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Cat's view of big house: Big yawn

Friday, December 17, 2004

Hello. I'm the calico cat that lives at the Sullivan place.

You might as well call me Miss Kitty, because everyone else around here does.

I prefer to be called Adabelle, which was my great-grandmother's middle name. But I can't seem to get that across to the humans who live here. How can you tell humans anything?

Oh, don't worry. I get my message across just fine most of the time.

For example, I have everyone trained to pick me up when they come home.

And I've got my own electric heating pad -- scientifically adapted for pet use -- in my nest with the sheepskin lining in the garage. I have a food dish that's always full, and a water dish that wards off dehydration. And there's the special door just for me.

Of course, living in a garage is not the same as living in the big house, if you know what I mean. The garage is dry, which is important during thunderstorms. I don't like to let it show, but I'm scared spitless when there are booms in the night.

Perhaps you've noticed that the thermometer has taken a dive recently. Or maybe you haven't. After all, if your reading this, you most likely are not a cat or dog or hamster. I can attest that humans don't pay much attention to big swings in the weather, thanks to something they call a "thermostat."

The garage where I live -- with two motorized vehicles, two garbage cans, a barbecue grill, a workbench and a storage cabinet -- does not have central heat. I've called this to the attention of the Big Guy human, but he just scratches under my chin and starts uttering a bunch of nonsense about "Pretty kitty."

There's not a vain bone in my body, so I have no use for mirrors. I don't know if I'm pretty or not. What I do know is that I'm ready to eat at the drop of a hat, so I spend a lot of my time convincing the humans to add more cat chow to the never-empty dish.

Lately, I've taken a keen interest in the house where the humans live, which is not at all like a garage, as far as I can tell. I am constantly being reminded that I can't come in the door, no matter how mournful I look or how I hunch my haunches and make my tail shiver.

When the temperature drops to the teens at night, I do long to go inside the big house just to see what it's like. For example, do humans sleep on big heating pads? That's just one of the little things a cat like me thinks about on frosty evenings.

One day, there is a lot of scurrying going on. The humans are coming and going all day. In and out. In and out. As a matter of fact, there is so much traffic that the door to the big house is left open.

Well, I says to myself, I might as well have a look-see. Who knows when another opportunity like this will come around?

So in I slither, like cats do when they try to become invisible to humans.

Right away I notice how temperate the climate is in the big house -- tropical by garage standards.

I make a circuit of the family room and notice a lot of soft furniture and several items -- cushions, afghans -- with tassels. I made a mental note.

During a brief lull, I inspect the kitchen. How do humans eat? There isn't a single food dish on the floor. Maybe those humans aren't so special after all.

Oops! I'm spotted. Out the door I go. Back into the garage.

Frankly, I don't know what all the fuss is about. I'll bet they don't even have mice.

R. Joe Sullivan is the editor of the Southeast Missourian.

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