Toddlers have their favorite blankie. Dogs have their favorite toy. Cats don’t usually have a favorite….anything, but mine does. I got her in May and at Christmas my son got her a wonderful bird, pictured above. It sung as it flew thru the air and had nice wing and tail feathers. She was scared to death of it for the first day, then decided maybe it wasn’t so scary.
Then she began the process of bird abuse, or maybe it was just breaking the bird in. Before long the poor thing had no tail and no wings, and it had been beaten around so badly that it even lost its voice. That was in 2010. Since then I’ve bought 2 more as spares in case anything happened to The Bird, but like some other stories, there can be only one. The other 2 lay on a windowsill, untouched. She did beat them each around a little at times so they don’t have wings or tail or voices either, but since then she only wants the one. And some time since then, it stopped being a toy, and became a possession instead.
Over the years, teeth marks have appeared on The Bird, and that makes it very easy to pick it up and run off with it quickly, which is important, as I’ll explain. And here’s what it has looked like for several years now.
Cats don’t value possessions, but that’s what The Bird is; not a toy. She carries it around with her, and seems to always know where it is. There’s a psychology with her about The Bird that I will never understand. When she sees some other animal out the window, many times she runs off and gets The Bird and brings it to the window sill, as if to show it off, like: look what I have. She sometimes goes and gets it and will come running real fast to wherever I am with it in her mouth, making as much meow noise as she can with an object in her mouth. Maybe then it’s a gift to me, like an outside cat brings their people dead mice and grasshoppers?
When she brings me The Bird, I am expected to get down on the floor and comment about it and pet her, and I guess this is my responsibility as a form of thank you for the gift. Sometimes she comes running and talking with The Bird in the middle of the night. I don’t get up to give the compliments then; I tell her I’m sure it’s a nice bird and I’ll look at it in the morning. I’m a well trained human, which humans should be, but in the middle of the night, not so much.
This thing is very important to her. Twice in the last 6 months there have been times when she moped around and just wasn’t herself, and I thought maybe she was sick. Both of those times it then hit me: I haven’t seen The Bird for a couple days. Both times she had dropped it down behind a wicker hamper that sits in front of her favorite window. As soon as I gave the bird back both times, she picked it up and started carrying it around and talking about it.
Well this morning I created An Incident with The Bird. I changed sheets and put the dirty ones on the floor, then gathered them up and took them to the washer. Imagine my horror when the load was done and I started taking things out of the washer, and saw……….this.
Oh no, this is a cat who doesn’t like strong smells of any kind, and sometimes runs away even when I put on hand lotion. Now I have washed The Bird, and it smells like a nice, flowery fabric softener.
I took it and gave it to her and she didn’t seem to be interested right then. Maybe there was no reason to want it then, or maybe it smelled….bad. I’ll wait a bit and see whether she will accept a lavender scented bird, or that she might have to accept one of the substitutes from the window sill till The Bird, the one with the good teeth marks, loses it lavender scent. I got one of the other ones and put it on the floor, in case she forgot about them, and would like to choose it instead. Cats, keep your humans well trained!
Yep, she’s always been a very unusual cat.