Muffett is our senior cat. She’s been with us for 18 years – which equals 88 human years. I remember the day we brought her home from the Humane Society. There were two kittens in the cage: a tortoise shell female and a ginger yellow male. When I held the girl, she quickly deduced I was a sucker for head butts. The boy was a wiggler. We took them both, because, as the Handsome Bloke said,
“We can’t just leave him.”
They must have been about two months old, which I suppose equals the toddler stage of human life. The dog, who had an unfortunate accident before we left the house that morning, was aghast.
“I knew you were mad,” she said, “but I didn’t think you were going to bring home aliens.”
I think she always assumed the kittens were a special punishment from hell. Stealing attention and cuddles.
By the time we got home, the Handsome Bloke had a name for the male –
“He’s a Scamp.”
And so he was, always floating to a high place to perch. Scamp, alas, is gone.
It took longer to name the female. Her primary activity is finding a comfy lap or pillow. She likes to snuzzle – especially if I’m reading something.
“Meow! Put it down and pet me.”
Her constant efforts to sit in my lap eventually earned her the name “Miss Muffett.” Of course, the “miss” dropped off a while ago. Now she’s “Muffett.”
Until Muffett, I thought cats were self-cleaning. But, she was a chubby kitty, and had to lean against the wall to groom. We soon agreed we would both be happier if I combed her. I suggested she could eat less or chase more, but she declined both offers.
“Meow! Scamp and I agree that he’s the Mighty Hunter. Remember when he caught the giant cockroach in the closet? He “crowed” for days. And he tells the story so often, I cover my kitty ears to avoid death by boredom.”
“Well, it was his first catch. You could catch a few insects yourself.”
“Meow! No chance. We have strict rules. My job is to pat my paws together in astonishment.”
“Perhaps you could chase birds? You don’t have to catch them.”
“Gee Whiz, Mom. Have some compassion. One stalker cat per household is all they can handle.”
Muffett continued her training program. Over the years she taught me to open and close the door on command. She has patiently explained that she requires a separate water bowl from the dog, and could she please have a few ice cubes. Wet food is better than dry. Tuna is infinitely superior to “mixed grill.”
At the moment, Muffett is teaching me the niceties of presentation. If you notice, in the first picture there is a rose next to her place setting. I suppose at her age, Muffett is entitled to a few extras.
Have you been trained by cats? Leave a comment and share how that’s working out.
Pictures by Author. All Rights Reserved.
Sandra Wagner-Wright is the author of Two Coins: A Biographical Novel and Rama's Labyrinth. Both books are available in digital and print editions at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple Books, and Kobo. Rama’s Labyrinth and Two Coins are available as audiobooks.
Sandra blogs weekly about topics related to her travels, writing life, and the incongruities of life in general.