One day I was walking along, minding my own business, when I saw a cat. There are a lot of cats in my neighborhood, so at first I didn't pay much attention to it. Then it hissed. It hissed! At me! I'm a cat person, cats just don't hiss at me! I crouched down and stared into the cat's eyes. It growled. It growled! At me! Cats never growl at me! At least, not unless I step on their tail or take away their favorite toy or try to clip their claws or something. But that's not the point. This cat growled at me, and I had to find out why. So I did something slightly stupid. I took the cat home.
Carrying it was not easy. It kept clawing me, and growling, and hissing. But that just made me even more curious about it. Curiosity killed the human. Well, not killed exactly, but I sure got a lot of scratches.
I finally got to my house and brought the cat up to my room, closing the door behind me so it couldn't escape. "Okay, Cat," I said, "how come you hissed and growled?" As if it could actually answer!
The cat's eyes searched the room and finally fell on my tape player. It walked over to it. I mean, the cat walked over to the tape player, not the tape player walked over to the cat.
"You want to listen to music?" I asked. As if it could actually answer!
The cat nodded. Nodded? It actually answered?
"Uh, okay, Cat." I turned on the tape player.
"MACAVITY, MACAVITY, THERE'S NO ONE LIKE MACAVITY!" blared the voice of Demeter. I winced, and turned it down. "He's broken every human law, he breaks the law of gravity," it continued in a more normal tone.
As the song continued, I stared at the cat. He was tall and thin, with a ginger coat. His eyes were sunken in, his brow was deeply lined, and his head was highly domed.
"Macavity's a ginger cat, he's very tall and thin, you would know him if you saw him, for his eyes are sunken in, his brow is deeply lined with thought, his head is highly domed…" sang Bombalurina.
Wait a second. I stared at the cat, and it nodded again. "Macavity? You're Macavity?" I asked.
The cat - Macavity - rolled his eyes. I got the distinct impression that he was saying something along the lines of, "You guessed it, Human," in a very sarcastic voice.
"Well. Macavity. I guess that's as good a name as any," I said, not really believing that this was the real Macavity sitting on my floor and grooming himself.
My door opened. "Lillie, turn that music dow- What's that!?" screeched my mom, pointing to Macavity.
"Oh, hi Mom. This is Macavity."
"Very funny. Do you know how many ticks and fleas could be on that thing? It could even be rabid!"
Macavity growled, and once again I got a distinct impression of what he was saying. "I'm NOT a rabbit!"
"Rabid, not rabbit," I told him. "Rabid means you have rabies."
"Why are you talking to that…that…that thing?"
I jumped at the sound of my mom's voice. "Uh… Well, you know how sometimes cats give you impressions of what they're saying?"
My mom looked at me strangely. "Whatever you say. But if that…that…that beast isn't gone soon…" her voice trailed off, hinting at the consequences.
"How about if I take it to the vet? And they give it shots and stuff? And they say it's okay to keep him?"
"Well… if the vet says it's okay…"
"Thanks, Mom!" I scooped up Macavity. "Can you drive me?"
A few hours later Macavity officially became part of the family. The vet said he was perfectly fine, and we even got him a collar. He didn't like that very much, and kept trying to get it off. We also got him food. Just regular dry cat food. I don't think he liked it very much. He growled when he first tasted it. He liked the food in our cabinets much better.
"Macavity!" I yelled as five boxes of cereal spilled open at once.
Macavity stuck his head out of the cabinet and gave a kitty grin. "Hey, you're the one who wanted to keep me, Human!" he seemed to say.
"And when the larder's looted…" I muttered as I shoved him out of the way and began cleaning up the mess.
"Okay Macavity, are you done for the day?" I asked when I was getting ready for bed. He had managed to rip up a few of my books, tear open a few of my stuffed animals, break one of my desk drawers, and hide the salt and pepper shakers, all in that first day.
Macavity gave me another kitty grin. "For the day, Human."
"Stop calling me 'Human'!" I said, exasperated. With him it was always 'Human this' and 'Human that,' and it was getting pretty annoying. Even if he never actually said anything, just gave distinct impressions.
He raised an eyebrow. Well, sort of. I mean, cats don't really have eyebrows, but that's what it looked like. "Since when are you in a position to command me, Human?"
"Oh, shut up."
"Humph," Macavity said. Then he curled up on my math book and went to sleep.
I was almost afraid to follow his example, fearing he might do more damage during the night, but I fell asleep too. Listening to CATS, of course.
I awoke the next morning (it was a Saturday, by the way) to the sound of purring. Macavity? Purring?
Yup. He was right next to my head, purring like his life depended on it. "Aww… that's so sweet, Macavity!"
He stopped purring and growled. "NEVER call me 'sweet!'"
"Okay, okay, sorry! I take it back, you're not sweet at all!"
"Good." Macavity started purring again.
I stretched and yawned. "I guess I should get up now…" I grabbed my glasses, put them on, and got out of bed. Then I looked down and shrieked. "Macavity! What did you do to my math book!?" The said book was in shredded pieces all over the floor.
Macavity stopped purring, looked at me, and raised an eyebrow. "Come on, you didn't really think I was purring because I like you, did you, Human?" Not waiting for a response, he put his head back down and started purring again.
I felt a growl of my own rising in my throat. "Great, now my math teacher's gonna make me pay forty dollars for a book that you destroyed!" I could just picture myself giving her my excuse. "I'm sorry Ms. Burrows, but my cat clawed my math book to pieces! And this isn't any ordinary cat, it's the villain from the musical CATS!" Like she would actually believe me! "Macavity the mystery cat, you are in a lot of trouble."
Macavity looked up with that kitty grin that was beginning to get on my nerves. "I know."
My door opened and my brother sleepily poked his head in. "Lillie? How come you're yelling 'Macavity?'" He hadn't met the newest addition to the family yet.
"Um… Jake, this is our new cat, Macavity. Macavity, this is my brother, Jake," I said.
Macavity hissed and puffed out his fur. "NEVER call me YOUR cat! YOU are MY human! Got that, Human?"
"Oh, sorry. This is my new…um…owner, Macavity. He happens to be a cat."
My brother looked at me doubtfully. "Hi Macavity. You're weird, Lillie." He yawned and left the room.
I closed the door behind him and glared at Macavity. "Great, now my stupid little brother thinks I'm weird!"
"This is something new?"
I considered. "Well, no. He's thought I'm weird for a long time. In fact, I've bragged about being the weirdest person in the world. But that's not the point!"
"And the point is…?"
"You annoy me, Macavity."
Macavity grinned. "I know."
CRASH! I yanked open my door a second too late. Macavity looked up from my jewelry box, which he had dumped on the floor. "Hello there, Human! Care to join me?" He grabbed a bunch of my rings and tossed them behind my desk.
"What? You don't like ring toss? Break a ring, get a prize!"
I picked up Macavity by the scruff of the neck. "Listen, you fiend in feline shape, you have got to stop this!" I dropped him.
He grinned. "Oh yeah? Who's gonna stop me?"
Then I did the only thing I could do. I shoved him out of my room and slammed the door.
"See ya later, Human!" came his muffled voice. Yes, he was actually talking with a voice by this time.
"Or the jewel case is rifled…" I muttered as I reached behind my desk to find the rings.
"Lillie! Lunch time!" my mom's voice floated up the stairs.
Macavity poked his head into my room. "Hey Human, time for lunch!"
"Stop calling me 'Human,'" I sighed, marking my page in the book I was reading. "And please don't grin."
"Whatever you say, Human," said Macavity, grinning.
"Oh, shut up."
"Lillie! Come down!"
"Coming, Mom!" I called down. I picked up Macavity. "You're coming with me, Mr. Mystery Cat."
"Suit yourself!" said Macavity, and he started purring.
I started worrying.
"Coming!" I ran down the stairs to the kitchen, Macavity in tow.
My mom stood up from where she was crouched in front of the refrigerator. "Have you seen the milk?"
"Not since this morning, why?"
I glanced at Macavity, who was purring like crazy. "Macavity," I groaned.
"Pardon?" asked my mom.
"I bet it was Macavity. Who took the milk, I mean."
My mom sighed. "Lillie, he's just a cat!"
"Mom, he's Macavity!"
"Lillie, Macavity is a character that T. S. Eliot invented!"
"Ha!" I said, noticing that Macavity had begun to slink away to the basement. "Macavity! Get back here right now!"
"Gotta catch me first!" said Macavity, and he zipped down the stairs.
I followed. And saw him open a carton of milk with his claws. "And when the milk is missing…" I muttered as I grabbed it away from him and
brought it back to the kitchen, trying unsuccessfully to avoid leakage.
"Hey Macavity, wanna go for a walk with me?" I asked. My mom, slightly annoyed about the milk incident, wanted us both out of the house.
Macavity yawned, stretched, and stood up. "Whatever you say, Human."
"Oh, shut up." I picked him up, put on a coat, and went out the door. Then I dropped him. Surprise, surprise, he landed on his feet.
He glared at me. "You know, Human, I've killed for less than tha- what's that?" He pointed across the street.
I looked where he was pointing. A small white dog was running around the yard across the street. "That's Bebe, the neighbor's dog. Why?"
"Oh, nothing," said Macavity, in a voice that said "nothing" was definitely "something." "She just looks…very…interesting."
"Uh-huh, yeah, whatever. Let's walk," I said, dragging him to the sidewalk.
He escaped my grasp and darted across the street. "Here, Peke! Come to Macavity!"
I groaned. "I should have seen that one coming. You've been following the song. Macavity, stop that!" I said as he started tying up poor Bebe.
"Pekepekepekepekepeke!" said Macavity happily.
"Would you stop that!?" Macavity sighed. "If I must." He unrolled the string he was using and Bebe went spinning across the yard. "Happy now?"
"Or another Peke's been stifled…" I muttered as I went to calm down the yapping Bebe.
By the next day I was getting scared. My neighbors the Applebaums have a huge greenhouse with a beautiful trellis, and they're really proud of it. And… well, you know what the next line of the song is. If my cat - er, owner - did anything to their greenhouse, they'd kill me. Well, not really kill me, but you get the idea.
"No more following the song, got it?" I said, tapping Macavity's nose to make a point.
He flinched, then grinned. "Whatever do you mean, Human?"
"You know very well what I mean, Macavity. And don't call me 'Human.' I have a name, you know." "I know. I just prefer calling you 'Human.' You are a human, you know."
I sighed. "I know, I know! But how would you like it if I called you 'Cat' all the time, huh?"
"That's what I thought," I said. There was a knock on the door. "Excuse me, Mr. Mystery Cat." I yanked open the door. "Hi," I began with a smile. My face fell when I saw who it was. "Oh."
It was Melissa Applebaum, possibly the most adorable and annoying nine-year-old in the entire world. And she lives right down the street from me, in the house with the big greenhouse. Ugh.
"Hi!" she said brightly, tossing her red-gold curls. "My mommy told me to come get something from your mommy. She said she knows what it is."
"Uh, okay," I said. Then I yelled up to my mom, "MOM! Melissa Applebaum is here!"
"I'll be down in a minute!" called my mom.
Great. Left alone with Melissa Applebaum for a whole minute. I guess Macavity didn't like the idea either. He hissed.
Melissa noticed. "Is that your new kitty?" she asked, pointing. "He's cute!"
"Actually, he's my new owner."
Melissa giggled. "You're funny, Lillie." Then, without warning, she scooped up Macavity.
"MROW!" he yowled in protest.
"Aww, you cutie-ootie-pie!" said Melissa, mashing the fur on his head.
Macavity threw me a pained look.
I giggled. "I think you're petting him the wrong way."
"Oh," said Melissa, and she started mashing his fur the other way.
Macavity growled loudly.
"Aw, he purred!"
I stifled another giggle. "That wasn't a purr, Melissa, that was a growl."
Melissa gave me a look of wide-eyed innocence. The opposite of her real self, I may add. "But why would he growl at me?" Maybe because you're an annoying, idiotic idiot, I thought. Okay, so idiotic idiot is sort of redundant, but I really don't like Melissa Applebaum. "Maybe he doesn't like you," I suggested. Cats are usually good judges of character, I added in my thoughts.
Macavity grinned. And scratched Melissa's arm. Hard.
"Eek!" She dropped Macavity just as my mom came in the door.
"Hi Melissa, here's what you need, I have to get back to work now," she said, shoving a bunch of papers into Melissa's arms. Then she disappeared back up the stairs.
"Good-bye!" said Melissa angrily. She stuck out her tongue at Macavity and stomped out the door.
Macavity watched her go, then rubbed up against my leg and started purring.
I scratched him behind the ears. "Yeah, I'm glad she's gone too."
Macavity purred some more. "I've never been so humiliated in my entire life! Calling me a cutie-ootie-pie! Thinking my growl was a purr! Honestly!"
"I take it you don't like Melissa Applebaum very much."
"I HATE her!" "Welcome to the club." I paused. "You know, people - or cats - who have a common enemy are supposed to be friends. Does this make us friends?"
Macavity considered. "Do I get to get revenge on that brat?"
"Count me in!"
So now Macavity and I are on pretty good terms with each other. It's amazing what having a common enemy, especially one like Melissa Applebaum, can do. Sure he still does little crimes, but hey, he wouldn't be Macavity if he didn't. Now he spends most of his time acting like a "normal" cat (although he still talks) and planning his revenge on Melissa. He won't tell me what he has in mind, though.
Oh, wait, I think I know! Oh drat…
CRASH! "Macavity! Not the Applebaums' greenhouse!"
Whee! Take me home!