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photo from here

I've been thinking a lot about the animals I've lived with over the years and remembering things that make me smile. I decided I wanted to capture some of those moments and I'll share some of them as I go.

I grew up with a siamese-mix named Kit. We actually stole Kit. Well, not so much steal as kitty-sat for my piano teacher and didn't give him back. I don't think we went quite so far as to refuse to give him back but when my piano teacher said they were thinking they couldn't keep him we took advantage. Kit was an outrageously funny (without intending to be as kitties often are) slightly twisted kitty. Most everyone that we grew up with has a Kit story and likely a Kit scar. One time, when I was at my piano lesson, he jumped into the piano and started playing about so that the keys were moving on their own. I was enchanted. At another piano lesson, we heard this thump thump thumping coming from the kitchen. My teacher went to investigate and discovered the noise was coming from the refrigerator. When she opened it, Kit jumped out.

Going after food like that is a characteristic of Kit that would continue through his life. He would jump up on the counter and grab the ham/chicken/roast that was our dinner and try to run off with it. I say try because frequently, his catch was larger then himself. Towards the end of his life when his poor teeth were falling out he grabbed a chicken breast from a plate on the table and dragged it under a chair to eat. When I went to grab him and the chicken he hunched his shoulders and growled. I picked him up but he kept hanging onto that chicken; even shaking his head a little like he needed to kill it. I absolutely adored him for that spirit in his old age. I hope I'm just as hungry and fierce through my life.

Much like a family dog, Kit would run around the yard with us kids as we ran shrieking and laughing. Sometimes Kit would hide in the bushes in the front yard and when someone would walk by he would run out at them, attack their calf and then run off. He must not have really hurt anyone or they were too embarrassed to admit they had a cat pounce on them (I like to think they all thought it was funny too) because no one ever complained. I thought it was hilarious and watched from the front window to see what would happen.

When I hear scientists talk about discovering animals' higher brain function I just roll my eyes. I can tell them that cats have complicated cognitive abilities. I've seen them pretend and even do things for a laugh. We had a pool (we lived in Arizona, it is necessary to have a pool for survival) and one afternoon we left in innertube next to the pool. Kit had more fun with that innertube. He jumped inside and peered at us just over the top of it. I think he thought he was spying on us. He laid his ears flat so we wouldn't see them (we did though, we could see the whole top of his head) and tilted his head back as he peaked over the edge of that tube watching my Mom do yardwork. I don't know what he was plotting or thinking but he skulked there for nearly an hour before he lost interest and walked off. He came back to that innertube frequently enough I believe he considered it his lair.

My absolute favorite memory of Kit was his wicked, slightly sadistic, sense of humor. It was well known in the house that Kit liked to be on the bed with you but liked having his own space. If you made the mistake of putting your feet too close to him, he would reach out bite your big toe. He wouldn't bite it in the traditional sense, he actually would just take your toe in his sharp canines and sit there looking at you with a deadly gaze. If you tried to pull your toe out of his grasp, he would ever so slightly bite harder. It was not uncommon to hear a family member laughing and hollering from their bedroom, "Ow ow ow ow! Help, come get Kit!" and someone would have to go to the rescue. It was also not uncommon that one of us would stand in the doorway, laugh, and walk off leaving them to their punishment. Kit would hold the toe until he thought you learned your lesson and then he would let go and I swear he would smile triumphantly as he looked away. He never broke the skin but to this day I can't help but curl my toes when I'm barefoot and near a cat.


What a character!

What a great story!