These days, when you walk into my house, you are met with a barrage of warnings:
\”Better hide that scarf inside your coat pocket, or the cat will play with the fringe.\”
\”Let\’s put your boots in the closet so the cat won\’t chew the laces.\”
\”Please do NOT leave your purse on the floor, or the cat will rummage in it.\”
In the past, I\’ve neglected the purse warning, which is how we\’ve ended up with:
#1 a tube of lip balm
#2 a felt zippered bag, containing ear buds
#3 a soft eyeglass case (empty)
#4 many tissues, some used, some not.
Whenever I bring something into the house, even if it\’s just a stack of mail, Telemann is on it like a flash: What is it? What are you doing with it? Can I have it? Not that I wasn\’t forewarned: at nine weeks old, when he saw me filling out the adoption form, he jumped on the page and tried to grab the pen out of my hand.
He\’ll be two years old this month, and he doesn\’t break as many things as he used to. Now he just appropriates them. In the night, when we are sleeping, he roams the house looking for interesting stuff–paper clips, small ornamental objects, the contents of unsecured wastebaskets–then plays hockey with his findings until they disappear under the furniture.
His favorite toy is a long \”snake\” of fuzzy fabric attached to a stick. I can get him to chase it and do air-borne pirouettes for a minute or two, but then he catches it, kills it, and, with his head held high, drags it into the mud room.
The mud room is his territory. Not only does it house the litter box, but the hot water pipes run under the floor, which remains toasty winter and summer. The mud room is also where, a year before we got Telemann, a mouse squeezed through the hole where the heating pipes come into the cottage. My spouse stuffed the space with crumpled chicken wire and we\’ve had no more mice. But that doesn\’t deter Telemann from spending hours staring fixedly at the spot where that mouse once entered, hoping to add him to his pile of loot.
True, my magpie cat is a pain sometimes (often). But when he jumps purring into my lap, gives me a slow blink, and says, I\’m the BEST thing that\’s ever happened to you, I am almost tempted to believe him.