Saturday, October 27, 2007

Armchair Wars

Recently in our household, a battle has begun. Nathaniel, (the husband) versus Tabbitha (the cat). I myself, don't really understand the nature of the fight. And I think that it's more funny, nay hilarious, than anything else. You see, both of them - and remember one is a cat, which the other claims has "limited intelligence" - prefer our ugly green arm chair. It's ugly. It's green. It's not the most comfortable pieces of furniture, and everything being said, I think we would do much better with a comfy, cushy, non-itchy recliner. But in this case, it's 2 against 1. Nate and the Cat, versus me. So I sit back, bemused by what transpires.

Let me explain, first, that Tabbitha is a rescue kitty. She was abused as a kitten, discarded at a Wisconsin animal shelter in a snowstorm in a paper bag!, by people who didn't love her or take care of her. The vet and animal tech that found her cleaned her up, gave her a good home, and then advertised across the University of Minnesota campus email that a cute, gray little kitty wanted a home. This was right around the time that Nathaniel left for The Basic School in Quantico, VA. I was staying in Wisconsin, planning on finishing my thesis and undergrad degree, and figured that I could give this little kitty a good home. So this seredipitious event worked out and Tabbitha and I quickly bonded. Because Nathaniel was in Quantico, he really didn't get to form the same kind of bond with her that I did. But they still love each other, even if he gets attacked with more frequency that I do (which is rarely - for me, that is).

Right off the bat, Tabbitha was a lovable, cute, playful, if not slightly aggressive cat. I figured that her attacking strangers was just a "phase" and would wear off soon. Well, it hasn't. I can't tell you how many times I've had to apologize to house guests because Tabbitha has cornered them and is going for their ankles. Little kids, big kids, big people, dogs, anything that moves, she'll brace herself, ready to attack. And the worst part of this, is that she especially likes to go after Nathaniel. She's figured out "choke points" (as Nate calls them), in every house/apartment that we've lived in, and is able to attack or lash out at people's legs as they are forced to pass her (because it's the only way). I tell you, this cat is NOT normal. But we still love her, in spite of all her eccentricities. And she has her moments where she's really cute, lovable, and likes to curl up and fall asleep. Unfortunately, these moments never occur in the company of other people, so our friends and family don't really believe that she's not as vicious as she appears. (Now when we have people over, Tabbitha gets to take control of the bedroom and spend some quality alone time. Not for her sake, but for our friends. We want them to want to return).

Back to the armchair. Did I mention it's green? Ugly? Itchy? I don't know why they've both formed attachments with the chair, but they have. And for some reason, they just can't share. It's either Nathaniel OR Tabbitha. I refuse to get involved. Instead I watch, concerned for the safety of Nathaniel (the cat scratches), and concerned because Tabbitha is a "mere" 18.2 pounds, at last count. Nathaniel would never hurt her, but he loves that chair. And he's willing to put up with a few scratches to get it. Case in point:
In this photo, Nathaniel tried to pick Tabbitha up, place her on his lap and "share" the chair. She, obviously would have none of it, and lashed out accordingly. Let's face it, there are times when even the best of us have a difficult time controlling our rage. Tabbitha has no control. She just lets everyone know that she's unhappy. In these moments of cat-rage, poor Nathaniel is besides himself. All he wants is this little (okay, ginormous) kitty to love him. He feeds her, he lovingly calls her "bozo", and makes off the wall suggestions such as "shaving her", just to hide the fact that he loves this cat. So when Tabbitha wriggles in his arms, twists her body and lashes out, Nathaniel isn't the happiest of campers.

And everything has now come to a head with the aforementioned arm chair.

I swear these two deserve each other.

This morning, Nathaniel and I woke up around 6:30 am. He was looking forward to a luxurious morning of no studying and no martial arts training, while I was trying to forget about my final long brick workout before Clearwater. He asked if I was interested in coffee - silly question! So he got up, make coffee, and the last thing I remember was hearing the sounds of beans being ground.

2 hours later, I emerged from my slumber, groggy, but ready for the first cup of Joe. I guess when it's "cold" outside, I don't really mind putting off a workout. And the weather really WAS beautiful, albeit very windy. But I knew the workout needed to be done, wind or not, time wasted or not... I figured that if I left by 10, things would be all right. And in the meantime, I could enjoy a big bowl of oatmeal, a grapefruit, and a few cups of coffee. And to top everything off, I had some great entertainment.

While online looking around at the news and other blogs, Nathaniel and Tabbitha respectively took over the ugly green armchair a total of 3 times. The first, Nathaniel got up to refill his coffee. Tabbitha, seizing on the opportunity, made a quick dash to the chair, settled in and got her big cat butt comfortable. Nate got back, full cup of coffee in hand, and stared down at the cat, who had stolen his chair. I hid my grin behind the computer, and pretended to be oblivious.

Tabbitha was hastily pushed aside (she only attacked his ankles twice the first time), and Nathaniel got resettled, while Tabbitha planned her next move. I could see her thinking, watching his every move, and biding her time.

About 15 minutes later, nature called (all the coffee), and Nathaniel excused himself, quickly grabbing his half empty cup and current read, and headed for the bathroom. Before he left, he told Tabbitha, "Don't even think about it. It's MY chair."

I smiled behind the computer screen, pretending to be engrossed in my reading.

Tabbitha followed Nathaniel's every move into the bathroom. As soon as the door was shut and she was sure the timing was right, she bolted over to the chair and settled in. Again. I inwardly grinned, trying to hold my laughter back, let it be a giveaway to Nathaniel. I'll admit, I was a little curious about his next reaction. A few minutes later he returned.

He stopped, dead in his tracks, and looked at the cat. The cat looked back, as if to say, "Dude. You got up and left. My turn."

Nathaniel didn't see it that way. For the second time, he removed the cat from the chair. This time she got a few swipes at his arms, and again at the legs (for good measure.) But Nathaniel was unwilling to give up his beloved chair. And Tabbitha was bound and determined to protect what she thought was rightfully hers.

I waited. I watched. I tried not to grin.

"What?" Nathaniel asked, slightly annoyed.

"Nothing. Nothing at all. I just think you two are cute, that's all."

I didn't get a reply, instead a dark look from Nathaniel, and an innocent stare from Tabbitha.

20 minutes later, Nature called again. Poor Nathaniel. He loves coffee, but his body won't always keep up with his consumption. So out of the chair he went.

Tabbitha's ears perked up. She stopped cleaning herself, one leg mid-air, and glanced over at me. It was as if she was thinking "What do you think? Should I do it again? He's not there! I want that chair!" She stopped cleaning all together and listened. The bathroom door clicked shut. Her eyes travelled between the hallway where the bathroom was situated, to the chair, and then onto me! I looked away, not wanting any part in this battle. She continued to look, watch, listen. But she didn't move. I could feel her eyes on me, waiting. All it would take would be a slight nod from me, and I knew she would immediately fling herself into the chair. One jerk of my head, and she would become one with the chair.

I sighed in exasperation. Oh, what the heck? It'll be fun to see Nate's reaction. Again. I quietly and gently patted the chair, and before I could remove my hand, Tabbitha had jumped up, made a few cat-like circles to settle herself in, and promptly pretended to fall asleep. Oh boy, this cat was smart. And had nerves of steel. But then, what do you expect from an animal that plots choke points across the house and attacks people at will?

The toilet flushed. Nathaniel emerged and first headed to the kitchen. An empty bladder meant more room for coffee. I heard the coffee pouring, and hid behind the computer screen. I was afraid that he could tell I was up to no good by the blush in my cheeks. Also, because I have a tendency to laugh uncontrollably at the most inappropriate of moments. I didn't want to be the giveaway, especially with something so potentially funny.

It was Nathaniel vs Tabbitha for the Ugly Green Armchair. Round 3. Bing Bing!

Nathaniel walked into the living room, and paused mid-walk. A look of amusement, bewilderment and exasperation crossed his face. All he wanted to do was sit in his bloody chair and enjoy his 3rd morning cup of coffee. And this blasted cat kept interrupting his morning. He looked at me. He looked at the cat. The cat looked back, and then looked at me. And then Nathaniel looked at me. Bloody hell - just bit your lip and don't laugh!

They figured me out. Now I was the one who had to remove the cat from the chair. This time, thankfully, she didn't attack. But I had to entice her with an extra treat as a distraction. Hey - whatever it takes. But I suppose that's why she's an 18.2 pound monster, er, cat.

And Nathaniel and Tabbitha really are good friends. They just need the right spot to share. Like this one.

And maybe while they're distracted, I can figure something to do with the ugly green chair. You never know.

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