Let me preface the following by saying, I like cats. Love them, in fact. I have been owned by four of them in my life, and my friend’s cats occasionally condescend to borrow me. Anyone who has had a cat in their life in any way knows that we do not own them; we are their care-takers, our reward the softness of them circling our feet, the gentle purr when we’ve pleased them, their tolerance of we lesser beings, because we have only one thing they lack: opposable thumbs.
But I have recently looked into the eyes of Evil, and they are feline.
This is Psycho-Kitty, as Paul calls him. I call him Evil, which is sad because he appears to like me but then, Trouble has always had a way of finding me.
Do not be deceived by his slight stature, soft, sleek coat or luminous clear green eyes. Evil is, as wise men through the ages have written, oft-times banal, as common and everyday as a small gray and white tabby cat.
Evil was found as a tiny kitten, next to a dumpster by Paul’s youngest son the night his late wife and said son’s mother, died. There was no question whether or not Sean could keep the kitten. Of course he was keeping the kitten.
As Paul tells it, Evil has had Issues from the first (as, I suppose, one imagines Evil does).
Evil’s disposition has not improved over the years.
Enter me and my Australian Shepherd/Rottweiler mix, Tasha.
Perhaps it is her innately good nature. Tasha, who does not know a stranger, tried to make friends with Evil the first time they met, gently wagging, sniffing and smiling up at the table edge to say “hello.” Perhaps intuiting an incorruptible soul, Evil arched his back and spat, hissing like holy water on a vampire. But Evil, as we know, never rests. Evil is stalking Tasha.
Evil usually perches over his bowl of kibble on Paul’s kitchen table but when Tasha passes, Evil takes note and slithering to the edge, strikes out with claws, hissing and spitting.
Evil leaves Paul’s ancient, dignified black-lab mix, Lucy, alone. I asked her today if she’s made a deal with the devil, but she merely smiled, sphinx-like, and limped off to the food bowl.
If I wander out into the back yard, dogs following, Evil slinks around the corner waiting to pounce upon Tasha with sharp teeth and claws. I’ve taken to carrying the old broom with me, defending my 55-lbs of whimpering, cowering dog from 8-lbs of pure Evil.
I begin to suspect, however, that Tasha may not be the innocent, pure soul I thought. It begins to look like Tasha is reaching her threshold of pain. There have been skirmishes, and occasions in the backyard with Tasha hesitantly, but purposefully, stalking Evil.
Armed with the old broom, I watch and wonder. Do I stop Tasha’s pursuit of Evil, fearing that she might become totally corrupted? Or do I let her strike back hoping that, like Luke Skywalker, she can touch the Dark Side to feel her own power, but turn from it before it consumes her? A dilemma, it is, and no Yoda am I.