On caregivers, faith, family, and writing…

Published in the Rains County Leader on March 19, 2019:

Curious catsWhen I say that Kitty keeps us straight, I don’t mean that she keeps us on the straight and narrow. What I mean is that, because she is a curious cat, and she always wants to be where she’s not, we have learned to put things away and batten down the hatches.

Like most cats, Kitty enjoys batting small objects around the floor before knocking them under the grandfather clock or between the refrigerator and cabinet. Then, she stares mournfully after the lost toy until I put my laptop aside and retrieve the toy. She thanks me by either knocking it back into hiding or marching away with her nose and tail in the air.

She’s particular about the small objects, mostly ignoring the toys from the pet store inkitten in trash can favor of grape stems or wadded up Sweet N Low packages from the trash can. In our kitchen, there’s no space for a large covered container, so we use a small, open one that’s the perfect height for a snoopy cat. Her choices aren’t as bad as they could be, but I don’t really enjoy leaning over to pick them up – or retrieving them from under the clock. The grape stems are a pain, though, if she decides to chew them up and leave little pieces all over the place. We’ve learned to push the favored items down under a larger one in the can and to empty the trash frequently.

We’ve also learned not to leave small objects on top of the bathroom countertops. Favorites are tubes of lip balm, plastic dose cups from cold medicines, caps from any kind of tube, safety pins, and anything else that moves easily and makes noise on the tile floor.

cat at the doorIn addition to small items, Kitty loves doors – any size or shape, going in or out. As long as it’s open, she wants to go through it. We’ve learned that, if she’s missing, the first place to look is the closet. No matter how carefully I watch, she manages to slip in unnoticed. Sometimes she signals that she’s been shut in by waving her paw under the door, or sometimes she sits patiently waiting for it to open. Mostly, though, she curls up on the extra blankets in the corner and takes a nap. After closing her in a few times, we’ve become pretty good at checking when we’re finished. If she’s taken up residence, instead of trying to coax her out, we leave the door ajar and yell to anyone within hearing distance, “Kitty’s in the closet.” That way, when one or the other of us sees her strolling through the living room later, we can run into the bedroom and close the door. It’s about the only exercise we get these days – that and picking up grape stems.

Two other doors that fascinate her are the office door and the door to the small bathroom in the front of the house. David doesn’t like her to come in the office, mostly because he’s afraid she’ll disrupt his filing system which consists of stacks of papers on various surfaces including the floor. He knows what’s in each stack, but after Kitty has taken a stroll through them, no one knows.

The bathroom door fascinates her, well, mainly because it’s closed, but also because Cat in the plantthere is a shower curtain which makes the tub a perfect Kitty hiding place. Besides that, there are two potted Peace Lilies in there. One was a Christmas gift from a special friend, and the other was sent to Mom’s funeral, so they have sentimental value. But to Kitty, they’re just a nice salad with a side of dirt. That’s why they ended up in the the bathroom. I always close the door, but David sometimes forgets. A couple of weeks ago, he was in there, and I heard a thump.

“Kitty knocked over one of the plants,” called David.

I looked up in time to see him heading down the hall, probably to get a broom. He had apparently set the pot back up, but he had left the door open, and Kitty was up on her hind legs, elbow deep in potting soil.

“Door…open…Kitty,” I spluttered as I set my laptop aside and rose from the love seat.

Kitty doesn’t pay much attention to me when I speak, but when I get up, she knows I mean business. She was out of the bathroom and at the other end of the house before I could get the words lined up in my mouth.

I’d like to say that David always closes the door now, but that would only be true about half the time. Still, the plants are doing well and haven’t suffered any more attacks. I’m planning to move them out on our new front porch when the weather warms up enough. I won’t have any small, toy-like objects anywhere in the vicinity, and there won’t be any closed doors to attract undue attention. I’m hoping the neighborhood strays won’t discover them and think I’ve installed a new feline salad bar.




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