Devil Cat

I first met “Taffy” in the spring of 2001. She was Aunt Peg’s new cat, and the first cat after the death of Max, a sleek black cat who had taken great pleasure in breaking everything he could get his long tail around. Taffy was a tiny little creature, a cat who could curl up in the open palm of my hand and purr with contentment that all was right with the world.

Now, Peg has a way with animals. They all become absolutely devoted to her. Some, like Tiffany, her tiny little “pillow dog” (who died two months ago) are also friendly to others in the family. Most often, they just hide when “new” people wander into the house in Scranton. The two cats she had when I was born, Gypsy and Bandit, were that way. When family came to visit, those cats lived in the spacious closets of Peg’s bedroom, hiding among the shoeboxes and assorted stores.

I met Taffy for a second time in the early summer of ‘02. She’d grown considerably. I drove from Towson to Scranton, and arrived while everyone was gone. My grandmother, who lives with Peg, was at church. Peg, a nurse, was at the hospital. The back door was unlocked, and I made myself at home, watching some TV, and then I heard some scratching. Taffy was in the bathroom, scratching at the door. Foolishly, as I would learn, I opened the door.

Taffy had grown – she was already bigger than Guy, my (at the time) five year old cat – I mean, this cat got HUGE really quickly. Anyway, she takes one look at me, her ears fold back, and she starts growling. And I don’t mean like a “Hey, you’re in my sun, move on” growl, I mean a “I don’t know who you are but I’m going to fuck you up.” She took up a perch on the stairs, refusing to allow me to pass, and taking rather vicious swipes at me with her paw.

Anyway, the point is, I stopped by Peg’s place on my way home from Connecticut. Peg greeted me with a hug, but who was above the cabinets in the kitchen? Taffy. And what did she do upon seeing me? You guessed it! She started growling.