Friday, February 23, 2007

Cat Trick

My charcoal gray cat Tyrone has taught me that I mustn’t leave used up wads of kleenex lying around unattended. He did this by a fascinating process that can only happen with a cat’s brain as catalyst.

Step 1. Cat sees wad of kleenex and thinks, “Hmm. That looks like a toy.”

Step 2. Cat, who thinks he is David Beckham, swats the wad of kleenex around the floor, looking for an opening to make a shot on goal.

Step 3. Cat shoots; scores. Did I mention, the goal is the cat’s water dish?

Step 4. After letting the kleenex soak for a while, cat triumphantly removes it from the goal, carries it in procession to the bedroom, and presents it to his master—usually, by dropping it on the foot of the bed, right where the master is about to put his foot at 4:30 in the morning. What a way to wake up!

Step 5. Master shudders, throws away the wet gob of tissue, and is obligated to praise cat for his industry, cleverness, and athletic prowess.

Well, that’s an old story. A more recent twist began when I was taking the little plastic strip from around the lid of a brand new jar of Miracle Whip. It was the crackly kind of stiff cellophane that the cats like to play with, so I dropped it on the floor and let them get on with it. And boy, did they!

A couple nights later I heard a plasticky crackling sound as I got into bed and found the much-chewed remains of the cellophane strip in and amongst my bedclothes. So I reached over lazily and put it on my desk. The next night, while I was reading in bed, Tyrone hopped up on the bed and started sniffing around the edge of the desk for something to play with. In order to divert his attention from pieces of paper I would rather not find full of tooth-marks and soaked in water, I rewarded him with the piece of cellophane, and even played with him for a while. Then I threw it on the floor and he went after it.

Five minutes later he dropped it on my leg and it ricocheted onto the bed. In the process it splashed me with about a quart of water. It’s amazing how much water a small strip of cellophane, scrunched and perforated by cat’s teeth, can hold all the way from the water dish in the kitchen to my bed, while being carried in the jaws of a cat. It was very bracing.

And of course, I had to laugh and praise the cat for his cleverness, the little stinker. What can I do about it?

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