Rosalba: a girl of the streets and her dirty old, mean old man

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, June 1993:

As among human beings, cats sometimes form
seemingly incomprehensible friendships, which make
sense only after noticing the details. One of the oddest
we’ve observed is between Catapuss, the grouchy old
bachelor, and Rosalba, a pretty young former feral. Kim
rescued Rosalba as a starving three-quarters-grown kitten,
who was barely surviving in inner-city Bridgeport. “Her
body was so badly twisted from starvation that she couldn’t
walk straight, she couldn’t keep her eyes open without
constant twitching, and her teeth were falling out,” Kim
remembers. “She was the most pathetic cat I ever saw.”
Yet she shared her habitat with a number of immense and
eminently healthy feral toms, who apparently looked out
for her to some extent.

We presume that Rosalba’s early experience with
the monster toms has something to do with why she’s
appointed herself nurse to old Catapuss––whose only previ-
ous close feline friend was a small grey former feral who
died of fast-spreading cancer after eating a bird who’d just
eaten poisoned seed corn in 1986. Though he has some
redeeming virtues, including sensitivity toward the suffer-
ing of other animals, Catapuss is otherwise best described
as the nastiest cat we’ve ever known. Exceptionally intelli-
gent, he’s also been quick to take offense and deliberate in
pursuing revenge all his life. His preferred form of revenge
for an imagined slight––for instance, not getting the lap he
wants or not getting his food within 30 seconds of when he
wants it––is to find something belonging to the guilty party,
then urinate or defecate on it.
When Catapuss yowls in complaint, Rosalba
comes running from wherever she may be, attempting to
placate him with body rubs. At best, he ignores her; at
worst, bats her away.
However, like many other grouchy old men with
pretty female attendants, Catapuss pays Rosalba for her
favors. Because he’s so obnoxious, he gets kibble on
demand, up on the kitchen counter, unlike the rest of the
cats who share a bowl on the cat room floor. Therefore,
he’ll jump up on the counter and meow––and as the food
appears, back away to let Rosalba get an extra ration
before meowing again if he wants some for himself.
Often as not, he doesn’t meow again, seeming to have
only wanted something for her.
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