Fingers is not her real name. Truth be told, she is a real lady. When she first settled into my home she was wearing a beautiful necklace with a silver-coated tag. Her real name was engraved on the tag. It must be over two years already since Fingers moved into my apartment as a permanent resident and it is hard to believe that I could never remember her real name. My good girlfriend at the time knew her name. It began with a C – Cammie something or another – and sounded rather exotic. Beautiful nevertheless.
Anyway; why did I name this beautiful creature Fingers in the first place? Firstly, because she behaved like a typical old lady with high morals and good old-fashioned values, I named her Mrs. Finkels or Finkelstein or some such name. I had in mind a nice old German lady who used to work downtown at the German deli. This German expatriate had been living on my building for years before I first moved in. She went back to Germany a few years ago after she met a handsome German pensioner through an online dating website.
Seeing them sitting together on the fire escape on balmy evenings, holding hands, was nothing short of inspirational. For a couple that age and so in love. They were setting an example for all the younger jet-setters in our neighborhood anyhow. ‘Mrs. Finkelstein’ did not take long to settle into my apartment. I soon noticed that she was an extraordinary cat with very meticulous habits in regard to her cleansing, eating and sleeping rituals.
She had a set routine. In an earlier post, I mentioned how she worshipped the sun’s warm rays. But this habit of sitting or lying in the sun during the morning was a practical habit. You see, it warmed her tortoise-shell colored coat for the rest of the day and particularly for the chilly night ahead. An inbuilt insulator, second to none. When I was rubbing my shoulders on cold winter nights, Fingers would just sit there and sagely twinkle her eyes at me as if to say, yea, I told you so.
Anyway, back to the naming game. Meticulous attention to detail is how I also described her in that earlier introduction to my darling pussy. One such fine habit she has is her scratching ritual. Now, silly old me had still forgotten to buy her that catnip-scented scratching post with matching bell and perch. So she had to improvise.
I have two old coffee tables, one in the corner of my bedroom and one large table in the living area. She scratches underneath these two tables. For a small cat she sure does make one heck of a noise. She is quite thorough. But she also likes to claw my lounge suite and quite frankly, I do not like this.
I try to coax her gently – no, no, no Fingers, don’t scratch there – but all to no avail. And what can I do when I’m not there, or taking a nap, or sleeping? Pretty much nothing. And while I’m pleading with her to stop scratching the fabrics, she averts her eyes and softly growls to herself; scratching post. Fortunately, no damage has been done.
These are old couches and when the budget improves I will have them re-covered in swanky, stylish patterns that I like. I will also ask my old mother for some old double bed sheets to throw over the settees for when I am not around. Then Fingers can scratch until kingdom comes. In our neighborhood the name ‘Fingers’ has been associated with criminal minds and petty thieves for generations. But when I named the darling Fingers I just thought the name had a nice ring to it. As I type this post, with a good view of the opposite apartment building and some trees in front of us, Fingers is sitting on a neatly folded pile of newspapers, warming her bum and taking in those views.
I do not need to tell you that cats (and most other animals) have a very acute sense of hearing and smell. Fingers is sitting near the window and calmly taking in the noises of the busy street below us. From where we are sitting, it is a gentle murmur. It is like having a calm white noise to accompany the gentle clacking of my keyboard. This may also explain why I hardly ever turn on the radio these days.
She yawned. She is awfully tired. As per usual, she has been rather busy. An afternoon nap beckons. But first there is an irritating fly to see to. It’s a different fly that she maims and kills each time but I still name it Louis as in Louis the Fly. Cats also have an incredibly good memory. Most people may not notice this but I have.
A few days ago we were standing near the bottom of our tenement just for a bit of fresh air and to stretch the legs after an hour so of sitting at my desk. It is about the only time that Fingers will venture out these days. She has traumatic memories of her experience of living on the street. Also, the alleys are infested with rats, one or two feline gangs and two toms who seem to have forgotten that their genitals have been removed.
I spoke to one of those cat’s owners the other day. Her legs and arms are covered in tattoos, but she seems sweet enough. I told her that once upon a time there was another, slightly larger ginger cat on our block. I mentioned that we had named him Bowtie on account of him wearing a handsome-looking red bowtie. I think he was waiting tables downtown to fund his nasty KFC habit. But this cat had balls.
Anyway, my neighbor mentioned that her ginger is named Ollie, short for Oliver. I wanted to tell you a little bit about my cat’s fantastic memory bank but our time is up. Perhaps another day.