Monday, October 30, 2006

Skinker, Slinker, Shrinker and King

My favourite cat, Sibyl, is a skinker. That’s right, skinker. Unlike our other three cats, she doesn’t stalk birds or rabbits or mice or rats. No, she spends her entire day with her nose firmly embedded in the dirt searching for skinks. I’m forever finding skink tails here and there – minus the skink. Sometimes we find the skink under the mat in the laundry – of course, by then, it’s too late. Today she brought one in, and as usual, let me know in no uncertain terms. “Mffflllrow!” The sound of a cat crying with a mouthful. She lets it go in the laundry and it promptly runs under the washer. Great! With some well-appreciated help from my daughter’s boyfriend, we managed to capture the poor thing and release it – still with tail intact. I have no idea what makes Sibyl a skinker. Her nose is forever dirty from snuffling in the dirt, so I have to clean it. But she seems very proud of her achievements, so I won't complain.

It never fails to amaze me how different one cat can be from another. They all have their own little personalities. Another weird thing about Sibyl is she hasn’t quite figured out that our labrador, Jasper, can’t feed her. She’ll come in and head-butt him continually to try to get him to get up and go to the refrigerator. He’s a bit worried about this, since our other cat, Percy, will come in and lick him as though cleaning him, then unexpectedly take a bite out of him. Sibyl’s sister, Piper, has her own little oddities. She's a slinker. She doesn’t like her head touched by anyone but my daughter and her boyfriend – her true owners. This despite the fact she’s lived with us for almost all her adult life. Once she went missing for over 9 days. We were sure she was gone for good – even had a small funeral service for her. Then one evening there she was, up on her perch looking for food. We still have no idea where she was for all that time, but aside from looking slightly skinnier, she’d come to no harm.

Jessica, our long-haired tabby, is a shrinker - overly skittish. If there’s the slightest sound while she’s on someone’s lap, she’s off like lightening; usually leaving welts and screams of pain behind.

Percy is the king of the house – though I’ve never seen him swipe at, bully or abuse any of the females. He must have some secret code that keeps them all subservient. But I do believe he teaches them bad habits. As a kitten, Percy brought in frogs and crickets and moths. He quickly advanced to mice, then rats and finally large rabbits. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to find the remains of a cow in our living room one morning.

Daily I’m bemused by the foibles of all our felines. I don’t think I could ever live without a furry four-legged friend in my life.


Anonymous said...

Hi Maureen! I'm following your life as a romance novelist with envy and delight! I'm jealous too that you live in Australia. That must be amazing. I just wanted to tell you that I am proud of you and, for what it's worth, encouraging you. I know that is coming from someone you don't even know, but as an artist I feel we have something in common. Words of encouragement, no matter where it comes from, means a lot to me and I assume you as well. I'll keep checking into your blog and as always I'll look forward to your fb posts. Keep up the good work. I'm anxious to read Passions.

Anonymous said...

AND I love your post about Sibyl. I adore cats, but alas, have none. Some day I will again. I love that they will bring you presents (I've never had a male cat do that, however. Do you suppose that is a female thing?). The ultimate show of love!

Maureen McMahon said...

Thanks JD. I really appreciate your feedback and support. As to cats, our cat Percy (Sir Percival Aloysius Winston-Smythe)rarely brought offerings into the house, but he had what we termed the 'killing fields' - under the bush out front of our house. He'd catch mostly rabbits and take them there to eat them. He was good at keeping rats off our property, too. The girls don't seem to go after the bigger prey, and since they bring them into the house, it's just as well they stick to mice, frogs and moths - as invariably they don't harm them, just let them go as a gift for me to chase and release.