in 2007, primarily that Oliver Pants, our current cat, had become so lonely that he walked around the apartment at night moaning, howling, and crying for something more to be added to his life. Mr. Pants, or The Senator, as we refer to him in common speech, wanted all of our time to be spent looking at him, petting him, and shaking a cat teaser around the living room for his sole entertainment. He had become high maintenance. He needed something more in his life. Clearly, we were not enough.

When I met Mr. Husband, I was thrilled that he had a cat. T-H-R-I-L-L-E-D. Almost all the men I had dated or been out on a date with in the five years prior to meeting Mr. Husband were allergic to cats. They all despised cats and didn’t understand why any logical thinking human being would want a cat. I believe that all of those men are certainly still single. Ignorant, sniffling, cat-hating morons. It should be noted that these men also were not dog people. They were not people-people either. Not fit for long-term canoodling, but I digress. Suffice it to say that meeting Mr. Husband
who had a cat at home hiding under his bed was a breath of fresh air. Years ago, I developed a scale of needs for finding the optimal husband. You need a scale to keep you on track and root out the super-fun-crazy-wild-for-the-moment men who are not husband-worthy. Among six necessary traits, “must like cats” was one of the essential criterions. On our second first date, Mr. Husband told me the story about Oliver Baggins Pants and I was overwhelmed with his kind compassion. The good man radar was off the charts that night. I think I let him hold my hand.

Oliver, it seems, was part of a rogue traveling cat band that lived or, more likely, ran in Mr. Husband’s apartment complex in Nashville. He began feeding the long-haired black cat that looked at him with pleading trust in his eyes. Feeding led to a night
inside one evening. A night inside one evening led to … well, I’ll let you imagine what that led to. Soon, the two bachelors who needed very little from the world besides Hamburger Helper and tuna became a household of man and cat and no one else. They were happy. Mr. Husband left the window open for Oliver, his little orphan, when he went to work and Oliver waited patiently for Mr. Husband’s return from work each evening. The two of them spent their entire evenings and weekends curled up together watching Star Trek (I’m sure of it) and talking in cat-to-man language about their hopes and dreams.

A year after this cat-fills-man’s-empty-life arrangement, Mr. Husband hears a knock on the door. Expecting Mormons or some kid selling cookies, Mr. Husband opens the door to see his downstairs neighbor standing there trying desperately to look into his apartment. She asks, “Is that cat in the window your cat?” Mr. Husband’s heart retreats quickly to his feet and he begins to panic. It turns out, the cat in the window, our Oliver Baggins Pants, is actually named “Stash” and was part of the girl-downstairs-neighbor’s group of wild wandering cats. She quickly explained that she didn’t want him back, but only wanted to know that he was ok. She was glad “Stash” had found a home. Good thing, too. I suspect that Mr. Husband would have taken the girl-downstairs-neighbor to court over the paternity and right to parent our dear Oliver. It didn’t come to that, and Mr. Husband and Oliver moved to Birmingham in 2005, looking for me.

Upon moving in with Mr. Husband during our third month of dating (we were on the dating fast track), I learned to make The Senator my own.
I built him many different structures out of boxes and tissue paper, calling the creations part of Bear City. I devoted all my Saturday and Sunday mornings to entertaining The Senator lest I be evicted from Bear City. Oliver became my cat, too, but he never snuggled with me. Mr. Husband often explained that I was the loudest
thing Oliver ever met. Oliver is a scaredy-cat and he runs from me to this day. I must be something of an ogre in his eyes. Despite my killing-myself-to-make-him-love-me attempts, Oliver remained steadfast and stuck like glue to Mr. Husband. I was alone on my side of the bed. I keep myself warm at night with the knowledge that Oliver turns to me when he needs to be fed, have his poop scooped or if he gets a bag stuck on his head. I am the queen of bag and poop removal.

Mr. Husband and The Senator devised a plan to cure my side-of-the-bed loneliness. Enter, Bonita Banana …


countrypeapie said...

Surely any reasonable court of law would not grant custody of a cat to the girl who named it Stash.

We are feeling compelled to get our rabbit a friend, but we don't want a surprise batch of Easter bunnies, and we haven't yet determined Thumper's gender. Guess I need to Wikipedia that....

facingthetrend said...

So, this is like my favorite blog entry EVER. Mostly because it deals with kitties. And has pictures of kitties. With cute captions. At first I was afraid that The Senator had passed away and that this was a memorial post, and I was horrified. Thank God I was wrong. I agree with you about men who love cats. Really, I don't think I could ever be with a man who didn't love cats. HUZZAH to Oliver! HUZZAH to Bonita Banana!