When I was born, my parents were in year 12 (13?) of the life of E.B. the cat. E.B. (whose real name escapes me), was acquired during my mother’s college days, and lingered on throughout my parents’ roaring twenties and then into my introduction into their life.
E.B., sadly, never liked me much. There were many reasons, and most of them were terribly obvious. I was human, she was not. I was my parents firstborn human, she was not. I had a bed, she did not.
And so, with the determination that only cats seem to muster, she made it clear that she didn’t like me, couldn’t stand me, and wanted me packed up and out. Sneering, shunning, and snide cat-language remarks were all part of her repertoire when I entered the room, and my parents soon began to feel that E.B. was asking them to choose. Sadly for E.B., it was the Sophie’s choice that never was, and she lived in a state of incessant jealousy, anger, and bitterness. Her place had been taken, and she would never rise above it.
This incredible video, showing the inner thoughts of one French cat named none other than Henri, seems to express everything I believe poor E.B. thought about me, day and in day out, as she stared resentfully at me in my high chair, eating peas and mashed bananas. Such inner cat lines as “I am imprisoned” and “My thumbs are not opposable” seem to convey the overwhelming bitterness that many cats — like E.B. — appear to feel, no matter their circumstances.
Sadly, the story of E.B. is a bad one.
When I was small, and she was sick of lavish attention being extended to the first (human) child my parents had ushered into the world, she left. My parents dutifully put up signs around the neighborhood, searching right and left for signs of their beloved black and white. When she never reappeared, it was assumed that E.B., like any good self-sacrificing cat, had (sadly) gone away to die.
I shouldered this burden for years. (The burden of knowing I had kicked out the cat.) And then, in my own college days, I went in for a de rigueur allergy test. They pricked my back with things and then took vials to look at under microscopes. When they brought me in next, the doctor, proudly, pronounced the result.
Allergic to cats!
E.B. must have known. Of that, I am convinced.