Bobbie's Beat: Mail and cat tales


Mail call: Last week’s subject regarding toilet paper drew more mail from males than from females. Go figure. It would take a shrink to tell us why. However, I’m losing interest in TP and am pretty sure my editor will be happy that I’m moving on to more substantial subjects. Here is a brief word about your always-happy email. I can barely keep up with reading it, let alone answering, so please don’t take it personally. If I had time to read and answer, there would be no energy left over to write this column.

Next subject, which will hopefully satisfy readers who continue to ask about my cat, Purrfect. I think there has been only one column about her, written months ago after being gifted with a 3-month-old kitten. She was handed over by my friend Kim Brown, who runs, with great efficiency, Animal Medical Care in Newport. Incidentally, Kim also happens to be the wife of Eric Brown, head veterinarian. Kim denies giving me this kitten but who are you going to believe? I have the power of the press behind me, and she doesn’t.

For those of you I think of as The Cat People, here is a Purrfect update. Other than satisfying cat queries, this week Purrfect and I are celebrating her first birthday. She doesn’t give a rip about this but I do, and here’s why. It means she is leaving her crazy kitten-hood behind, I hope. Pet people know that young animals are a bundle of energy — and trouble. I have a friend who recently got a puppy. For almost a week, my friend did not sleep through the night. When I called to be supportive, she sounded exhausted from taking puppy outside every two hours to do you-know-what. At least with a cat, you usually have a handy-dandy litter box. Until recently, whenever I saw Purrfect heading for her box, I would brace myself. Within three minutes, she would come racing out of the laundry room with ballistic happiness from cat colon relief. Twice she literally — by using the sofa as a launching pad — went airborne, knocking over a floor lamp. Fortunately, my friend Gina managed to put the lamp back together, twice. In a lifetime of cats, I’ve never been owned by one like Purrfect, who doesn’t seem to know she is a cat. 

Okay, let’s take a moment and analyze her behavior, which can’t be all genetic, although she is more Siamese than something else. Perhaps it’s the “something else” that makes her different, but I tend to believe the main component is that we bonded big time when she was so young. Her entire world, frankly, is me. I think readers are interested because in that long-ago cat column, I described the games we play that might cause a shrink to label me as certifiably nuts, which would cause me to accuse him (or her) as having no clue what life is like living with a pet and that we pet people resort to trickery in order to wear out our animals. Parents with toddlers do the same thing.

Here is a current Purrfect game account: 

  • Hide and Seek: This is a never-fail game because she cannot bear to let me out of her sight. If I go from one room to another, she follows. If I hide in a closet, she will meow and I will meow back until she finds me. And now you’re thinking a shrink would have a field day with that information.   
  • Paper Chase: If I wad up a ball of paper and toss it across the room, she will chase and retrieve. Her record is 11 times in a row to fetch the wad and drop it at my feet.
  • Spin Class: If I’m at my computer, the office chair that belonged to my husband sits beside me. Purrfect will leap onto the seat, dig in her claws and hang on while I spin the chair. After a dozen spins, she will flop off and stagger around like a happy drunk.
  • Hair Dresser: This activity has gone on from the get-go and is consistent whenever I sit down in my lazy-girl chair. Purrfect will get up on the back of the chair and proceed to rearrange my hair. I have taken half a dozen “selfie” videos as proof for friends who now say this is a grooming behavior because the cat considers me a litter mate. Swell!
  • “Walkies:” That word has to be in quotes because a British dog trainer used the term on a television series to demonstrate how to get a dog to properly walk beside you. I started using it with Purrfect just to see if she would hop on the household walker that I use like a wheelbarrow to transport heavy stuff. Riding on that walker is Purrfect’s absolute favorite thing to do. She resembles a ship captain at the helm of her vessel.

I know there will be mail from people describing games they play with their own clever cats. I do not anticipate hearing further on the TP topic. But, in spite of the arrival of spring, it would not surprise me to hear from someone about fruitcake!   

 

Bobbie Lippman is a professional writer who lives in Seal Rock with her cat, Purrfect. She is the author of “Good Grief: A Collection of Stories As One Woman Journeys From Heartbreak To Healing Through Honesty and Humor.” The book, with all proceeds going to the Rotary International Foundation, is available on Amazon, at JC Market in Newport and directly from Bobbie, who can be contacted at [email protected]


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