You Can’t Swing One

by Peter Wallace, © 2007

There’s an odd expression I heard years ago to describe a situation where there is a lot of something. It goes like this, “You can’t swing a cat without hitting (fill in a noun here).” So, if you were at a mall, you could say, “You can’t swing a cat without hitting a cell-phone kiosk.” It’s a colorful way to get your point across.

At our house, you can’t swing a cat without hitting… another cat.

We’re both dog and cat people, but since our wonderful dog, Toby, died a couple years ago, our old cat, Pumpkin, became our sole pet. Then, last summer, somebody who I will not name, decided to start feeding three stray cats that adopted us.

Eventually, we “fixed” them (don’t even get me going on that word), found a home for one, and kept two. Our house is too close to the road to have outside cats for very long, so we now have one old cat, and two one year-old cats in our home.

The two new ones are more energetic than the old man, not surprisingly. One is named Rex, due to his regal nose. He is very long and abnormally flexible. I think he may be liquid. His big thing is cleanliness. He grooms his brother against the brother’s will, and now that summer is here, it’s hard to walk through the house without having one’s toes cleaned.

His brother is a beautiful cat with markings on his side that look like a cinnamon roll. I wanted to call him Swirl, but we decided on Mazo, as in the maze pattern on his side. He’s very soft and athletic, and purrs very easily. He squeaks while he purrs. He also hates the idea that another cat is being petted, and consistently butts in to make sure he gets petted too.

The young cats have made the old cat more active, and even playful sometimes. He’s also lost some weight. He gets in dominance fights with Rex, and so far he is still the top cat. He has play fights with Mazo sometimes. But, he also gives the occasional ear lick to one or the other of the new cats. I think he kind-of likes having some company.

The cats are fun to have around, but keeping up with the fur is a constant battle. We buy Swifter Sweeper refills by the case, and a semi of cat litter pulls in once a week. The people at Mounds Pet Store recognize us from our many trips there for food.

Now and then, we hear a crash in the middle of the night, and they’ve scratched some furniture, because I lost the argument on de-clawing. But, otherwise, they’re nice to have around.

I’ve never actually swung a cat, and I’m pretty sure it’s just an expression. But, if I were to actually swing a cat, I’m certain I would hit another one.


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