Downloading 164 pieces of email. I’ve got some time to kill.

There are three cats now. I haven’t mentioned that before, but there are three cats. Taylor, Cal and Olive. Olive is new. She’s a girl. They didn’t all meet until the new house, so each one was like, “Where the hell am I? Oh, you live here? Great. Nice to meet you. I’ll try not to get in your way.”

We had imagined there’d be nine different nasty fights with two boys and a girl, but surprisingly there wasn’t a single spat. Just a few paw swipes and some hissing, and then somehow the house was divided during the night, and they all just sort of get along.

At first.

Girl cat: claws, about thirteen pounds, prissy, haughty, angry. Not a lap cat. She doesn’t really want you to bother her.

Boy cats: no front claws, fifteen and seventeen pounds. Y’all know Taylor and Cal.

At first, we had a love triangle on our hands. Olive couldn’t decide if she loved the aloof, cold, too cool for school Taylor with his French-Canadian accent and wide stance, or if she was more for the big, dumb and strong Cal type. With Taylor she’d smoke cigarettes and drink cafe au lait at a little bistro as they read each other poetry before they tore each other apart. With Cal she’d play a vigorous game of water volleyball before they both batted turds around the house.

As all girls do, she flirted with Taylor, but really loved Cal. Or maybe she really loves Taylor, but she’s using Cal because he pays attention to her. Whatever it is, Olive is constantly chasing Cal. When she’s not, Cal’s chasing her. When they tire of that, they both chase Taylor.

Taylor loved the new arrangement for a while. He was finally left alone for the first time in his life. He got to just sit around and be ignored, just as he’d been wishing on every falling star since he was a wee kitten. But for some reason they decided the trade-off would be he no longer got to sleep at the foot of the bed, by my feet. Even when I place Taylor in his old spot, he leaves it quickly, and Olive and Cal take over.

Taylor lost the battle, but he’s clearly won some kind of war, as I once found Cal hiding in a box in the garage. He raised a tiny paw up to his mouth and looked at me pleadingly, “Shh! She has no idea where I am! Bitch on my ass all day, P!”

She really is. If she can’t find him, she cries out for him, running everywhere. When he’s napping, she’ll stretch out on the floor near him, curling her head upside-down and reaching towards him, like some kind of feline centerfold, spreading her legs and curling her tail. Cal might be gay, as he won’t go anywhere near her.

The main problem isn’t the fact that they run around chasing each other at all hours. It’s not even the fact that they now have even more toys than they used to. I didn’t even have this many toys when I was a kid. The problem is there are now more of them than there are of us, and it’s like a cat gang. They’ve won. They know they have all the power.

There’s also an incredible amount of mirrors in this place. Before our landlords, this house must have been previously owned by a very tall vain couple. Floor to ceiling mirrors are in more than one room — something that took about two months to get used to, and something that still makes new guests ask, “You guys shoot porn here?”

The mirrors and the cats make it look like we have nine cats. Everywhere you turn your head: cats. Cat there, cat over there. There’s another cat. Cat on the couch. Cat on the chair. Cat on the record player. Cat on purse. Cat on laptop. Cat on bed. Cat on laundry basket. Cat on middle of floor, right where you’re stepping. Cat chasing cat across your path. Cat jumping on another cat on your bed while you’re trying to sleep. Cats in windowsills. Cats in bathtubs. Cat in the toilet (Cal still loves drinking from the toilet. I don’t know anybody else with cat prints inside their toilet bowl).

They’ve also figured out that it’s harder to isolate the bad kitty. Now when something’s broken, knocked over, scattered or torn, all three of them wear the, “Totally wasn’t me” face. And there’s a reason each of them would be the suspect, and each of them have perfected the art of the silent alibi.

Nobody gets in trouble anymore. They have won. The cats have won. Cats: a million. People: negative nine.

They’ve knocked over an entire vase of flowers, eating many, many plants, they’ve left poop on all kinds of things, and the worst one of all, the very worst one that makes me nervous about going out of town tomorrow:

One of them peed the last time we were gone for a weekend.

Taylor and Cal have never peed on anything. But they’ve never been left alone with a girl cat while I was out doing God knows what with God knows who being an irresponsible cat owner. Someone got pissy and pissed. All signs point to Taylor, but that’s just because he’s always pissy. I have a horrible image of a giant cat fight, some meeting that turned sour, a poker game where someone was caught with an extra ace, and everyone fought — claws or no claws — scratching and kicking until someone just had to pee to end the horror, the torture, the agony of flying fur.

I just hope that this time I don’t come home to find someone has been pissing in my bed. What if when I leave Cal and Olive just take turns beating the crap out of poor Taylor? What if he and Olive shove Cal’s head in the toilet and give him a Swirlie?

When will the madness end? I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I don’t have kids because I’m not ready to deal with pee and poop and puke all day long. It’s all I deal with now! Every morning there are wails and screams until I scoop out a cup and a half of Iams Fatty Fatty Two-By-Four, Can’t Fit Through the Litterbox Door Diet. Then they take three bites each, look at me, walk a foot away and puke it up. Then they saunter off like proud bulimics.

I can’t win this fight. I’m now a kitty maid. There’s nothing I can do. They’re savages. Beasts I’ve welcomed into my home. I already thought that two cats were excessive. But three? Why am I trying to make myself a crazy cat lady? Wasn’t I already pushing it with the two cats and the constant conversation about them?

We tried to have company, and we dragged Cal out like some five-year old. “Show them that thing you do, Cal! Show them!”

Again, more proof that it’s time to take a couple of days off. Too much inside time. Not enough sunlight. Too much computers and cats. Cats and computers. My entire day is fixing the computer, fixing the cat. Saving the computer, cleaning the cat. Feeding the computer, feeding the cat.

What evil have they planned for my absence? They understand suitcases. Look at ’em. That look, right there, in Taylor’s too-large eyes. He knows. He’s plotting.

I’d better hide the towels.

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