When Peep went outside after eating her breakfast on Sunday she found Rudy crouched and trembling on the walkway to the back of the house. Rudy’s eyes were wild and her tail was lashing wildly. “Rudy, what in the world is wrong? You look terrible!” Peep rushed over to her to see if there was anything she could do to help.
“I don’t know what’s wrong with me, Peep. I’m shaking, I’m angry and I can’t sleep. I’ve been wandering around for most of the night, trying to figure out what to do. Help me!”
Peep commenced to groom Rudy. That always calmed her down, but it didn’t seem to have much of an effect on Rudy. Her tail had stopped lashing, but she was still trembling. She didn’t seem to have a fever, and Peep hoped that she didn’t have some communicable illness. “Has anything happened Rudy? Is anything different?”
“Well, you know I did that horrible thing to Daddy’s computer last week, but I dealt with that. I haven’t used the computer since then. I don’t want to do anything else bad to it. I haven’t been bitten or scratched by an animal, so it’s not rabies or anything like that. The only thing that’s bothering me is that I haven’t been able to watch my story since Wednesday, and I don’t know what’s happening with Natalie and Jessica. By now one of them could have had a miscarriage or Natalie could have been kidnapped or murdered.” As Rudy said this, her tail started going again, and it smacked Peep right in the eyes.
“Watch that tail, Rudy. I know you’re upset, but I don’t need your fur in my eyes. This isn’t the first time you’ve missed your story for a day or two – what’s different now?” Peep continued to groom, hoping it would calm her again.
Rudy carefully considered this. “If I missed a day, I’d check the website where they post a very complete summary of what happened with all the humans that day. But I don’t want to use the computer in case I do something bad to it. But I need to know what’s happening. Even if I watch on Monday, Natalie and Jessica may not be on the show. Not everyone is on every day. I might not find out what’s going on with them until it’s too late. It might be too late now. Jessica might be Elijah’s hostage and injured. What can I do?” Rudy had stood up as she began to talk about the two humans and by the time she talked about Elijah she was pacing.
Peep felt she was not equipped to deal with this type of problem, but didn’t want to just leave Rudy in this state. “Rudy, why don’t we walk for a bit. Maybe that will help you calm down.”
“Calm down? Why should I calm down? I need to know what’s happening, and calming down isn’t going to do that. The television station should repeat those episodes more than just once, and that in the middle of the night when people are asleep. It’s all their fault. Or Daddy should have one of those DVRs that can record the episodes for me. The VCR will only record them if I’m there to turn it on. If I’m there to turn it on, I might as well watch the show. Everyone is conspiring against me to keep me from watching my show! It was you, Peep, who kept me from seeing it on Friday. You were talking to me about that darn fox, and by the time I went inside the show was over. It’s your fault too!” Rudy had worked herself into a state, and Peep backed off slowly, afraid that Rudy would attack her. Instead, Rudy ran off into the woods.
Peep ran to find LT to tell him that she thought Rudy had finally gone off the deep end. She found him talking to Greymalkin. Although she would have preferred to keep their problems within the family, she decided that it was more important to let LT know what was happening with Rudy. As she explained what had just happened, Greymalkin’s face became very serious. “Peep, LT, let me talk to her. I think perhaps I can help her. I’ve got some experience with problems like this.”
With that Greymalkin headed off in the direction Peep said Rudy had headed. She found her deep in the trees, crouched and trembling again. “Rudy, it’s Greymalkin. Peep said you were having a really rough day. Do you want to talk about it?”
Rudy looked at Greymalkin, with her expression of concerned caring and began to wail. “Everything is all wrong! I can’t watch my show because Daddy won’t get a DVR and Peep distracted me and the darn computer got viruses because of that Nigerian man. Why do people keep doing these things to me? I just need to watch my show.”
She rambled on for several more minutes about how terrible her life was and how Peep and LT conspired to keep her from the television. They’d even told her that she was obsessed with the humans on the show, and that she shouldn’t care so much about television characters.
When she’d finally wound down, Greymalkin looked at Rudy and asked her if she could tell her a story about her own life. Listlessly, Rudy agreed. “When I was a younger cat my human used to grow catnip on the windowsill. She’d clip bits of it and give it to me. Oh, it was so fun to eat the catnip and then run around like a maniac! I’d roll and pounce and have a great old time. After a few months, I got tired of waiting for her to give me some, so I started helping myself. Every few days I’d jump up on the sink and nip a bit off so I could have a bit of fun. Then it was every day, and one day I found I’d eaten the whole plant. There was no more catnip. I knew my human had dried some of it and put it in bags, so I found the bags and wow, the dried catnip was even stronger. I just used a little bit of it at first, but within a week I’d gone through all the dried catnip, and was exhausted from all that running around. I wasn’t taking care of myself. My fur was all dull and starting to mat, and I’d begun to lose weight from all the running. I wasn’t even eating all my food, although you’d think I’d be starving from all the running.”
“After I’d eaten the last of the dried catnip I noticed that my human had planted a new pot above the sink. It had barely started to grow, but I didn’t care. I ate the whole plant and knocked down the pot to eat the roots. They were covered in dirt and tasted terrible, but I didn’t care. My human found me several hours later, digging through the dirt looking for some little bit of plant I might have missed. She picked me up, ignoring the mess and took me into the bedroom far away from the catnip. She held me and talked to me, telling me that she was afraid I’d become addicted to the catnip, and that she couldn’t give me any more of it. She said it might be tough for a few days, because I’d been eating a lot of it, but she’d stay with me and help me. She did that and a lot more. Rudy, I think you are addicted to your story the same way I was addicted to catnip.”
Rudy looked at Greymalkin in horror. “You’re an…addict? You? You look so normal. Not like some strung out cat with her hair going every which way!” Oddly enough, Rudy didn’t think that this described herself perfectly right now. “I watch a television show. It’s not a drug like catnip is. You can’t be addicted to television.” Rudy shook her head as she said this.
“You can be addicted to absolutely anything. Humans haven’t cornered the market on addiction, but they seem to have the greatest variety. Drugs, alcohol, gambling, eating, shopping – all those things aren’t physically addictive like catnip. Just think about it Rudy, and if you want to talk, I’m always here for you.”
With that, Greymalkin slowly walked away. She didn’t go back to LT and Peep, as she wanted her conversation with Rudy to remain between the two of them. She just hoped that Rudy would come to talk to her again about it. Rudy did need help.