I’m going to tell you a story. It’s about my cat, Goofus, which couldn’t be a more apt name because Goofus is a total doofus. Her look-alike brother was named Gallant (remember Highlights?). Of course the Goofus in Highlights was an inconsiderate ne’er-do-well, and my cat is the most affectionate goofball you could imagine. Here’s some of my cat’s behavior that makes houseguests raise their eyebrows:
1.) She’s compulsive about burying her food and water, which used to sit neatly on a little mat.
Now, the mat stays wrapped around the bowls like a folded origami napkin. My cat is so hesitant about uncovering her food that she’ll beg for more food rather than unearth what’s there. Her water bowl tends toward empty because the mat soaks up the water. Needless to say, this leads to pretty gross mat conditions.
2.) She’s obsessed with water glasses.
The moment you set a water glass down and look away, Goofus will shoot across the room, swirl the water around with her paw, then begin lapping it up in that cute kitty way. I keep a full water glass on one side of our sink at all times, in hopes of drawing Goofus’s attention away from our water. I’ve given up on reusing water glasses, and I keep mine on a high bookshelf that Goofus can’t reach. If you ever come over, I’d advise you to drink from a bottle.
3.) She loves beer.
If I set down a beer bottle, Goofus careens across the apartment and begins licking the mouth. I’ve gotten so used to it that we continue drinking our beer in spite of the cat saliva.
4.) She plays fetch.
Ever since I can remember, Goofus has enjoyed chasing her favorite toy, then running back with it in her mouth. At my old apartment, it was a camel hair sock. Now it’s a little rattling beige mouse. She runs to the top of the bookshelf and catches it there. Then she slides across the coffee table to catch it. Then she leaps and twists to catch it mid-air. Finally, she balances on the branch at the top of her cat tree and catches it, almost eating sh@t in the process.
In addition to having a favorite toy, Goofus also has a home base. No cat beds or expensive rugs for Goofus. Home base is a used blue bag lying on the floor near the kitchen. That’s usually where she drops her mouse.
If Goofus feels that she’s been cheated of her play time, she brings her beige mouse into the bedroom at 3:30am. After meowing and stepping on us to no avail, she sulks away. We usually find the mouse lying in the folds of our comforter the next morning.
5.) She’s attuned to my alarm clock.
If it’s a weekend or a day off where I don’t set my alarm, Goofus is sure to get us up at my usual time. Waking us follows this pattern:
(a.) stepping on me and meowing for 30-40 minutes;
(b.) lying on me and stretching her paw out to touch my mouth, then extending her claws ever so slightly against my lower lip;
(c.) walking over to the window and making a God awful racket by scratching the blinds;
(d.) rattling the candle holder on the desk; and finally
(e.) biting and scratching at the plastic trash can liner for 15 minutes.
Of course, there are plenty of normal things that Goofus does too, such as walking across the computer keyboard so that 50 i’s and 20 0’s appear in the middle of a Facebook post, “burying” her poo for 20 minutes by pawing at the cupboard, the carpet, and the trash can, squirrel watching, and killing flies.