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Muffett, a Very Senior Kitty


Muffett enjoys her personal
place setting, complete with rose.

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.

Scamp snoozing on the kitchen cabinets.

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.”

A very young Muffett.
Still growing into her ears.

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.

Author Sandra Wagner Wright

Sandra Wagner-Wright holds the doctoral degree in history and taught women’s and global history at the University of Hawai`i. Sandra travels for her research, most recently to Salem, Massachusetts, the setting of her new Salem Stories series. She also enjoys traveling for new experiences. Recent trips include Antarctica and a river cruise on the Rhine from Amsterdam to Basel.

 Sandra particularly likes writing about strong women who make a difference. She lives in Hilo, Hawai`i with her family and writes a blog relating to history, travel, and the idiosyncrasies of life.


  1. Beautiful color! Sadly, I do not have a cat, and I don’t think my hubby will change his mind on it with both him and my son allergic. But I can admire them from a distance I suppose. It’s funny to have stumbled across your blog post on twitter this evening as I just blogged about authors and pets, and wondering if I was missing out not having one. ha! Thanks for sharing!

  2. People who share their life with a cat(s) are blessed. I have been blessed my entire life by cats. Presently I live with a “clowder” of cats. Several years ago there was a very special calico cat with amber colored eyes. She chose to live with me an soon became Princess Amberina. She would take her meals in a porcelain bowl & her water from a teacup with saucer to match. The water had to be cold from the refrigerator.
    I have had the privilege of “waiting on” Miss Muffet’s when her household staff is away. She is truly royalty.
    Leonardo da Vinci said “The smallest feline is a masterpiece.” If you’ve ever met Miss Muffet you’d think he was referring to her.

  3. Miss Muffett confides that Priscilla is a miracle of kitty bliss. But wonders why she has not yet been served in a teacup.

  4. Miss Muffett replies that the ruth that cats are adorable is a not strange at all. It is the world as it should be.

  5. Aloha Jennette — thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. What’s your handle on Twitter? Frustrating when family members are allergic. Miss Muffett advises you pet every cat you can — even if they cannot live in you house.

  6. We have never considered ourselves to be ‘cat people’, but cats tend to gravitate to us. We even had a beautiful one show up unexpectedly and adopt us for her own. We named her “MisuMisu” called Misu for short…several years later while we were on the front lanai and Misu was sitting on a bench with us, a neighbor from up the street walked by, spotted her and cried “Chloe! Where have you been all this time?”…it turns out that Misu had been living just a few houses up from our Inn and when a second female kitty was introduced to the household her feelings were hurt and she looked around for another family to adopt…She lived with us until she crossed over the rainbow a couple of years later…

  7. Cats recognize our willingness to share, and recognize a good home when they see one. Thanks for sharing Misu/Chloe’s story. I once had a cat who would wander into our neighbor’s house, watch TV with them for half an hour and then come home. They thought he was a stray until they saw him on our front lanai.

  8. Thanks Sandra! I see that you found me on twitter. 🙂 I did have two cats. Sheena & Gizmo when I was a kid. At least I have memories, right?

  9. I, too, have always been a cat person. Loved my aunt’s cat until I got “Junior”, my first. Since then have had “Kookie” (named after a TV character, “Kasey” (for Kansas City, I think-my sister’s cat), “Twinkie” who had a litter-“Coconut”, “Tabby”, “Pirate”, & “”Twinkie”. Now have “Zoey” who had a brother we called “Ollie” named after cartoon characters and “Phoebe” named after the character on Friends. Cat names can be so interesting don’t you think?

  10. HI Judith — Thanks for your comment. It’s so interesting how our cats will tell us their names. And if we choose the wrong one, they will persuade us to change it to a more suitable nickname. All part of the mystery I suppose.


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