Cats, Greens, and In Betweens

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I noticed the herb garden kit piled along the kitchen wall untouched in its box from Christmas a year ago. Should I still try it or would the seeds be too old? I had given it to my teen-age daughter who wanted a plant for her room, but the idea of six pots to water instead of one was too much for her. It’s just as well that it is not in her room now, since her room is supposed to be her cat’s place in our house, too. (Cats don’t accept having a “place”; they make their own spaces as they will.)

All cats have unique qualities of their own and Josie’s is no exception. Instead of the usual almond-shaped eyes, his are big and round and always inquisitive, making him look more like a Chihuahua than a cat. That’s my brother’s nickname for him. He is also known as Lloydikins, Lloydy-B (for boy, I guess), and when he is especially frisky and showing his spunk, El Diablo. I picture him in a Spanish dancer’s hat with the pom-pom fringe around the brim and wearing a Zorro mask.

Lloyd loves to play tag. When enticed, he will lay in wait behind the several boxes cluttering one side of our hall and listen for Jo’s footsteps, which she makes sure he hears. His eyes wide, he makes a springy wiggle twitching all over, then leaps, pounces and standing on hind legs, he bites gently at her calves and knees.

He poses a continual threat to the gerbil who, now approaching 4 years old (very old for a gerbil), is still very active in his exercise wheel. If left unattended, Lloyd has been found sitting on top of the cage, sometimes asleep on it, but always intrigued by this possible prey.

Though we hope he will always have a playful side, his kitten days are behind him as he now bulks out with considerable heft. Besides dry food, which is always left out, he lives for his early morning moist food packet which Josie buys for him with her own money. I say he looks to her as his goddess – the keeper of the luscious silver packets.

We discovered recently that this cat also has a passion for stuffed, green olives. He went wild for them with a zest not seen even for catnip.

Mark, who was very reluctant to have a cat, is always upset with the white hairs on our chair cushions everywhere. Yet, he is the one who brings home the new playthings for him. Lloyd had his own Easter basket – I had put in a can of treats; Mark added a toy. “Daddy” has been caught with Lloyd sitting on his lap in front of the TV, which warms the hearts of his wife and daughters.

Our poor puss was really bent out of shape the other night as he poked around where he shouldn’t have been. Everyone in all corners of the house heard an extremely distressed cry – it didn’t sound quite like a cat, was that Lloyd?

He had gotten his tail shut in Kathie’s closet door as she shut it. It must have been a pressureful pinch; his tail hung drooping and dragging as he

retreated to his (Josie’s) room. We thought it might have a permanent kink, but as the night progressed, he seemed to be moving it more and more normally. It must have hurt like sin, poor fellow.

Like most cats, he is a plant nibbler. All my houseplants have brown tops that can only have come from the sharp bites of Lloyd’s teeth. I may start those herb seeds in a tray so I can keep close watch on them. Maybe I’ll transfer them outside later with some parsley I wintered over in the basement. I’ll save the pots that came with the kit for other plants. We should plant cat grass in them.

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