Day 24,819: Sanctuary or Chamber of Catty Comeuppance?

As I am increasingly schooled in diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), I’m learning of terms that stem from slavery that should no longer be allowed in my daily lexicon. Master bedroom is one of them.

The minute you hear it in the context of a racism discussion, no further information is needed. You suddenly see what you didn’t see before, and the term has to be retired. My bedroom, therefore, is now the parents room, my bedroom, the main bedroom, or some other term that can define it as the largest bedroom in the house without being the master’s. The Houston realtor’s association is adopting the word “primary bedroom.”  For more on this and other terms worth reconsidering, check out this article from CNN on Everyday words and phrases that have racist connotations.

In actuality, my bedroom has been dubbed The Room of Righteous Indignation [RORI]. This has become its label since COVID,  adopted by my daughter to describe it as the preferred location for all cats in the house who are having a moment. It has been identified by said cats as the place where you most likely will find me (which says something about my innate laziness) and, therefore, the place where you can be expected to be defended especially when the unwelcome granddog comes to visit.

The bed, or high ground, is preferred by the resident cat although the dog can easily jump up on it. Still, she can see him coming and he can see her claws, arched back, and attitude from afar. Her attitude is legendary. She has trained a German Shephard and Black Lab afterall who have both left this world long before her. This new, mixed breed, mid-sized, four-legged creature should be no match for her, although her age has dampened her desire to train him.  She’s over it and should be past this type of travesty at her stage of her life. So, she frequently retreats to the “RORI” rather than put up the fight needed to put him solidly in his place.

Our current COVID guest cat prefers the low ground in a corner of the RORI behind a brown chair, legitimately the farthest point in the house from anywhere else in the house. In true Jersey style, she sits with her back to the wall facing the door so she can see who’s coming long before she can be spotted behind the chair. She does not sleep there. She stands vigil.

Oddly, after months of forced COVID hibernation together, the cats are no closer to accepting each other than they were on Day One.  I attribute that to my cat’s advanced age — 19 — and the deference we must all show her for her longevity. Guest cat is under the faulty delusion that this may be her new home as the heir apparent.  She mistakenly believes that my daughter has brought her home to the family castle to wait for ordination as the new Cat Queen. Silly British Shorthair. This is America and the home is just three stories tall, not a castle.

As much as both cats dislike the dog, they dislike each other more. The dog is recognized as a short-term interloper who can be waited out.  He leaves like clockwork after two to three days whenever he visits. He can be counted on to depart. For some reason unbeknownst to the cats, they each seem to always be around and no one is leaving. It’s hard to talk to a cat about COVID.

In all of this, there seem to be some cautionary tales.

  • Those who are most like us can still be considered “others.”
  • The enemy of my enemy may not be a friend, but preferred company even though he’s a dog.
  • Home is still worth coming home to if food is plentiful and people who love you are somewhere inside.
  • Home is not always synonymous with sanctuary particularly if strangers take up residence.
  • And, you really can be too old for this SH*T.

And now I have to run downstairs to let someone in, clean up the litter after someone else who doesn’t go out, and tonight take a walk without a dog so I can  quietly listen to a podcast.  Thank goodness it’s summer.