The Chronicles of Mingo

Mingo: Corrupting Older Cats Since 2017

I haven’t posted much about my two other cats so far. This is The Chronicles of Mingo after all, not the Chronicles of Mary’s Cats.

However, as Dumbledore would say, ‘Recent events must be taken into account.’

Ming’s overwhelming thrust to go outside has inspired my sixteen-year-old black cat to do the same. Mingo went out and Squeaky followed him like the little sycophant he is. Never mind that Mingo is barely 9 months old. He’s a leader and Squeaky is a doormat.  Squeaky has always been a talker, but he’s previously confined it to general remarks upon entering a room, leaving a room, walking around aimlessly in a room, and howling at the top of his lungs when it’s time for his pill. I can’t explain this last bit; I’m merely reporting. Now he howls to go out, and once he is out, howls and howls in general. I let him in; he howls at the door to go out again. Luckily my closest neighbor has this obnoxious barking dog so he can’t complain, or if he does complain I can laugh at him. Besides the howling cat there’s me shrieking SHUT UP! at the top of my lungs. And grabbing the water pistol. It’s a thrill a minute around here.

To say that Squeaky is chicken-hearted is a libel on chickens, who I am sure are very brave. For the first thirteen years of his life he was effectively invisible to everyone except Bob and me. Other people were clearly Cat Murderers. Now, with contractors and friends in and out of the house, Squeaky has accepted that some strangers, a selected few, may not be real Cat Murderers. Perhaps. And even more strange, he’s sitting in my lap for brief periods. I do feel sad that my husband isn’t around to see this, because he spent years coaxing this cat to sit in his lap. Squeaky made it plain that laps were full of Cat Mincers and he was having none of it.

We put him outside once. Our previous cats had all gone outside as a matter of course, but Squeaky panicked. He literally beat on the door with his fists to get back inside and hid in the closet for hours. So we let him be an inside cat and he was perfectly happy. He wouldn’t even peek outside the door. But whatever Ming said to him (probably something like “Dude! You gotta go outside!”) has changed his personality completely. Now I have to figure out a way to have Mingo tell him to shut up.

Rainy, my soon-to-be eighteen year old Siamese has always gone out in a civilized and sedate manner: 15 minutes on the deck, a fast patrol of the garage, a brief trip under the deck for biological reasons, and she’s ready to come in and nap. Mingo hasn’t changed that at all, although she was a bit pissed off the first few times she encountered him out there. (“Is nothing sacred around here?”) No, the behavior mod from Rainy is different. She was on my lap, I was petting her. The tv was on and I stopped petting her.

She bit me.

I pill Rainy twice a day. I stick a needle in her three time a week. I cut her nails. She doesn’t care for any of these things but over the years she’s never bitten me. She mutters under her breath, she yowls that Siamese tone of Very Annoyed, but bite? Nope.

She didn’t break the skin; it was more like “Hey! Pay attention to me!” I have become extremely familiar with this sort of bite, because Guess Who does it all the time. And I suppose he’s done it to her, so she did it to me.

Thanks, Ming. Thanks a bunch.

Mary Holland

Mary Holland writes alternative-world fantasy for grown-ups. Her books include Matcher Rules, The Bone Road, and The Dog of Pel. She lives in the Santa Cruz Mountains with three cats and an ever-changing assortment of wildlife.

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