A Cat Mystery

Photo: CA Hawthorne

Photo: CA Hawthorne

I’ve had many cats in my lifetime, each memorable for different reasons and all loving. A sampling would include my first when I was about six years-old. Ginger was a red tiger, strong-willed, and dominant. Later, in my teens, Pepper was fun-loving and a beautiful solid black. The most insane? That’s easy. Prudence. She was a tortoise shell and as at home in a cramped apartment as out in the country. She’d steal small items and perform backflips attacking string.

Photo: CA Hawthorne

Photo: CA Hawthorne

And then there’s Misha, my little gray cat.

If I described her in a word it’d be complex. She’s difficult to figure-out, even after 9 years. Oh, she exhibits many normal cat behaviors like affection, purring, cleaning, and napping, but she also has habits I haven’t seen before.

First of all, she’s one of the smartest cats I’ve met. You play a game with her a couple of times and she looks at you like What? You think I’m stupid? It isn’t alive. You’re moving it with your hand. If you press the issue she attacks your hand to prove the point. She’s easily bored and always demanding new challenges.

Each evening she patrols my home looking for something to kill. Spiders, I believe. She follows a course around the edge of the apartment, checking beneath furniture and delving into the deepest, darkest corners. When she first entered my life I was living in an old duplex where spiders were far too common. *shivers* The spiders (and duplex) are long gone, but the behavior persists.

Photo: CA Hawthorne

Photo: CA Hawthorne

During the night I’ll wake up and she’s sitting on the dresser surveying the room. Later, I’ll wake up again and she’s still there. What could she possibly be watching for so long? It’s a bit eerie.

I’ll hear noises in my bathroom that sound like a stampeding herd and it’s her playing in the bathtub. When I open the curtain she’s sitting there looking at me. No toy or trapped bug. Just her. Chasing her tail even at nine years-old? Possible. When she washes her tail it’s always a prelude to her racing around the apartment.

Christina and Misha

Photo: CA Hawthorne

Sometimes she lobbies me to play, but the moment I engage she sits and stares at the wall. Other times she becomes so excited she runs away—and doesn’t come back. I’ll find her in the window looking puzzled as to why I’m looking for her. Her brother doesn’t understand her, either.

We’re both a bit quirky and I wouldn’t trade her for the world. She’s that roommate who drives you crazy, but who’s your best friend. She keeps life interesting, and because she’s smart she’s easily bored, but I don’t mind the challenge. It’s frustrating at times, but that’s part of having a pet, part of the responsibility. Misha is a part of my life and enriches it. She’s more than an animal in the house, she’s a friend and companion.

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