Easter morning I found myself doing a military low-crawl across the bottom shelf of a plastic shelving unit and under my basement stairs.
I had spent the morning searching for Minky, Forest’s favorite toy. I purchased a real mink tail at a historical reenactment a couple years prior. Forest loves to play with rabbit fur toys, and in the spirit of a true kitty, he loves to hunt for shrews when he visits my gardens. Forest took an immediate liking to Minky, or Minkus, as I have affectionately named the 8-inch, dark-gray furry tail.
At first I looked through the basement stairs and didn’t see Minky in the shadows below. I then focused on other possible hiding areas in our home.
The night before Easter, Forest was playing with Minky on the first floor. I heard his ritualistic deep meowing as he carried it through the house. Apparently it’s fitting to talk to Minkus while taking it different places and waiting for me to find it.
I can recall just two times that I’ve seen Forest carrying Minky in his mouth. He held it at one end while the other end dangled to the floor. He prefers to move Minkus under cover of darkness, adding to my element of surprise.
Every morning when I wake and every evening before bed I make sure that Minky is still lying on the living room floor. It is important to keep tabs on Minky because Forest likes to leave it in places that startle the bejeezus out of me. For instance, one night he was talking to Minky and suddenly hopped up beside my pillow while I was lying in bed reading. Forest left Minkus beside my pillow and hopped away. I verbally thanked him for the gift.
He must have understood my praise because days later, he brought Minky to me again while I was sleeping. I rolled over and placed my hand by my pillow only to grasp a handful of Minky. I know the feel of my cats’ fur and believe me, Minky in my hand made me sit up in bed quickly and toss the furry toy across the room in fright.
Minkus has appeared in many places I least expect. Among these places are the bathtub as I went to take a shower, on the kitchen sink beside the cats’ food dishes, in the kitchen sink, in the bathroom sink, and by the back door.
When Forest is outside with me in the gardens and catches a shrew, he usually brings it to me -ÔÇô a sort of offering, I guess. He often drops it by the back door so I see it immediately. And, he usually talks to it until I come to see what all the chatter is about. Once he brought me a young rabbit just as a mother cat carries a kitten by the scruff of the neck. The rabbit was alive; Forest just wanted me to see it. Again, I thanked him and took the rabbit to a safe location.
His gift-bearing actions also apply when he plays with Minky; thus, he brings it to me in bed, leaves it in the bathroom sink or places it by the back door. Recently I walked downstairs in the morning to find Minky submerged in the dog’s large glass water bowl. I cringed at the site of the soaked fur strip, realizing that it looked like a drowned rat. It took hours to dry Minky in front of a heat register before Forest could play with it again.
Before our Easter morning Minky rescue mission, one other major search for this toy took place. In our previous home we had a laundry chute, and in the basement under the chute I kept four small laundry baskets to catch dirty clothes. One day I noted that Minkus was missing and embarked on searching the house from one end to the other. After a lengthy pursuit, I found Minkus in an empty laundry basket below the laundry chute.
So, as other people were enjoying Easter morning brunches with family and friends, I was on my stomach under the basement stairs with a small flashlight plucking Minky from a dirty floor. Forest, my other cat, Jack, and my dog, Trucker, were all stationed behind me with their eyes fixed on the furry catch. I took it back to the living room and placed it on the floor.
Many toys that Forest tosses and chases entice Trucker to snatch them away in his mouth with glee. Minky, however, is sacred to Forest. In fact, I’ve never seen Trucker touch it. Jack and my senior cat, Joan, also respect the Minky-Forest bond.
I’m sure that Forest will continue to hide Minky from me into his senior years. I treasure our ongoing game of Minky hide-and-seek.
Do you play games like this with your cat? Let us know about them in the comments!
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