Saturday, July 3, 2010

My Cat Doesn't Know Her Name

She could not be less interested in me, or this photoshoot.

My cat has no idea what her name is. This could be due to several reasons, including a) I never call her the same thing twice and b) her mother rejected her at birth, resulting in irreparable damage to her mental state. It’s sad but true.

Her name is Charlotte. I picked that name because when she was a kitten, she was so very, very black all over that we could not tell in any way whatsoever if she was a boy or a girl.

The vet wasn’t sure either.

I went with Charlotte because I figured if she turned out to be a boy, we could just switch to Charlie and she’d (he’d?) never know the difference. Little did I know that I wasted precious minutes worrying about that fact, as two years have passed and she is no closer to knowing her name.

I call her whatever happens to come to my mind at the time, including but not limited to Char, Char-Char, Scooter, Scooter-bug, Scooty, Scoot (don’t ask me where all these Scoot-related named come from, because I have no idea), and Baby Girl. This probably does not help with her identity disorder.

Also, her own mother rejected her. Her mother was a young, unprepared, unfriendly cat of 6 months of age, who also had a name/identity problem (being that she was a girl named Otis.) Otis belonged to my sister. It was verified that Otis was a girl when she gave birth in the basement. (We obviously have serious issues with determining cat gender in this family). From the start, Otis was opposed to motherhood. She swatted her kittens away when they tried to nurse, she hissed at them, and she sometimes hid from them. She even resorted to attempted murder. Once, Otis was discovered to be sitting on top of Charlotte, squishing her head. It’s my belief that this early rejection affected her profoundly and resulted in her terrible collection of behaviors including scratching the door frames, batting and the feet of innocent passers-by, and frequently running in terror from nothing at all.

Since Charlotte has no idea what her name is and does not come when called, and since she is prone to flying from rooms in a panic for no apparent reason, it is sometimes difficult to put her up at night. However, I have discovered a trick that has NEVER failed me yet. One day I noticed that when my cell phone started ringing, Charlotte seemed almost magnetically drawn to its rather irritating ringtone. She sniffed it. She walked around it. She rubbed it with her head. I forgot to answer the phone because of her bizarre attraction to it.

Now, when she flees from the room before I can lock her in for the night, I just turn out the light…. And sit in the dark... And play the ringtone on my cell phone. It’s an annoying tune that sounds like its being played on an electric guitar.

And without fail, Charlotte will sneak into the room in search of this magical sound. “What could it be?? It sounds so heavenly!! Surely this time I’ll figure out the meaning of it all!” I’m sure that’s what she’s thinking.

Until I fly from the room. And slam the door.

And then I’m sure she thinks, “Dang it.”

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