The Cat Who Loved Sushi

Hubby bought me an aquarium for Christmas a couple years ago. It was supposed to be mine, all mine. My mistake was to let a couple of the grandkids see it before I set it up. It resulted in the (reluctant but adhered to) promise not to do so until they could go with me to pick things out for it.

Not only did my underwater vision of  Davey Jones’s Locker disappear, so did most of the choice in fish. Instead of a mysterious, triple-masted, skull-and-crossbone-flagged pirate ship listing seductively on the sandy bottom, dancing jiggly skeletons and pearl-bearing oysters and chests of eight and gold doubloons bubbling open, I have a dragon’s eye blinking from above coarse gravel and a dragon egg cracked open just enough for the hatching baby’s eye to wink at you. A tall round-turreted castle stands guard at the very back. And I know it doesn’t fit the decor, but I put the chunk of neon tinted coral at one side anyway! By God, something of my selection was going into the thing!

I did get to pick out a pair of what I thought were rainbow sharks that turned out to be something else entirely. (The sticker on the tank identified them as such; how was I to know they hadn’t changed the label yet?) I named them Guido and Francesca. Everything gets named around this house. The boys named all the others, down to the placaustomus. No, I don’t really know how to spell that word and couldn’t find it in the dictionary. All I know is he eats the algae and is therefore necessary. And since all males oversimplify, he ended up with the decidedly uninventive moniker of “Tom”.

Unfortunately, Tom’s also become the focal point of the twenty-nine gallon version of The Fish Network for Spidermonkey. Spidermonkey, if you remember, is my one-quarter-bobcat pet. Deaf as a door nail but highly intelligent. She loves to torment Paula’s husband Mike by unexpectedly tearing across his lap, or the top of the couch behind his head, and shoot up the french doors to hang upside down like some giant form of wild-eyed feline bat. Or maybe a bob-tailed vulture. Anyway, she always picks the one person not overly fond of cats and terrorizes them by doing a very convincing version of ‘crazy’.

Sorry. Digressing. Back to the tank. The black-tailed tetra stick close to the middle of the tank. Still have the original five. I fully believed glowfish had naturally short lifespans. They’re man created (read retarded) and not genetic; but beautiful flashes of neon orange, yellow and red darting the entire height and width of the tank. I’d occasionally find one plastered to the suction tube of the filter system, fish him out and flush him. As others disappeared I replaced them, just figuring their little fishy corpses had been sucked up the tube. Little did I know I had a ‘fish tickler’ in the house.

So when Guido went belly-up–larger and ew! requiring more effort to pry him from the filter tube–poor Francesca seemed so lonely that I bought her a new mate. But not only were they now categorized by a different name, they’d gone decidedly up in price. Way up. Sigh. Got one anyway.

I was stymied when Guido II was just gone one morning. Made me look closer. Discovered dainty damp paw prints atop the aquarium, all around the mere four-inch-long-by-half-inch wide slit of open space in the tank cover where the air lines and filtered water reentered the tank.

I’d also been noticing that as Tom grew, so did Spidermonkey’s interest. She’d bat the sides of the tank with her paws to make him shoot across the tank bottom, mewling this weird noise. Or fling herself at the glass so hard the rocking chair she was pretending to rest on would slap the wall about the same time she’d whump into the floor from bouncing off the aquarium. It’s become a naturally occurring, headache producing echo. Slap/whump. Slap/whump.  Months and months of this activity and she still hasn’t learned she can’t leap through glass. Tom knows though, and taunts her incessantly. We’re split on the reasoning behind her continued efforts: admirable determination, or brain damage from recurring impacts. But we’ve chased her off so often that now the dog barks and rats her out when she jumps atop it. Getting tired of crawling out of bed in the middle of the night to chase her down and shut him up.

Finally caught her in the act. She was gently dabbling her paw in that tiny exposed piece of water, just like I do with my fingers after I open the lid for feeding, luring the fish to the top. It seems she occasionally hooks one. I guess the escapees were injured, croaking later and being sucked into the filter tube. And here I’d thought it was the natural birth-life-death cycle all along. Silly me.

Now I know cats will be cats, and that cats love fish. Nothing will stop that natural inclination, no matter how many preventative measures I take,  or how often the dog tattles by yipping the canine version of  a childish “Mama! Mama! Spidermonkey’s being bad again!”

I know that sooner or later I won’t get there in time to stop it happening, so I’d like to suggest a compromise. Spidermonkey, the next time you decide you absolutely must have sushi, please . . .  

Choose a .99 cent selection from the entree menu, not the $9.99 one!

2 Responses

  1. Spidermonkey sounds like some of my clients – even down to the brain damage from knocking their heads against a brick wall. No, really, I love all my clients.

    As always, Runere, you have amused me and brightened my day. You should be a writer! oh yea, you are!

  2. Love the story. Would love to meet the cat.

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