Mauki the Wonder Cat
My friend Stacer has been writing occasionally about her two kittens (Mogget and Tildrum) and it's been bringing back some fond memories of my time with Mauki.
The first thing that I noticed about him was how incredibly intelligent he was. It amazed me, how he could figure things out for himself. Shortly after I got him, I woke up on a Saturday morning with a horrific headache. I tried to watch something I had taped the night before, but just couldn't stay with it. So, I grabbed a couple of extra-strength Tylenol and went back to be.
As I'm lying there, face-down, I feel Mauki jump up onto the water bed. A moment later, I feel these tiny little feet walking up the back of my right leg, all the way up my back to my shoulder. Then he was gone. A moment later, here he comes again. I tried to suppress a giggle, wondering what he was up to. Again, he got to my shoulder and then was gone. A moment later, here he comes again. By this time, I can't hold it in and I'm just lying there giggling.
He got up to my hip, and I rolled to my left onto my right side. He made his way to my left hip and then sat there. I said "What are you doing?" and he hopped down onto the bed, got up close to my face and nuzzled me and then gave me a kiss on the chin. Then he curled up next to my throat, purring like a chainsaw, and stretched out his paw and gave me a pat on the cheek. I thought to myself "Now isn't that sweet....." In a few moments, we were both asleep.
After about an hour and a half, I woke up. No more headache. Mauki was still lying in the same place. He sensed I was awake, got up, stretched, then got in my face again, purring at me. I reached out and stroked his little head with my left hand and the thought dawned on me that he had sensed I wasn't feeling well and came in to keep me company. Smart cat.
In a very short time, he learned to understand me in two languages, and even taught me some of his. He understood the difference between "No" and "Ah!". If I said "No", he understood that whatever he was about to do was normall OK, I just didn't want him to do it just then (like hop up into my lap or play with something). But if I said "Ah!", he knew he'd better back off.
For such a little kitten, he had a pretty good vocabulary. He had sounds to tell me he was bored, or wanted some affection, or wanted to play (I heard that one a lot!). He could even say "Please", and ask for water. But the one that really freaked me out was the morning he managed to tell me his litter box needed cleaning. I'm still not sure how he got that idea into my head.
He was also very affectionate, which might have stemmed from the fact that he was taken from his mother when he was only 3 weeks old and I "rescued" him from the clinic at 7. He bonded to me like SuperGlue. I became his surrogate mommy and his daddy. In keeping with his high level of intelligence, he got me trained pretty quickly. When I came in in the evening, I had to put down whatever I was carrying, get whatever I needed for about the next hour, and go sit in my recliner ("Daddy's chair"). Then he'd come over and tell me he wanted some affection. I'd tell him "It's OK" and he'd either jump up into his chair and make his way across the end table and over the arm of the recliner into my lap, or he'd let me know he wanted me to pick him up. Either way, he'd curl up in my lap for about an hour, purring until he fell asleep.
What was really adorable was when I'd rock back in the recliner and set him up on my chest. He'd sit there with this expectant look on his face, and I'd say "So, what you wanna do?" Sometimes, he'd paw at me a couple of times, which was a sign he wanted to play. Or he'd just curl up on me and purr while I stroked his little head. Or he'd rub his little face against my cheeck and give me a kiss. Sometimes, I could get my face close to his and say "Kisses?" and he'd give me a kiss. He never seemed to tire of being close to me.
His other endearing quality was his playfulness. Oddly enough, he was a "cheap date". He didn't need any expensive toys. I had bought him the standard catnip "mousey", which he loved, as well as a little wire ball with a bell in it. "Ball" wasn't all that much fun, so it was no big deal when Daddy stepped on it one day, rendering it useless. I also had a length of yarn tied to a 3/16" dowel rod. That was always fun, but I had to be careful that he didn't play with other "strings" that he found around the apartment.
But his favorite toy was "Paper" -- the foil wrapper from a Hershey Bar! One evening, during our daily ritual, he was coming across the end table when he noticed someting shiny. I had gotten myself a Hershey Bar and crumpled up the foil wrapper into a ball and left it on the table. He stopped to inspect it, pawed at it, and knocked it onto the floor. Well, Daddy could wait awhile while he checked this out. He batted it all over the living room, entertaining both of us in the process. When he finally got done, he came back up and got into my lap for the usual "nappy".
His intelligence came into play one afternoon when he had been playing with "Paper" for a while. I was watching the news and not paying any particular attention to him (although I tried to be aware of where he was and what he was doing). After a while, he came over and sat down in front of me and said "Please?". I looked down at him and said "What's the matter, little guy?". He made a couple of sounds that let me know something was wrong. Then it hit me. "Did you lose 'Paper'?". He stood up, fully alert. I stood up. "Well, show Daddy where it is."
He walked over to my little chest freezer and stood there looking between the freezer and the wall. I took a peek. There was "Paper", wedged between the freezer and the wall. "OK," I said, "let Daddy get it for you." And he moved back out of the way to let me retrieve "Paper" for him. I set it down in front of him and said "OK, there you go". Nothing doing. Daddy had to make it go again. So, I flicked it across the floor, and he hauled butt after it, batting it all around the floor again. He was pretty good at getting that thing lost. He lost in once and we never found it again.
There are a lot of other neat memories I have of the little guy, but they'll have to wait for another time. Meanwhile, thanks to Stacer for giving me a push down Memory Lane.