Halloween-ish Cat Meets His Match

By DOTTY CRONAN | Oct 30, 2019

“Popcorn! Cut it out! Mom, when will your cat stop hissing at me? Look at his back, it’s up like a Halloween cat’s.” My youngest adult son backed away, shaking his head in disgust. Dan is not the only visiting family member to receive this obnoxious welcome.

My cat, Popcorn, shows no partiality among family members; he greets them all in a despicable manner. My husband, Carl, and I are the only Cronans who receive no hisses. In fact, he shows his fondness for us by sitting on the lap of his choice or gifting us with an occasional purr. Popcorn seems to think it’s his house that he allows the two of us to occupy.

Dan owns two cats that love him, but accept us whenever we visit their human. When we enter Dan’s apartment with our suitcases, his cats rub against our legs with their purring motors in high gear.

Each time Dan visits us, he is greeted with the hissing, arched-back, puffy-tailed monster routine. At least it’s all hiss and no bite. If Popcorn were all black instead of white and black, he would be a perfect Halloween cat.

Is it the smell of Dan’s cats that bugs Popcorn? I don’t think so.

When our oldest, non-cat-owning son, Andrew, enters the house, he receives the same menacing welcome as Dan. Since Andrew arrives with his wife and daughter, they are judged guilty by association. Guilty of what, I do not know, but they are treated to the same deplorable behavior. They do not attempt to pet or even acknowledge Popcorn, as Dan does. So what’s Popcorn’s problem?

If it’s not the smell of other cats, the attention, or lack of it, what is it? Perhaps the suitcases and sleepovers cause Popcorn’s bad attitude.

Although, come to think of it, our middle son, David, who lives locally and brings no cat odor or luggage, or need to sleep over, receives the same treatment. Since David is the one who takes care of Popcorn every February when Carl and I take off to Florida, he is highly insulted by the behavior of the ingrate. For 28 days Popcorn tries to terrorize his cat sitter, who shows up for one reason only – to feed him!

When David finally found the love of his life and brought her to our family Christmas Eve celebration, the reaction of our monster cat was no surprise.

“Yikes,” said Shana, while pulling her hand away. “Why is your cat hissing at me? What did I do? Why doesn’t he like me?”

As Popcorn strutted off to our bedroom, Shana received a chorus from the visiting family, “Welcome to the club. He hates everyone who doesn’t live here.”

Carl and I pondered that idea, and rejected it. We often have friends over for dinner around the table or conversation in the living room. Once every one is seated, Popcorn sits in the middle of the room and strikes a regal pose by wrapping his black tail around his pure white body. With an innocent look, he tilts his head, showing off the distinctive black crescent under his left ear. Then the beautiful feline wanders off to plop on the foot of our bed – no hissing or tail puffing.

So there goes the “hates everyone who doesn’t live here” theory.

Now that David and Shana are married and parents of a beautiful boy, we’ve had many visits from friends and family to see our precious grandson, Raymond. Our friends receive Popcorn’s regal cat performance, while family members, including out-of-state Cronans who have never met the Halloween wannabe, receive the hissy treatment. Perhaps it’s just the name “Cronan.” One look at family, and Popcorn’s bad attitude pops up like a Jack-in-the-box. Since admirers usually surrounded Raymond when he was a  baby, he hadn’t yet experienced the wrath of Popcorn personally… until the day I had been looking forward to finally arrived.

Shana, going back to the workforce, dropped Raymond off at my house. I was going to have Raymond all to myself. I anticipated watching his gaze roam around the room in fascination: to the whirling ceiling fan, the ticking clock on the wall, the bright curtains blowing in the breeze, and finally, finally, landing on my eyes – and holding. Then he would smile and my eyes would fill with happy puddles. What a blessing!

Popcorn, of course, had other plans; this was to be Raymond’s initiation day. As the big, bad cat huffed and puffed and hissed, my little Ray of Sunshine turned the tables on him. Raymond’s giggles and wiggles sent one of his little fists smack dab into Popcorn’s nose, causing him to run in terror, successfully turning this into the initiation day of the “Halloween Wannabe.”

Dotty Cronan lives in Forked River.





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