Ivan the Terrible
Ivan is mad at me.
That’s never good.
On their most recent trip to the vet, I was
instructed to put them on a diet.
They’ve always been big cats, but now they’ve become decidedly
barrel-bellied and I can’t just chalk it up to fluffiness. They look like small bears.
So, armed with a bag of diet crunchies and
a strict prohibition against stinky food and free feeding, I returned home
resolved to turn them back into the svelte predators nature intended them to
We’ve been down this road before, and I’ve
always caved. This time I am determined
that things will be different.
They began their strict regime about a week
ago. Last Monday at 4 a.m., they woke
me, crying frantically with hunger.
Sure enough, their dish was empty.
Carefully, I measured out 2/3 of a cup and two pairs of anxious eyes
watched intently as the meagre portion clattered into their dish. I set it on the floor.
Annie dug right in -- she’ll eat anything
-- but Ivan gave the bowl a theatrical sniff and glared at me. He meowed piteously once or twice but I
stood firm and walked out of the kitchen.
Seconds later, I heard a cup crash to the
floor. When I raced back in, there sat
Ivan amidst the broken glass, clearly
unrepentant. He fixed me with a disdainful
stare, turned his back on me and ostentatiously began to bury his dish.
“Forget it, fatso. That’s all you’re getting.” Surely I could outwit a mere feline.
I made it out the door without further ado,
but that evening, I returned from work only to find that the toilet paper had
been shredded off the roll and was now spread abundantly throughout the
“You little bastard” I hissed when I found
him under the couch. “If you think this is going to make me change my mind,
you’ve got another thing coming.”
Insultingly, he yawned in my face and turned so his ample behind was
mere inches from my nose.
He ignored me for the rest of the
night. Sort of. He would come up to me and make sure I knew
he was there, before giving me a filthy look and elaborately pretended that I
Ivan can land in my lap like a load of
bricks, and when he’s not up to something, he does. That night, however, he leapt feather-light onto the bed and
slunk silently toward my feet, his body tense and low to the ground, silent as
I was instantly awake, the instinct for
self-preservation stronger than my need for sleep. Every nerve was jangling as I felt the delicate brush of his
whiskers against the half inch of big toe that protruded provocatively from
underneath the covers.
Carefully, he hooked his claw into the edge
of the duvet and drew it gently over my foot.
I wasn’t fooled -- he was just trying to make it more interesting for
“Ivan…….” I said warningly. He took no notice.
He paused, trying to lull me into believing
that he was just here to have a nap. He
even made a pretence of grooming himself, but I know this cat. He was just waiting for the right
He had all the time in the world.
I mulled over my options. As I was rather inconveniently lying on my
stomach, I couldn’t even flip over to face him. I’d be minus at least one toe and he’d be down the hall before I
could manage it.
I thought furiously, and decided to change
my tactics. Perhaps I could flatter him
into abandoning his vendetta.
“Who’s a good boy?” I cooed
placatingly. “Who’s a good pussycat?”
He fake-purred in response and stretched
nonchalantly to move himself into a better striking position, casually reaching
one paw under the covers so it just made contact with my toe. He flexed his claws imperceptibly, teasing
us both. Then, with a counterfeit sigh,
he lowered his head and pretended to go to sleep.
The tension in the air was unbearable. I tried to wait him out, but gradually, my
eyes grew heavy and sleep began to overtake me. I shifted to get into a more comfortable spot.
He struck suddenly as a cobra, sinking his
claws into the tender flesh of my toe and then ripping for all he was worth
before wrenching himself free and rocketing down the hall.
“You little shitrat!” I roared, jerking my
torn foot toward me (and leaving an interesting blood spatter pattern on the
wall). I hobbled from bed to give
There are limited places to hide in this
apartment, but Ivan seems to have found a way to slip between the walls. I’ve searched fruitlessly, for hours, and
still have failed to find him. Tonight,
I feared, would be no different.
I decided to stoop to dirty tricks.
I retrieved the last can of stinky food
from the cupboard, donned the oven mitts and primed the shower.
Then I tapped on the lid of the can, all
the while sweetly calling out his name.
“Ivan” I trilled. “Stinky food.”
I rattled his bowl promisingly.
But the damn cat wasn’t falling for
it. I could just picture him, rolling
his eyes and thinking “Whatever, bitch.”
Annie, who was not in on the plan, was
doing frantic figure eights around my feet at the thought of her beloved stinky
food. I even gave her a bit.
Still, no sign of Ivan, even when I made loud yummy sounds.
Obviously, I’d underestimated my feline
adversary once again. The plan was, of
course, to snag him and douse him in the shower, and I’m sure he knew what he
was in for. This cat should have been a
member of the Resistance, for none of my blandishments could produce him. He could teach them a thing or two about
guerilla warfare too.
After about an hour of this, I tended to my
lacerated foot and took myself off to bed, careful to tuck the covers snugly
into the mattress.
So the first foray went to Ivan, but I’m
determined to win the war. The next
morning, the stockings I’d hand washed and left to dry hung in tatters on the
bathroom floor and someone had taken a crap in my new shoes.
I’m beginning to wonder if turning Ivan
into a more efficient predator is really a wise idea, but the vet insists and I
am rather fond of the little bastard -- so I’m sticking to my guns.
But something tells me I’m in for a siege.
Till next time,