Not Eudora   By Harry Welty
Published Oct 14, 2004

Princess Potty Mouth


She looks innocent now sleeping in the morning sun but inside her dirty little mouth are bacteria potent enough to guarantee a thirty percent chance of infection. According to the Doctor who just released Claudia from a four-day stay in the hospital, only vice presidential candidates have a more infectious bite than a cat.


I don’t know how our cat got such a dirty mouth. We try not to swear in front of her but, come to think of it, Claudia is a vice president. I’ve stopped calling the cat by her proper name, “O’Shea.” Now she’s just “Princess Potty Mouth.”


It began two Saturdays ago. Claudia woke up at five AM and couldn’t go back to sleep.  Before baking muffins to tide us over on our drive to the Bayfield Apple Festival she heard the newspaper carrier at the front door and tried to fetch the paper. The cat raced ahead of her to reach the menace first but found herself caught between the screen and front doors. When Claudia reached for the Tribune O’Shea clamped her bared fangs onto her wrist. The cat didn’t let go until Claudia shook her off while the cat dangled in midair.


Of course, being a doting husband I slept through the altercation and woke to the smell of fresh-baked muffins and coffee two hours later. I helped lather Neosporin on Claudia’s wounds and applied a fresh bandage before we drove to Wisconsin. After our return, fifteen hours later, we found angry red streaks racing up Claudia’s arm. Drugs were prescribed and applied at the Emergency Room. Unfortunately, the infection's head start and Claudia’s antibiotic allergies required a much more aggressive medical regimen by Monday.


There was much speculation back at work about Claudia’s infirmity. She got several calls from co-workers who wanted to know “was it your cat that bit you?” and “do you still have it?” Even her nurses kept saying things like, “Oh, you’re the cat woman!”  She got an email from her office with an offer to take care of the cat. It could have come from the Godfather.


The mounting bills were on our mind when Claudia and I watched the Vice Presidential debate from the hospital. Fortunately, her bronchial impaired roommate had left earlier in the day to resume smoking cigarettes. This allowed us to watch the veep candidates in peace as they attacked each other for failing to control the cost of health care. By the end of the debate we couldn’t help but wonder whether we should accept the offer to take care of the cat. O’Shea was as expensive as a law suit.


The mushy liberal inside us recalled O’Shea’s hard luck story. Her mother had been blown away by somebody exercising Second Amendment rights. Although O’Shea bonded with us she was very short with anyone not belonging to our pride. A vet, who vaccinated her once, while my wife and I desperately held her down, speculated that her anti-social ways were the result of having her mother’s nurturing cut short in kittenhood.


O’Shea’s front claws were removed as a favor to our new furniture but what O’Shea lacked in claws she more than made up in attitude.  She has intimidated scores of house guests including my feline loving sister. Once, while O’Shea was harmlessly leashed in our backyard, she spooked the neighbor’s two Labradors . The moment they trotted outside and laid eyes on our eleven pound cat they turned tail and raced furiously back onto their porch.


I’ve grown accustomed to having O’Shea attack my ankles when I answer the front door. I’ve learned not to trap her against the wall because O’Shea is easily confused about who belongs to the legs in our entry way. Like George Bush our cat presumes that any UPS driver or Girl Scout peddling snicker doodles is a dangerous intruder. If my ankles are too close to her in these confusing situations O’Shea acts preemptively. There is no asking for permission; no United Nations’ consultation.


Claudia just got preempted. Fortunately, we have insurance. My son will lose his coverage under our insurance in a few months. The cost of a day in the hospital would wipe him out. That’s probably just as well. It’s something he’ll need to get used to like paying for the war in Iraq or his parent’s Social Security. We Republicans have a much better policy than those pesky old Democrats with their “tax and spend” ways. Republicans have adopted a tax-the-children-tomorrow and spend philosophy. We know who votes. Those who play with senior citizens must expect to be scratched, or perhaps, bitten.


Frankly, I think cat bites are funny but that may just be because I’m not the one who got bit and because I have insurance.


Welty is a small time politician who lets it all hang out at: www.snowbizz.com