For the first 95% of my time to date wandering, mostly lost, around my very teensy patch of this planet, I’ve abided an unwavering animosity towards cats.
For the most recent 5%, which I’ve spent in a complicated reexamination of my lifelong animosity, I’ve exercised a monk-like restraint to not be The Guy Who Talks About His Cats … at least while I’m in, you know, complicated reexamination mode.
While I can’t say I’m on the other side of that process, I am here, this day, to be The Guy Who Talks About His Cats.
This is Viktor.
Viktor is my dude.
Even though he can be a major a-hole. Even though I’m not entirely convinced he’s not secretly plotting my demise, although I can’t technically prove it in a court of law … yet. (Sorry for all the negatives there … an unfortunate side effect of the complicated reexamination process).
And by “my Dude,” I, of course, mean that he deems me his dim-witted, servile underling barely worthy of the honor of catering to his every whim.
Viktor along with his brother Roman are the ‘cats who live in our house.’ While I’ve done almost a complete 180 on my cat stance (let’s call it a ‘178’), I still stop short of calling them ‘my cats,’ … since I was not involved, or, technically speaking, consulted, in the circumstances that resulted in them taking up residency in my house. And since my own residency here is, shall we say, vaguely tenuous, I abide a general strategy of not rocking the boat wherever possible.
I’ve come to appreciate Viktor over the course of our cohabitation because he’s the only member of the household who will indulge me in long conversation.
Everyone else seems to be, you know, pretty busy.
But Viktor and I … we are kindred spirts. Cut from the same cloth. We’re what the historians call ’deep thinkers.’ We feel the weight of the world, sense the shifting of the cosmic sands. We know what the Powers That Be are up to. We call out the bullshit when we see it. We know when the forecast calls for melancholy. We like it when human beings scratch our heads.
I’ll often find Viktor sitting in the dining room, staring out into the backyard, and can sense his mood.
A typical exchange:
Me: How’s it going, Viktor?
Viktor: (continuing to look straight ahead) Reeeeuhhhhrrrr! (“The universe is a meaningless void.”)
Me: Yeah, I know. Things are f*cked.
Viktor: (turning to address me directly) Reeeeeeeeeahhhhhrrrrrrrr! (“We must find those responsible and make them pay.”)
Me: Yeah, what can you do, though?
Viktor: Reeauh! (“Exercise my plan for world domination and reign in power with The Queen Who Gives Me The Special Snacks.”)
Me: Oh, there is that, I suppose.
Viktor: (turning back to the window) Urrrrrreeeeeeuhhh! (“Make no mistake, you will be the first to be eliminated, Sparkle Fart. Leave my sight for now Viktor must scratch things and nap.”
Me: OK, sounds like a plan. Good talk.
I’m the only one he talks to like this. We chat all the time. Actually makes Karry jealous.
That said, our relationship is not all unicorns and world domination.
Viktor can be a real a-hole.
Case in point. Ninety-nine percent of the time, he shows zero interest in physical exertion.
Until I’m working from home and he knows I’m on a call.
Then, he’ll bat the tinkly ball down the steps and work on his ball handling. Smacks it off the walls, chases it down, launches it back across the room, whacks it into the corner. Whines incessantly when it goes under the shelves just out of his reach. Until I hit the mute button, and be like, “Viktor, what the f*ck?”
He pretends he doesn’t hear me.
And when he knows I’m on a video call? It’s like he’s training for the goddamn Tinkly Ball Olympics. Speed drills and sh*t.
Oh, and there’s this other thing. Despite the fact that Karry has placed multiple cat accommodations of every type (blankets, pillows, beds, etc.) in front of virtually every window in every room in the house, Viktor insists on sleeping in my chair.
Because he is a passive aggressive motherf*cker.
When I call him out on it, sometimes he’ll open only one eye for a couple seconds, then close it again while I’m still yelling. I’m convinced that sometimes he hops in the chair when he hears me coming, and only pretends to sleep. I swear I can see him chuckling to himself. Karry tells me, oh no, he’s just ‘dreaming’ and to leave him be.
Eventually, though, his conscience gets to him, and he’ll apologize later … bowing his head and rubbing it against my shoulder. (translation: he gets hungry and knows he needs my opposable thumbs to open his adorably tiny can of cat food).
Of course, I forgive him, which is probably due to his mind control over inferior beings, but in my head is due to my unwavering support of his career aspirations. It’s Viktor’s dream (right after the World Domination thing) to become a calendar model. He puts in the work, has logged the 1,000 hours, practices his poses all the time. He’s a natural. Like the all-time greats, when he’s on his game, the captions just write themselves.
All he needs is representation. But in the cutthroat, big business world of cat calendars, it’s all who you know, evidently.
And Viktor’s not one to kiss anyone’s ass to climb the ladder of success. Not interested in playing The Game. He does not truck with The Machine. He is a master of the long game. I think he knows that once he subjects the universe to his will and reigns supreme over time, space and dimension, he can, you know, get some head shots taken … shop ‘em around, etc.
That’s probably the biggest thing that I’ve learned from him.
Never give up on your dreams.