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Layla: You’ve got us on our knees. October 28, 2009

Posted by ourfriendben in pets, wit and wisdom.
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Our friend Ben was quite disturbed to return home last night to find a distraught Silence Dogood screaming and shrieking about the state of her computer. As Luddites, we’re not exactly adept at computer maintenance. We turn it on, we turn it off, the end. So I’d already been perturbed when Silence had accused me of wrecking her computer by checking some sports statistics on ESPN over the weekend rather than turning on my own laptop.

Now, however, it appeared that I’d been exonerated. It wasn’t ESPN but our hefty cat Layla who was apparently responsible for wreaking havoc on Silence’s computer. Silence had twice discovered Layla sleeping peacefully on the computer keyboard, while all hell broke loose as a response on the computer itself. Poor Silence had spent hours trying to regain access to her files, and her nerves were in shreds. According to Silence, Layla was on very thin ice indeed.

But Layla isn’t just any cat. She and her brother Linus were born outside our cottage home, Hawk’s Haven, as a result of yet another pregnant cat being dropped off here because we live in the country. There were two other kittens in this litter as well, and, as we always must when some swine drops off a pregnant cat here, our friend Ben and Silence had to steel ourselves to take the kittens to a shelter when they were old enough to be weaned and eating well on their own but still young enough to be adoptable.

It soon became apparent to Silence, however, that Linus was the most gorgeous cat ever to walk the face of the earth. He wasn’t exactly the smartest cat—in fact, his IQ probably rivals that of an orange—but he was definitely affectionate. Silence managed to persuade me to bring Linus indoors.

But on the day we let Linus inside the house, something unexpected happened: His sister Layla rushed inside along with him. Linus had no clue what was happening, but Layla, the smartest cat we’ve ever seen, was determined that she was coming inside and living with us, and she made no bones about it. We watched this performance, looked at each other, and shrugged. If she really wanted to live inside with us that much, we supposed we could survive three indoor cats (we already had our senior red Maine coon, Athena). And it was very clear that she was coming in to be with us, not to keep her brother company: Even Athena eventually warmed up to Linus, but he might as well be the Invisible Man as far as Layla’s concerned.

We’d named her Layla because it was obvious from the start that she had all the brains and her brother got all the looks. (Not that Layla is homely by any means: With her long, plush grey-and-white coat, big plume of a tail, and striking green-yellow eyes, she’s a big hit with everyone who visits us. It’s just that Linus is the, well, John F. Kennedy Jr. to Layla’s Caroline.) We suspected that Layla would, in the words of Eric Clapton, get us on our knees:

Layla, you’ve got me on my knees.

Layla, I’m begging, darling please.

Layla, darling won’t you ease my worried mind.  

Sure enough, Layla has proved to be a handful. Recognizing that we humans appear to communicate through vocalizations, she talks to us nonstop. While the other cats are happy to get occasional attention, when Layla wants to be petted, she will not take no for an answer. And she torments our puppy Shiloh to the point that we’re ready to pack it in and move to a deserted island, leaving Layla in charge of our house and grounds.

Layla’s involvement with the computer is a new development and quite another matter, however. As mentioned, our computer skills are primitive, as in Cro-Magnon-like. But we use our computers as our connection to the outside world and our source of income. So when a cat arbitrarily screws up our whole setup by lying down on the laptop keyboard, we go on red alert. Severe fussing seemingly had no effect, since Silence found Layla on the keyboard again when she returned from lunch. And worst of all, our home office door doesn’t really close, so even if we kept it shut, Layla could push it open whenever she felt like strolling in. 

Layla, you’ve got us on our knees. Layla, we’re begging, darling, please. Layla, darling won’t you ease our worried minds. And keep off the bleeping computer keyboard?!!! Thanks.