Jerry, The Monster Cat
How one cat took over an entire household of animals and people
Jerry, named for little Jerry Seinfeld the rooster on Seinfeld, is a cat and he is also a beast of monstrous proportions who loves to be loved. My older sister was forced to give him away to us because his appetite for love was so insatiable. She was trying to raise my nephew and little Jerry was everywhere, all the time, breathing in all the air and hogging all the space with his determined and impassioned pleas for love. We took him in and he soon swelled in size to his current dimensions, which are nothing short of gratuitous. He is a giant ball of orange fur and when he walks he looks like two cats that have been glued together.
If you are at the table and you are reading the paper or scanning your ipad Jerry will flop down on top of whatever it is you’re looking at and just gush over it, fat spilling out from all angles. You try to eat your cereal and you can’t get your spoon to your mouth because there is suddenly a paw wrapped around your wrist. No, look at me, he says. Put that away and look at me. If you do end up petting him you have to be careful or you will get bitten. These are love bites, we are almost certain, but they are hard and they hurt. It’s like you are so delicious he can’t quite restrain himself. I’m certain if he was one hundred pounds bigger and this was the jungle he would have swallowed us by now.
Jerry and the dog, Percy, are mortal enemies. Percy hates the heck out of Jerry and chases him away whenever he gets the chance. This isn’t fair so we correct him and Jerry himself tends to stand his ground and rear back and hiss. Jerry is no fraidy cat. His bulk makes him imposing, and he knows it. He won’t be chased away from the water bowl and he will absolutely not be chased away from his food. Jerry is the alpha. He is the one who scares away the other cats, the perpetually frantic Desmond and the sweet, shy Ella. He loves to pick on Ella. Maybe it’s because she’s submissive or maybe it’s because she’s the only female, but whatever it is she is the most frequent target of his attacks.
My father has a strained relationship with Jerry. He thinks he’s a nuisance, with his begging for love and food and because he picks on dear old Ella, my father’s favorite. When Jerry is on the table while we’re eating my father shouts ‘get him! get him!’ and he must be removed before he faces my father’s fury. I try to put him down gently but he sort of falls out of my arms because of the enormity of him. Did I mention he’s a hulking beast?
He’s an older cat now, in his second decade, but he’ll still jump on me while I’m lying on the couch watching TV. He’ll start off around my legs then wiggle his way up to my chest and nibble on the tip of my nose. Again, I think, if size wasn’t an issue he would totally eat me. But he is spry for an obese older gentleman. He can hop from the floor to the top of the dining room table in one flying leap. He can jump from the the top of the stove to the top of the kitchen table with ease.
Jerry likes to do the Superman pose on his back with his four limbs extended like he’s soaring through the air. He’s too cute not to pet in this position but once you reach for his belly his claws slam shut on your hand like a bear trap. I always tell myself I have to learn. I never learn and he gets me every time. It’s safer to stick to the top of the head. He likes it and you’re less liable to be bitten or scratched. Out of love, of course.
We didn’t ask for Jerry. We didn’t expect Jerry. In a lot of ways Jerry is an idiosyncratic, high maintenance, juggernaut of a cat. He ploughs through food, he terrorizes the other cars, he has it out with the dog, he gives the most painful love bites, he vomits up gigantic fur balls and he will plop himself down over whatever you’re working on to let you know ‘I come first’, and yet the house wouldn’t be the same without him.
Jerry is a beast, but Jerry is our beast. I know I’ve grown fond of him over the years and it will be tough to say goodbye to him whenever that fateful day arrives. He brings a different attitude, a different energy to the house when he’s in it. I’m sure many of you have felt the same. That animal that is quirky and unique and that you couldn’t imagine living without. They might not always be easy, but they’re always worth it.