Like most people, I have a lot of stuff in my life. Some stuff is practical and I use it on a daily basis; some stuff is extremely important and sentimental; some stuff is silly, unnecessary and frivolous, but I still want to have it; and some stuff has been sitting in my house for years, never to been seen or used at all. Within all this stuff that I have, some of it I take really good care of, some I am a bit more lackadaisical about, and some things I ignore.
My cats are a lot like me when it comes to this behavior and organizational skills — they also have a lot of stuff they have collected throughout the years that they use or take care of in varying degrees.
The stuff they like and use the most are the toys that reside under the couch, rather than in the toy baskets that are conveniently placed about in the living room. Because they love these toys so much and can’t get to them once they are under the couch, it forces me to vacuum far more frequently than I prefer to. A typical couch score usually includes a wadded ball of paper, several assorted catnip toys, one straw (why?), a milk top ring, a pen (why again?), a dismembered feather toy, and a favorite pompom toy that will immediately end up back under the couch.
The toys that do remain in the toy basket, never to be touched by my cats, are the ones that have no use or sentimental value to them at all. Boring plastic jingle balls, plush toys that no longer smell like catnip, motorized fake mice, and ingeniously clever toys designed by humans that no cat would ever dare play with are at the top of the list for my cats.
My cats also have stuff that they hide really well — that would be their revered fake mice. You know the ones I mean; they actually look like they have real fur and not some plush fabric or felt trying to pretend to be a mouse. As soon as I bring these home from the pet store, they are immediately batted by my cats like they are playing a serious game of hockey, with the storage drawer under the stove being the intended goal.
Naturally, once the mice are under the stove, the cats stare at the drawer, willing it to open so they can get at the mice again and so I will intervene and help out. My natural instinct is to pick these poor mice up and return them to their natural habitat, i.e., the wicker toy basket in the hallway, but I get the indignant glare of death from my cats that clearly I have lost my mind, and then I have misinterpreted their stare because now they just have to bring the mice back under the stove, one by one, and start the bat the mouse under the drawer process all over again.
I find that my cats even have some stuff that is so important that it gets special attention, like Ms. Fuzzy Pink Pompom ÔÇô- she is a toy that is so spoiled she gets her very own pet bed to nap on.
Then they have some toys that are allowed to take a swim in their water dish ÔÇô- poor unsuspecting toys that are unceremoniously plopped into a bowl of tap water — and some toys are even equipped with magical powers; these are the toys that are dropped at designated places to barter for favors. A toy placed in a food dish will channel the Food Gods to fill it, and a toy strategically placed by the back door will ensure the Outdoor Adventure Gods that they will eventually be let outside (supervised) to hunt for lizards and bugs.
Night is an especially crazy time for cat stuff in my house, and it takes me back to my college days. I go to bed every night with the house in relative peace and order, and every morning I wake up to what appears to have been a wild cat party. Toys of every size and shape will be strewn everywhere in a trail to my bedroom, almost like a drunken parade of toys that have escaped from the toy basket. Once in the bedroom, there will be at least a dozen toys passed out on the floor from the night of heavy partying.
It really is quite a sight and can get out of hand — I remember on one particularly crazy night, the toys even retaliated and tried to hold one of my cat’s captive after being fed up with being tossed about the floor all night like a hockey puck. And what’s worse, the stuff doesn’t even have to be theirs for them to take possession of it. I have found my shoes and glasses stolen by them, and I once had a cat bring me a teddy bear that was twice his size, dropping it at my feet like it was a great wild beast he had slain in the jungle.
What about your cats? Do they have a lot of stuff? Do they have some stuff they really love and some stuff they don’t care about at all? What is the craziest place you have ever found some of your cat’s stuff? Let us know in the comments.
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Deborah Barnes lives in Florida and is the author of the book, The Chronicles of Zee & Zoey ÔÇô- A Journey of the Extraordinarily Ordinary. She is the creator of the award-winning blog Zee & Zoey’s Chronicle Connection, which covers the everyday journey she shares with her cats as well as cat-related topics humorous and serious.