despite my mom’s reminders that she comes from california horse lot property, i opted to take after my dad. i wasn’t born with an unwaivering love for animals like my sisters. in fact, growing up tanner, i’m not sure how they grew to love little furry animals so much considering my dad’s deadly allergy to cats. (deadly is the word of the week, try to use deadly whenever possible, it makes a great over the top adjective for anything… see christian’s post).
my dad’s allergy meant that no cats were allowed. they weren’t allowed in our house, they weren’t allowed in our yard, they weren’t even allowed near or on us. if we so much as looked at a feline, let alone fraternized with one, we were reduced to highly un-parent like tactics. first, we could not enter the house in our kitty soiled clothing. we had to shed our offensive outer articles of clothing. we would then bee-line to the shower where we were more civilizedly hosed down.
once we were dressed in sterile clothing, then, and only then, could we be near my dad.
he likes to tell this story about when he was on his mission in japan. they were teaching a woman and my dad immediately started having a very severe allergy attack. he politely asked if there was a cat. there had been a cat, many years deceased. now you understand a little bit of why we underwent such a rigid de-cating upon entering our house.
needless to say we also picked up a few other cat-loathing activities… there were water guns and buckets of water aimed at unsuspecting cats. we hissed at them. on one occasion even my dr. doolittle mom lobbed a very ripe and juicy grapefruit at an orange kitty that lived next door. now this orange kitty wasn’t of the adorable kind. it was a bad kitty that chose our front door as its target practice. the side effects were a little embarrassing.
the orange kitty belonged to the fig lady. she was an older woman who lived across the street and had many fig trees. my brothers and dad would pick the figs for her. after they did this boy scout duty, she would insist they eat the figs and take home some of the spoils. they hated figs. every now and then we’d shop for fig lady. as a teenager in a family that did not consume alcohol, it was always an adventure to walk down the liquor aisle to check one more thing off of fig lady’s grocery list.
needless to say, after the grapefruit incident rendered the orange kitty a little incompetent, we were shocked when the fig lady knocked on our door a few days later. “have you seen my orange kitty?” a simple question. all of us peeked out from behind our mom. we stared at her, wondering what she would say. we had seen the kitty get knocked in the head with a grapefruit and then hobble into oncoming traffic… after that he sort of sauntered down the street, never to be seen again. now let me interject something, this isn’t one of those heart warming stories where i shed a tear and pay homage to my unwaivering mother who always told the truth. my mom lied. she flat out lied! and who wouldn’t to the fig lady! i mean, we never expected a grapefruit to be the end of the little orange kitty, but we did enjoy our cat pee-free front door from then on.
but i digress. a few weeks ago as i was driving home my headlights flashed on three larger than cat type animals in front of my apartment building. they were hanging out right in the middle of 25th avenue with no intentions of moving… i pulled forward slowly and only when i parked my car did they take refuge in the bushes right next to my building. these were almost like r.o.u.s. their eyes followed me as i walked to the door. they were raccoons. three very big raccoons. i fumbled with my keys and they seemed to eek towards me. i turned and hissed my loudest and scariest hiss. they weren’t phased! luckily i slipped in my door to safety.
hissing doesn’t seem to work on raccoons… but it still works on cats!