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Funny Adventures in Cat Adoption, Part Ten
Marley and Me ---Skeeter and We??
MyGuy and I watched the movie Marley and Me on TV last night. I had read the book a few years ago, but MyGuy knew nothing about it. Of course, movies often compress the plots and the number of characters in books, and perhaps this airing on television further edited out material. Whatever the case, the story line had so many parallels to our “cat house” that we simultaneously chatted with glee and squirmed with discomfort at the similarities.
By Cat House, I mean our modest residence: home to the jazz cat, a/k/a MyGuy, our curmudgeonly matriarch tabby cat ("the Goddess"), her plump peace-loving son, and our new rescue cat, Skeeter, who is the feline equivalent of a cyclone. Oh, and there are a few gardens and me.
If you are not acquainted with the plot of Marley and Me, I will not give it away. I’ll just point out a few similarities between the Grogan household and ours.
Grogans Crazy, good-looking dog............. Us Crazy, cute cat
Grogans Dog loves to chew...................... Us Cat loves to “love bite”
Grogans Dog gets into trouble a lot, but without mean spiritedness
....................Us Trouble is the cat’s purpose in life due to curiosity and confidence
Grogans Dog has limitless energy............ Us Ditto with cat
Grogans Family adores the dog............... Us Ditto with cat
Grogans Dog loves them back................. Us Ditto with cat
Skeeter’s Latest Mis-Steps
Munching on the daylily buds which I brought in from the garden and foolishly tried leaving out in a vase…
Biting off the small handle of the bathroom window screen. Yes, he gnawed off a metal weld…
Knocking a basket and 18 by 24 inch picture frame from the top of a tall 4-drawer file cabinet…
Jumping into MyGuy's sax case...
Trying to teach himself how to play a woodwind instrument (more on this in a future hub).
Yes, our Skeeter is a very busy, mischievous, wonderful cat.
In the same manner as the Grogans, we unequivocally adore him and his feline step-brother and step-mama. However, what we gain in light-hearted joy and surprises, we must balance with prophylactic measures which the first two cats never required.
What we must lock up:
One: Any food in which we think Skeeter will have the least bit of interest or curiosity. When we kept a few small red potatoes in a bowl on the kitchen counter, we found several of the smaller ones distributed throughout the house. I mean, ALL through a 2-story house. It was especially hilarious to find a potato lounging in the odd corner or hallway in the lower level family room. We guess he really batted those babies around like a moth coated with catnip in order to get them from the upstairs kitchen counter downstairs!
Two: Any partially finished craft projects. Anything with new materials, the scent of glue, or wispy delicate parts calls to Skeeter. He really wanted to play with my corn husk dolls as I made them.
Three: Safety pins on the couch. I used them to fasten together the sheets and blankets which protect our living room sofa from daily cat hair or (God forbid) a hairball. Skeeter has an exceptional talent at biting these pins to release them without any harm to himself.
Four: Paper clips, safety pins, medicine in foil packs. Skeeter has not hurt himself with these because we instituted their lock-up as more of common sense toddler-type precautions.
Five: Small framed pictures on the wall – we can’t lock them up – but we try to place a protective aura around them.
Six: Unscraped or partially scraped food dishes in the sink. OK, we do not wash dishes immediately after a meal. The first two cats followed an unwritten rule of staying off the kitchen counters, as least when we were awake. The intrepid Skeeter just leaps up and, I’ll admit, I have been so beguiled by his cute charm that I have not been a consistent or strict disciplinarian.
Seven: Dry cat food in the strong paper bags in which it is packaged by Purina and similar cat food companies. That Skeeter must have had quite a gala night tearing apart a twenty-pound bag which we thought was impregnable. The rest of the feline family also enjoyed the fruits of his attack on the sack.
What does NOT work to deter Skeeter:
Plastic carpet runner turned upside down like a bed of nails. This recommended anti-cat technic does nothing to discourage his exploring. He walks over it as if it is the sturdiest, smoothest surface.
Wet surfaces. The Goddess and Sammy thoroughly avoid freshly washed floors or a damp area where their water bowl may have sloshed over. On the contrary, Skeeter likes to hop into the shower after we humans have so considerately coated the bottom with water. He also likes to perch near a sink to swing at a trickle of water from a faucet.
What makes Skeeter instantly appear:
Opening the door to one of the rooms we have forbidden to the cats.
Pouring cat food.
Another cat crying in distress.
Cleaning the litter box. Oh, how he feels a great personal responsibility to monitor the litter boxes! The moment a human starts scraping the litter and removing what needs to go, he is there. At first, Skeeter tried batting the scoop to upset it and cause the droppings to fall back into the box. Now, he knows not to do that, but his ear to paw coordination amazes us. Skeeter lies on the floor outside the big red litter box batting precisely where the scoop is working inside.
When we are finished, his intense sense of his little world and what makes order in it consumes him. Skeeter jumps in immediately after we are done to replace what rightfully belongs there. What a dear little Nixnuts!
It is very good
Life hasn’t been the same since our little furball of bubbly joie de vivre came to our family. Is our Skeeter channeling the energetic spirit of Marley the dog? Whatever the source of his personality, we wouldn’t have it any other way. Sometimes Fate knows better than our conscious minds what we need.
Photos and text copyright 2011 Maren E Morgan