Crazy for Cats

Barbara Bradlyn Morris

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Book Summary

Genre - Science Fiction

Max, The Mad Balcony Cat

My love affair with cats began, ironically, with a cantankerous Siamese who hated me at first sight. I met him 37 years ago in Germany when my husband, Ward, came home one day with an arm-load of mean-eyed, tough-talkiní cat who took one look at me and glared a warning not to come one inch closer. I suspect that he sensed that I didnít know anything about cats--and didnít especially care for them.

We were in the bleak seaport of Bremerhaven because Ward, a Navy Lieutenant, had been ordered there a month after our marriage. Our government housing--grim rows of concrete apartment buildings--squatted on a tract of barren land. Each of the apartments was faced with a small, iron-barred balcony, and thatís where I suddenly recalled seeing this cat--on the balcony of a building across the street. I had noticed him because he seemed to be there all the time, a lonely figure, even in the dreariest weather.

"Isnít this the balcony cat ?" I asked. "Whatís he doing here?"

"Heís ours for a week!" Ward announced. "The Prestons are going to Munich so I offered to cat-sit," he explained. "I thought it would be a good way to introduce you to Siamese cats. Theyíre really different. Great personalities. Talkative. Kind of dog-like. Youíll love this cat. Youíll see."

Good grief, was my husband a cat person? Did he intend to get a Siamese of our own? I did not recall this being in our marriage vows.

Ward put the cat down and patted his rear end. The animal smiled up with a look of adoration worthy of the shepherds and wise men. Then, as if to say, I havenít forgotten you, lady, he flashed me a sullen glance.

"Take him back, please," I begged. "I donít care about cats."

"Too late. The Prestons left this morning." Wardís grin was sly. Too sly, I thought.

By now, the cat was sensuously winding and rewinding his body around Wardís legs while tossing challenging looks at me. I have since learned that with those caressing motions he was marking Ward with his scent. At that moment my husband became that catís property! Clearly sensing my defeat, with another loving glance at Ward, the big cat swaggered to the sofa, sprawled languorously, yawned, and went to sleep.

Ward beamed.

In the morning, Ward went off to work, leaving the cat (named Max) and me to forge a relationship. We turned to one another, and I swear that his eyes were glowing with ill will. I wouldnít have been surprised if heíd snarled Itís no good screaming, lady. No one can hear you....

About the Author

Writing credits: My first book, The Kennedy Center: An Insiderís Guide To Washingtonís Liveliest Memorial was published in 1994. My second book, Crazy for Cats, came out in July, 2002. My freelance credits over 30 years include travel articles and nostalgia and humor pieces in The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, New York Newsday, Bon Appetit, House Beautiful, Cats Magazine, The Baltimore Sun, Stars and Stripes and Maryland Magazine. Currently working on a travel narrative book.

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