Relationship Status: It’s Complicated

 

That cat right there, the one peering into your very soul, that’s Jojo and Jojo is a jerk. I doubt you looked at that photo and decided otherwise, but I felt I had to make it really, really clear how much of an ass our cat is.

We decided our daughter was ready for a pet when she was six. One day, real close to Christmas, the three of us loaded into the car and went to the pet shop to look around. I’m not really a dog person, so puppies were not an option. I don’t understand the appeal of scaly things and, luckily, neither did my kid. I had a finch when I was a kid, but it died and every time I hear a tiny chirp I think of finding Bo’s tiny, lifeless body at the bottom of his cage and have the urge to make an appointment with a shrink. Birds were definitely out.

I was thinking we’d get our daughter a goldfish or a hamster, something that would probably be dead in a week or two, but whose body could be easily disposed of. I like to keep things simple. She thought otherwise and decided she wanted a cat.

The pet store had a cage filled to the brim with a mama cat and her itty, bitty brood. They were all free to a good home. Free! Hell yeah! Let’s do this! I wanted a male because somewhere along this twisty, turny road we call life I learned that boy cats were preferable to girl cats. I blame the patriarchy.

So, the pet store attendant hands us a teeny “boy” kitten and sends us on our way, immediately after we purchased hundreds of dollars worth of shit needed to care for it. Free cat, my ass. We named “him” Jojo, after Mojo Jojo from The Powerpuff Girls. The name turned out to be quite befitting.

It wasn’t until we brought Jojo in to be neutered that we learned he was actually a she, so we had her spayed and brought her home later that day and fawned over the adorable kitten doped up and unable to grasp the reality of life with a cone of shame around her neck. She almost died that night after somehow removing the cone and choking on the surgical glue she gnawed off her stitched up belly. She was trouble from the start.

Jojo was a very cute and precocious kitten. I can’t post any of her baby pictures here because Jojo is so old she predates smartphones. I’d have to go digging around for the actual printed photos. Then, I’d have to scan them into the computer, but I wouldn’t be able to do that because I’m technologically impaired. So, I’d have to ask my husband to do it and he would, he’s a real nice fella, but odds are it wouldn’t be so easy (because, duh, computers) and we’d end up fighting. Just take my word for it, she was cute.

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Here she’s old and cute, so kinda like this but smaller.

Jojo was always our daughter’s cat. They went together like peanut butter and jelly, until she went away to college. Our daughter, that is, not the cat. They were both understandably upset at being apart that first semester, but had a happy reunion when she came home.

As time went on, and she moved out of the dorms and into her own apartment, her visits home were smaller in number and her desire for a pet grew stronger. I would have happily taped Cranky Butt into a box and shipped her up there, but we all agreed Jojo was too old for college life. So, our kid adopted an absolutely adorable fuzzball and named her Bijou.

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May I present to you, dear readers, Bijou.

Jojo was a little out of sorts without our daughter at home. She took to hanging out with my husband a lot, but he grew tired of her randomly biting him. She was eventually ousted from his lap. Since our youngest is wisely nervous around Jojo, she had no other choice but to latch onto me. I was sick in bed for most of the past couple years, I made the perfect captive audience for Jojo. I guess we’re friends now. I’m afraid to question it.

Jojo is quite old, almost 15, and pretty set in her ways. As soon as the sun rises she’s scratching at my door, ready to step on my head and bellow in my ear. You’d think by her behavior she was warning me that the house was on fire, but that’s just her way of letting me know it’s time for me to get up and begin catering to her needs.

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Unfortunately, Snapchat is not one of her needs.

I’m a morning person, but I’m also lazy as hell, so this Jojo situation kinda works for me. She annoys me so much that I have to get out of bed early just to shut her up. It’s the kind of dysfunctional symbiosis everyone needs in their life.

We get up, I let her out on the porch and put out some fresh food and water for her. While I feed the fish and make my husband’s lunch, Jojo sniffs her food and comes into the kitchen to tell me that I picked the wrong flavor this morning. In all these years, I’ve yet to pick the right one.

jojo-eating-plant
Perhaps I could get cat food that is houseplant flavored. She seems to enjoy eating all of mine.

While I get ready in the morning she comes into the bathroom to drink out of the bowl on the counter, the only bowl in the entire house she will drink water from. It’s odd and often times inconvenient, but that’s Jojo for ya. When I’m sitting on the bed, reading the news or catching up on social media, she has to get some lap time. It matters not that there’s already a computer or a cup of tea there, she has to have it NOW.

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If I don’t give in, she gives me the guilt eyes. I get the guilt eyes a lot.

Jojo and I were not supposed to be a pair. Ours is relationship of circumstance. I can’t say I hate it, even as I’m cleaning her crap out of the litter box. When I was fighting hard to walk on my own again after my surgery, it was her complete disregard for my situation that kept me up and around. When I was sick in bed while on chemo I kinda looked forward to her forcing her way onto my lap. She’s pushy, she’s brash, she’s rude and inconsiderate and somehow she’s worked her way into my heart, but if you know anyone looking for a late model tabby with an attitude problem let me know. Just kidding! Sorta.

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21 thoughts on “Relationship Status: It’s Complicated

  1. What an adorable little psychopath and I’m happy she was there to subtly keep you on your feet through chemo. Cats are assholes and I absolutely love them. We have a cat flap in our rented apartment and the local feline community knows it’s locked but they also know I have Patsy and will visit just to sit in front of that see-through window and wait until she spots them and loses her freaking mind. She has made two enemies (although she didn’t do a thing) with a large ginger one and a sassy black youngster who I’m entirely sure plot her demise and wait for her at various spots on our walks.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love this story. Let me tell you about my Lizard, Bernie. Bernie was not, of course, my lizard. I never would have consented to a pet lizard. No, Bernie was a gift from my son’s father. I should have refused but they called from the pet store after the fact. I now realize I should have said “you can come home alone or you can live with your dad and your lizard-totally up to you”, but I’ve never been a quick thinker. One week into pet ownership, after the first feeding of live crickets, my son, then eight, decided he didn’t like lizards. For the next 9 months and 3 weeks of the 10 years Bernie lived, he and I bonded in our mutual misery as pet captive and pet keeper. I blogged about it. It’s called “Every F&8king Day with Bernie”. May he RIP.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Lovely story!! Hoping your special Jojo gets to be way past 20! I share kitty love with my Annie. Just did a post on her, in fact. Love cats! (Dogs too, but we don’t need to walk cats. 😉 )
    P.S. – had same thing happen with gender confusion. But in our case (this was a million years ago) it was, we thought, a female, that turned out to be a male. Surgery was cheaper. Yay!

    Liked by 1 person

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