No more junk food for Charlie
Tracy L. Brady
Charlie has always been a bit high-maintenance.
When he and I moved in with Danielle and Libra during college, Charlie protested the move by sitting on top of the refrigerator for days.
When we moved in with April, he became an escape artist.
When we got our own place, he stopped eating, lost hair by the handful, and cried constantly.
So did I.
Charlie's doctor prescribed Valium and a sabbatical, so I called Mom and asked if Charlie could come to live with her for awhile. When she agreed, all I had to do was get Charlie to agree to take his medicine before we made our trip from Florence to Hazel Green.
Easier said than done.
"This will make you feel better, Charlie," I assured him.
The pill hit the floor.
"As soon as you take your pill, we can go to Grandma's house and then we'll both get some rest."
The pill hit the floor once again.
"If you don't take it, I will," I threatened.
Charlie drooled and moaned a little during the hour-long trip, but there were no wails of complete and utter misery as in the previous three weeks. For whatever reason, Charlie decided he had had enough of the college life. The stress was just too much for his little six-year-old mind and body and it was simply time to make a change.
When we arrived at Mom's house, Charlie stretched his legs, ate some food, and laid down for a nap. It was the happiest I had seen him in ages.
And since that day two years ago, Charlie hasn't cried out in anguish or protested anything. He eats well, sleeps well, and plays well with my niece Carly.
Carly even refers to my mom's house as "Charlie's house."
This embarrasses Mom at the grocery store and church functions.
"Charlie is Tracy's college cat," Mom will tell people when Carly sparks their curiosity with the hope of juicy gossip.
Well, he was my college cat. Now he is Mom's house cat. Other than the occasional rub around the leg, Charlie has very little to do with me anymore. I know college isn't for everyone, but it definitely didn't suit Charlie.
Mom called the other day to inform me that Carly had found some bumps on Charlie's chin. While Mom and Charlie were at the vet the following day, thoughts of tumors and cancer plagued me.
Fortunately, my worries were for naught.
"Charlie has acne," Mom said after the visit to the vet. "He has to take antibiotics for a few days and use Clearasil."
Thoughts of tumors were replaced with visions of kitty junk food binges: Fur matted with pizza sauce, candy bar wrappers strewn around his bedtime-basket, pyramid stacks of tuna cans, wadded kitty treat bags surrounding the garbage can.
I'm not sure which is more disturbing-the fact that Charlie uses Clearasil or the fact that he abandoned me to party with my mom?