For the last three years, Sexy Frank has been an outdoor barn cat.
The reason is because we have three indoor high-maintenance drama-queen dogs, and one is particularly vicious when confronted with something smaller.
The vicious one, of course, is Doodle, the pittie mix.
It’s not the pittie in her that’s mean; it’s whatever the little furry brat is mixed with.
So, for the last three years, my baby had to be a barn kitty.
Bella, the little tortie that showed up with him, wanted to be an indoor cat immediately, but Sexy Frank didn’t seem too impressed about being inside.
It did, after all, reek of dog.
But then this spring, Bella went missing and never returned.
Even though she was technically Cole’s cat, my heart was broken. I worried about where she went and feared for the safety of my own Sexy Frank.
“I want my cat inside,” I cried almost daily.
“I do, too,” Lamar agreed. “We need a bigger house though; where would we put him?”
Our cabin is small. I am pretty sure the person who built it planned it as a weekend retreat and not a full-time residence with three people and a small menagerie of critters.
I worried endlessly.
I would be frantic when the weather was nasty.
Sure, he had a barn, but that was not the same as having my baby inside with me.
“He’s gotta come in,” I said.
“I know,” Lamar said. “But I think he has fleas.”
How dare he say the most perfect cat in the world had fleas! But Lamar insisted he did and when I let him in briefly a few weeks earlier, Lamar thought one got on Ava.
Ava is allergic to everything, probably even air, but no fleas were seen at her last vet visit.
“We will make sure he doesn’t have fleas before he comes inside,” I said. “I can’t do that to Chunky.”
No, Chunky — Ava’s nickname since she normally weighs around 112 — didn’t need to add fleas to her list of issues.
I’d promise Sexy Frank I was trying to get him in. I told him the steps that had to be taken, including a visit to the vet. “Just be patient with me,” I would whisper.
But I knew I needed to figure something out. To quote “Game of Thrones,” winter was coming, and I didn’t want my baby outside again. The flea treatment would be the easy part; it was the three dogs I was worried about.
Sometimes, things happen that make us take action sooner rather than later.
The next morning, Sexy Frank had scratched himself bloody from the fleas.
I didn’t wait any longer.
He did surprisingly well on the way to the vet, mewing every now and then as if to let us know he did not the like the curvy mountain roads. Once he was in the room, he successfully charmed the vet.
“Oh, he is a handsome boy indeed!” she declared. He gave her a head boop as if to thank her for noticing.
One super-duper flea treatment later, he was back in his carrier on the way home.
“We can’t put him back outside,” Lamar said quietly as we headed back.
I felt so relieved. I was glad he was bringing this up before I did.
“I think Punk will be fine with him; Ava will, too,” he continued. “Doodle, I am not so sure about.”
I agreed. Heck, I didn’t trust Doodle and I was her human pillow.
Cole had let the pups out on the porch when we got home so we let him in and out of the carrier. Exhausted from his trip, he exited the carrier and flopped over to nap on the cool wood floor.
About 30 minutes later, he got up on the couch — in Punk’s spot — and slept for about two hours.
“I’m gonna bring them in to introduce them,” Lamar said.
Ava was curious but frightened.
Doodle took two steps toward him then backed up between Lamar’s legs. She talks a tremendous amount of smack at the outdoor critters for a dog that headbutts her own shadow.
Punk refused to make eye contact.
That was just the calm before the storm.
After the chaos settled down, I texted Mama.
“Frank tried to attack Punk twice and got angry because he was told no. He went No. 1 on the couch. Punk’s in my office. Ava barked at him because he hurt her feelings. We need Jesus up in here! Pray!”
She replied, “They are just adjusting.”
Adjusting my tater. Sexy Frank was letting them know he had been denied a life on the couch and he wasn’t taking it anymore.
The next morning, Lamar introduced Ava again, so she could get more familiar with Sexy Frank and vice versa.
Everything was fine until Ava’s curiosity got the better of her and she decided she wanted to see the cat up close.
Instead of backing down or fleeing as something smaller should do, Sexy Frank sat up on his back legs and slapped Ava with both paws. She yelped and retreated quickly, her feelings hurt more than her face.
I told Mama the news.
“It sounds like a hostile takeover is going on,” she surmised.
It was a somewhat hostile takeover, but my cat was thankfully finally inside.
Sudie Crouch is an award-winning humor columnist residing in the North Georgia Mountains among the bears, deer, and possibly Sasquatch. She lives to disappoint her mother, or at least that is what she has been told. You can connect with her on Facebook at Mama Said: A Collection of Wit, Humor, and Deep-Fried Wisdom.