Monday, January 11, 2010

Mollie's Bedtime Story

Our cat Mollie's ongoing personal development from mostly absentee roommate to animal pal has been really remarkable over the last three years.

Mollie's new thing: The family bed.

Now, Mollie has always made nighttime excursions onto household beds; my first night here, for instance, I awoke to find a neatly severed mouse's head laid on the quilt. (True story.) But these visits used to be solely while the humans were asleep.

Then Mollie began to check in when we went to sleep; shortly after turning off the light we'd hear a pitter-patter of little cat feet approaching from the hallway, then a cheery "Brrrrt!" and feel her jump lightly upon the bed. She would walk up and down the quilt a few times...then jump off and spend the night elsewhere.

Ever since we installed a television in the bedroom, though, Mollie has been hanging out with us for extended periods of time. Maybe it's because she enjoys the Food Network and the cheesy reality shows that make up the bulk of our must-see TV. (As I mentioned on Facebook, Pawn Stars is just like Antiques Roadshow, but with tattoos.) But now when it's bedtime she follows us into the bedroom, waits for us to get situated, and then leaps onto the bed: "Oh! Hey! Hi!" Mollie touches noses with Gertie, who at this time of day is a little tired and grumpy, self-exiled to the foot of the bed and not terribly happy that the humans are watching television. Then Miss Moll saunters up the bedspread, purring like a motorboat, and collapses into a writhing ball of kitteh happiness, pushing her head into the palms of our hands and boxing us with her feet. And she stays there until the TV goes off.

It's a surprising as well as endearing new quirk, especially contrasted with Mollie in the morning, when after her breakfast she stalks off to her room -- once a spare bedroom we referred to as The Grandchild's Bedroom, before it became Mollie's Room -- and spends the day atop her pillow on the bed. Mollie's grace toward human interlopers here lasts about 30 seconds -- if I need to get into the closet I make my apologies to the disapproving creature glaring at me from across the room, do what I need to do and skedaddle -- and Gertie is so intimidated that she won't even cross the threshhold.

It may be true that you can't teach an old dog new tricks, but our old cat seems to have taught herself a new one.

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