I am a hostage, captured, imprisoned, surrounded by creatures who govern my every move. No action in my day goes unobserved, no plan I make is unaffected, no decision I carry out is incognizant of my captivity.
I am physically harassed and tortured daily; orders to "hurry up" or "sit down" or "get out the canopener" besiege me. Flying filaments too slender to be seen, too adhesive to be removed, too annoying to ignore fill the corners of my rooms, clog my vacuum filter and air return vents, tickle my nose and litter my clothing.
I am hostage, I tell you, and a victim of the Stockholm syndrome. I feed my captors, offer them medical care even when they don't desire it, get others to care for them when I am away, and worry about them the whole time.
Loosy, the elder of the three yet not the alpha cat except in her own mind, pesters me for lap time, licks my hand subserviently without actually acceding domination points, gazes benignly into my eyes though I know she is plotting how she can land a tongue on my face. When company arrives, she complains loudly about my behavior, accusing me of never petting her, never paying any attention to her, never letting her get on my lap. She continues this charade until the visitor, charmed (or revolted) by her plaints, sits down and makes a lap. Then she's in that lap in a flash, especially if the visitor has black slacks on or hates cat hair. She circles the lap, presenting her posterior in the most obscene way, until the visitor is forced to pay attention and either shoo her away or pet her and remark on her unbelievably blue eyes. What a con artist!
Lily, the heavyweight tortoiseshell wuss, considers it her duty to patrol the house at all hours yowling loudly. Nobody knows what she's yowling about but cat whisperers locally think it may be a safety valve for her pent-up anxieties, namely keeping all the denizens of the household in her sights. She worries about where Loosy is. She watches the window for Max. She sits outside my closed bedroom door at 5 a.m., ready to give the signal that it's time for me to get up and pay attention to my jailers. She goes out, she comes in, she goes out, she comes in, she cringes when I speak sharply to her on the umpteenth time; she goes out, she comes in, she wants to go out again and cringes when I yell "NO, LILY!" at her in exasperation. Then she slinks around the house looking at me like an abuse victim might look at the abuser, scared but hopeful for love.
Max the Magnificent (aka Murderer and Maimer of Many) blithely conducts his life as a conqueror in absentia. Max is gone most of the time, out killing things, sometimes bringing them home as proof that he is not being idle or catting around with losers. He comes home only long enough to eat everything in the catfood dish, sleep like a rock for several hours, eat again, and go out on his rounds, occasionally waiting until everyone is sound asleep to come scratching at the window for re-entry. He bullies Loosy when he's inside yet sides with Lily on the bed, lying back to back with her as though to guard the perimeters. Nightly he comes to my bed for love, nuzzling and purring and closing his eyes in ecstasy; I am inevitably taken in by this ploy and forgive him the next time he comes home at 4 a.m.
My sister tells me that you have to have four cats to be a real Cat Lady, so I am safe right now. But this morning in the local paper I noticed an ad for black and white kittens who need a good home. Luckily somebody barfed on it before I had a chance to cut the ad out. Judging by the size of the hairball, it must have been....?