Ventures and Misadventures With Our Feline Friends

We picked up our first Siamese kitten, Chi, while on our honeymoon. That was forty years ago. Since that time we have been held hostage by a succession of seven additional cats.

Chi was the fountainhead of too many bizarre experiences. He was unmercifully unkind to strangers, so we had to contain him in the bedroom when we had company. One day a friend stopped by our upstairs apartment when we were not at home. That darned cat backed him down the stairs with the ferocity of a guard dog.

On another occasion, we were hosting a Friday-night gathering of teacher friends. One individual begged us to allow the cat to join the party. When he later attempted to pet Chi, he sustained a puncture wound through his right thumbnail. That’s one way to send guests home early!

The cat’s favorite retrieving toy was a rabbit’s foot. He would often interrupt our sleep by trying to instigate a nocturnal game of fetch. Smart me, one night I snatched it away from him and stashed it under my pillow for safekeeping. In the morning, I gasped to find a dead mouse under MY pillow!

Chi loved to go in and out at will during the summer months, so we removed the screen from a small window, something I do not recommend doing. On a warm, perfect morning, the phone rang.

The neighbor lady shrieked, “Close your window.” I did so just in time to block the entry of a proud cat returning with his prey, an 18” live garter snake. That was the end of the open-window policy. We made the cat use the door like everyone else. Shortly after, however, there came the day when he did not return. That is why I say to keep cats indoors.

Next, we acquired Ming Toy and Mocha. Those two Siamese forced us to wire our Christmas tree to the ceiling and to remove all decorations. A good reason for not putting up a tree. Good reason, too, for not making homemade wine. We had a batch maturing in the kitchen. One day the cats were in chase mode.

Ming jumped onto the lid that covered the brew, causing it to shift sideways. She fell into the abyss and went berserk. That antic wiped out several rooms, and I cleaned for hours! And, worst of all, we had to pitch the wine because we lost all interest in bottling it.

Later we acquired Tikki, Takko, and Tillie. Our three children grew up with this Siamese trio. I have no stories to relate because, like a savvy mom, I made the kids responsible for the cats. The last one of that group died at age 21, just after our oldest child was married.

Yes, too soon the kids were gone, the cats were gone, and there was too much quiet. After one year in a house that had no cat hair for visitors to take home on black pants, we returned to the former insanity. We purchased two purebred Ragdolls, a seal point, and a blue point. “Capp” ‘n’ “Cheena” we call them, named for my favorite coffee indulgence.

Ragdolls are a special breed. Their traits meld well with our semi-retired way of life. They romp and are mischievous for only a short spell each day. Mostly they just sleep and radiate loveliness with their long, soft, silky coats, and, especially, with their sweet presence. And how fine to be greeted at the door again with the softest of mewing sounds.