The Chronicles of Mingo

Rosemary’s Kitten

Really, it’s like trying to raise Rosemary’s Baby. We’ve been asking ourselves the wrong question. It’s not “How did the itty bitty kitten survive until rescued?” It should be “Why, after he manifested — I hesitate to say ‘born’ — isn’t that corner of Boulder Creek a smoking ruin?”

He’s just under six months old and weighs, near as I can tell, about 9 lbs. (No, I’m not going to get on the scale with him and subtract my weight, are you crazy?) One of the kitchen chairs, solid wood, is shoved every day from the center line of the table to the corner: Ming hits it at top speed and moves it closer to the window. I move it, he moves it back.

Last night he gnawed through two layers of plastic and paper to dig into the adult cats’ dry food. (I thought it was suspiciously quiet and peaceful out there. I should have known.) The exact same food was in a bowl four feet away. He won’t eat it. I’ve hidden all the dry cat food and treats in the oven until I can get a lockable plastic container.

Biting: Oy, the biting. It’s not a case of will he, it’s a case of when. Unlike most cats he doesn’t lick people; he gently lips your face until he finds a good spot and then he sinks in the fangs. Normally a thumb applied in the corner of a cat’s mouth will make them release. Do I have to say Mingo bites harder? I didn’t think so.

Did you know that catnip mice do very well in a clothes dryer? They have to, since they spend the rest of their time in the water bowls. Ming has his own bubbler and thank god I put in tile floors and have a good supply of shop towels. True, the kitchen floor has never been cleaner. I had hoped the bubbler would decrease the amount of time he spends in the bathroom sink. A vain hope.

The other cats (see, we told you he was the Anti-Christ) are attempting to live around him, aside from frequent episodes of either combat or play, take your pick. This morning I heard this horrible scrabbling sound, with wailing, from Squeaky. He tried to jump up on the coffee table but Ming had his forelegs wrapped around Squeaky’s hindquarters and was pulling him backwards. The scrabbling was Squeaky’s nails trying for purchase on the top of the coffee table. Which used to be a nice piece of furniture, dammit.

I have three heated cat beds, I’ve had them forever. One is a double and Rainy slept there for years in lonely Siamese splendor. About a month ago she moved to one of the smaller beds, which was sad. Guess whose bed this is now? It’s a cat decision and I won’t intervene unless he tries to claim all three beds. I’m not sure what I would do but I’ll do something. I’m hoping that once Ming claws his way to the top of the pecking order, which is inevitable, a certain peace will descend.

I thought I’d adopted Orphan Annie. What I seem to have is Rasputin. Anyone know a good exorcist?

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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