We have a new kitty. Back in May, my husband, Bob, had to have his faithful old cat Domino put down. Domino was about as laid back as a cat could be, loved tummy rubs, and had a purr like the roar of a thousand seas. Infinitely loyal, he was a great “starter” cat for a life-long dog person. Domino liked me, but he adored his daddy.
About a month after he died, we decided that we should get another cat because my 89-year-old mother-in-law, who lives with us, needed a companion. She lost her Scotty dog three years ago. Margaret has a real soft spot for animals and will do anything to avoid hurting their feelings. When Domino would exert his cat-itude by lying in the middle of the newspaper, Margaret meekly read around him until he went away to attend to more important cat business. Since she stopped driving this year and doesn’t get out much, we thought she needed someone to keep her company during the day. So we went to Paws no-kill shelter in West Linn. After looking over all the kitties, who were named for celebrities, we chose a little long-haired calico who had been given a lot to live up to when they dubbed her Michelle Obama. (Note to Paws shelter: I don’t think the real Michelle Obama is a biter. Though Barack might have a different opinion on that.)
We re-named her Laptop, hoping to give her a hint. When we got her home we discovered she liked to hide. The second day she hid so well that 10 hours passed before we found her huddled under the entertainment center. Eventually she grew to trust and now she’s an extremely sociable cat, but she still loves to crawl into and under things. Some days she opens and closes the lower kitchen cupboards just for fun. She doesn’t go inside, I guess she’s just making sure the pots and pans aren’t having a catnip party without her.
The day they made Laptop, the personality machine must’ve been stuck on full throttle. Not only does she do the typical tail-on-fire rampages through the house (spinning out on the recently uncovered hardwood floors) but she’ll also play with anything. Last summer I caught her tossing a recently-harvested carrot around the kitchen.
On another occasion she entertained herself by batting around imaginary toys. And most recently, the Christmas decorations have been her favorites. Now tell me, how does a cat figure out that window clings are something that can be removed? They’re completely flat. Laptop came up the stairs with one in her mouth the other morning, giving that guttural moan that warned us not to mess with Frosty, her prey.
I’ve never had a cat as vocal as Laptop. She has an extensive repertoire of meows, coos, purrs, and grunts. Every time I walk in the house she comes running to greet me, chattering out a stream of meows as if she’s telling me all about her day.
Another habit she has is tail flipping. Most cats express themselves with their tails, but the odd thing about Laptop is she uses hers the way squirrels do when they communicate with each other. That little flip in a backward direction, as opposed to a normal cat “swish”. I swear she does it just to give me attitude. When she’s annoyed she’ll turn around and give me that “talk to the tail” gesture.
Laptop has many hobbies, but her all time favorite is watching the toilet flush. She never tires of this game. Every time she hears it she comes tearing along, plants her front feet on the seat and peers inside. It’s like prime time for felines.
Bob and I have a tradition of making our own Christmas cards, which feature our cats. This year we decided that Ms. Personality needed to be on them. I figured I’d have to go through the usual hassle of trying to get her to cooperate while I posed her in various cute positions. Instead, she volunteered herself by climbing the Christmas tree as I was decorating it. Miracle of miracle, my camera was nearby. So, for those of you not on my card list, here’s a virtual holiday greeting for you.