Thursday, July 29, 2010

Painted Cat

My friends are painting their new room. They've been working hard, on converting their old garage to a new den. I would help, but they are perfectionists.  Their paint job looks terrific, nothing like the way I paint.
When I lived in my little apartment on Frenchmen's Cay in the British Virgin Islands, I had a house painter staying with me for months. I also had three cats and my neighbor across the hallway had one cat.
One day while I was working, the house painter, moved all my bedroom furniture to the center of the room. Then he began painting. It took awhile because he was doing this faux marble look on two of the walls.
I came home and he took a break. We were sitting out on the balcony enjoying the breeze and tall glasses of iced tea. I was pleased that my three cats were all nice and clean with no traces of paint on them. They were busy rubbing my legs, and loving up on me, as they often did, when I returned home from work. The house painter said they seemingly had no interest in the wet paint and had stayed out of the way.
The neighbor's cat was used to coming and going in my apartment, to test-taste our cat food and see what me or the cats were up to. He used the catwalk to access the balcony or the often open front door, to make his entrance. This afternoon, the front door was closed.
He wandered by us on the balcony and slipped inside the apartment through the always-open sliding doors. Since our cats had no problems with bothering the wet paint, we didn't pay him any attention. He wandered by the large dish of dry cat food, near the open sliding doors and helped himself to a brief snack.
A few seconds later we heard a loud crash!  We jumped up to head for the sound, which came from my bedroom. The painter had left a paint tray, sitting on top of the plastic-covered dresser, with a roller in the paint tray, while he took a break.
We nearly collided with  the neighbor's cat, who was making fast coral colored tracks as he raced around my bed, then on the bed, then out to the hallway, across the living room, out to the balcony and around the apartment building.
I looked at my bedroom and the uncovered bed which still had sheets on it.  The cat had not only left wet paw print paint tracks completely around the bed on the floor, but numerous paw prints across the bed sheets, which were barely a month old.
He had spilled the paint tray and the painter was rapidly mopping up the paint, plus chasing wet paw print tracks across the floor. I grabbed rags and began mopping up the painted paw prints throughout the living room and balcony.
Suddenly we heard a scream, followed by the neighbor's door banging open.  Apparently, the neighbor had previously removed her window screen, so her cat could come and go at will. I had been in her place before, to look at stuff on her computer, in her bedroom. She had several beautiful bedspreads.  Her bed was always neatly made up, probably 2 minutes after she exited it in the morning.
That afternoon, she was lounging on her bed,half-asleep,  watching TV, when suddenly, her cat, covered in coral colored paint, came racing through the window screen, his paws still dripping in paint, as he raced across her bed, leaving a huge mess, hence the sudden scream.
She caught her cat eventually, and tried her best to clean the paint off of him with soap and water. We all know how much cats love baths...  
For the uninformed, cats do not like baths one bit. I remember afterwards, her cat sitting out back in the garden, looking plenty mad, as he tried to put his fur right again, after a sudsy bath with Joy soap. The owner had done her best to scrub up her black and white cat. However, for well over a week, he still had pinky looking fur and toes. That paint just wouldn't come completely out of his white fur.
She was a tad mad at us, because we had not warned her that her painted cat was on the loose.  I tried to explain, that everything had happened so fast and we never expected  her cat to leap up on the dresser, landing squarely in the middle of the paint tray, which was probably nearly an inch deep in paint. My dresser, bed sheets, and floor were covered in probably 1,000 paw prints. It clearly had been no picnic for us either. We were by now laughing about the mess, while my own three cats carefully stay outside, not wanting to be any part of this scene.
It took two of us more than an hour, to clean up the huge mess.  As the paint job continued, the next day, whenever her cat came to visit, we would hiss at him, and chase him back out the door. I swear my cats would trot by with their head held high, because they never once messed with the paint or even brushed up against a wet wall.
Out back in the garden, they would give her cat strange looks and sniff his coral colored fur or paws, then strut off with their head held high, as if to say "We know better than to play with wet paint!"

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