Just in case you you believe I am inviting you to be with W.C. Field in a flashback, as he writes a screenplay under the nutty pseudonym of Mahatma Kane Jeeves for the 1940 movie, The Bank Dick, then you are only partially correct. You also might know that he named his character, the Dick, Egbert Sousè, but I am not going to write about the character either, although if you want more information on the character, movie, or W.C. Field then please visit this site.
Our Egbert Souse, a Siamese cat that is very independent, smart and manipulative, was named after W.C. Field’s character, twenty years ago in July! Sousè came to live with us two years ago, after his brother died from kidney failure. After his brother’s death, Sousè became very lonely while his owner was working many, many hours. We were asked if we would take Sousè since we are always home. Without thinking, I agreed and so once again we had a cat to tend. Our first pet cat was usually a sweet, quiet cat. I felt that Catnip had trained me well enough and the transition to another cat would be easy!!
As Catnip initially trained me in the nuances of being a cat owner, Sousè began his lessons soon after he arrived. He quickly bonded with M. and each day the love and security between the two of them blossomed and strengthened. I was another story. Souse tolerated my presence and quickly decided that I was his house servant!!
Sousè understands and does whatever M. asks of him. If they are upstairs, Sousè accompanies M. down the stairway by heeling. He heels so perfectly he should be an example to all dogs who don’t understand the idea!! Now that he feels he is one of the family and is familiar with many new things he continues to be attentive to M’s wishes or commands.
This summer he discovered the great outdoors. Each morning after after his final breakfast he tells M. he wants to go outside for a journey around our house, a visit to the neighbor’s house or even sneak a walk down the bicycle path. Most of his walks are fine, but occasionally he is gone for too long of a time. Then, the search for Sousè begins. M. will go around our house and then go in the opposite direction. Next he’ll check the neighbor’s house and look under all the bushes until he finally sees Sousè sauntering along at his usual slow pace. He calls to him and begrudgingly he returns to our house. On these occasions Sousè will let us know he is not happy that we cut into his outdoor time.
At 6:00 p.m. each night Sousè is on his love seat in the family room waiting for M. to watch TV. If M. should be busy on the computer, Souse waits patiently for one hour and then he lets M. know that he is getting impatient. When M. arrives and lays down Sousè finds a particular comfortable spot on him and they both watch TV. Yes, Souse watches TV.
Yes, that is the sweet, adorable, loving Sousè. Let’s move forward a tad and it is now late in the evening on a night during the first year. The lights are out and I am asleep. For many months Sousè believed I was made to be at his beck and call. Starting around one or two a.m. whenever he was hungry I was awakened by the cat. If I didn’t awaken fast enough he simply meowed, guttural utterances that I would hate to repeat here. After a while, Sousè was distinctly aware that I did not like getting up, but the harangue continued with one little thing. Now he remained on the sofa meowing until I came to get him and carry him to the bowl!! I tried to be nice and accommodate him, but after a while it got on my nerves and we had many words–mine and his. He definitely uses his cat vocabulary to tell me off and defend his place in the home.
Eventually we came to an understanding and he would let me sleep through the night. Now I get my morning call about five a.m. each day. He prefers a small breakfast first and then another small portion a couple hours later.
Feeding is also an experience. He is extremely particular and does not like many cat foods. Eventually he made his case my insisting his favorite food is finely diced, broiled, breast of chicken which he prefers lightly seasosned and cooked until just done so that it is still soft and juicy.