Editors Notebook July 2005: Cat

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I am owned by a cat. For those of you who are cat lovers, you know what I’m talking about. Cats differ from dogs in that dogs try to please their owners, while cats simply see their owners as someone to please them. We are there to serve their every need and demand.

Alvin is 8 years old and has long, gray-and-white fur. He has successfully wrapped me and my ‘noncat-person’ husband, Jon, around his little paw. We try desperately to maintain the upper hand, but inevitably we find ourselves taking orders. He’s hard to resist because he looks like such a sweet and innocent creature.

However, despite Alvin’s innocent looks, we call him our eternal toddler. He can get into mischief faster than most people can blink. Much like a toddler, if our backs are turned, he will be into something that he shouldn’t. Knowing this, we should be prepared when he pulls a new stunt. However, he never ceases to amaze us.

Lately, Alvin has decided that he likes cheese. I have no idea why, because we’ve never fed it to him. But still, whenever a bag of cheese emerges, he comes running. After awhile, I guess he got irritated with our unwillingness to share, so he decided to take action.

One recent Sunday afternoon, Jon sat on the couch with a bowl of macaroni and cheese. Alvin approached as if to sit on Jon’s lap, which is nothing out of the ordinary. In fact, most cats will wait until your hands are full and you’re busy with something before they decide they need attention. But to Jon’s surprise, this wasn’t a social call, it was a mission. Alvin took a swipe with his paw and sent the bowl flying. While Jon desperately tried to catch the bowl before it hit the ground, Alvin pounced on the spilled food, eating as much as he could before Jon could catch him. Knowing he was in trouble, Alvin then ran and hid.

When he finally returned, his look of innocence was back. He acted as though he knew nothing about what had happened. But when he rolled over to have his belly rubbed, tangled in his long fur was evidence of his misdeed. The scene was so outrageous that I couldn’t bring myself to scold him, and we spent the rest of the day laughing as we picked wet, sticky noodles off our angelic cat.