My pet family is not a playful bunch.
My cat, If-Fiona is too fat to move.
The emergency back-up cat Bravery-Avery is afraid of his own shadow.
The third, Little Miss Charlotte, is a little daft: “A catnip-infused mouse — oh, look! A car! Hmmm.”
The dog, Delilah Jayne, will watch a ball bounce, bounce, bounce, and then look up for a treat.
Well, OK. Credit where it’s due. Avery once brought me a bat. A live bat. He wanted to make sure I got it, so he left it on my pillow — right next to my head. Yup. Woke up to a flying rodent inches from my head. I’d like to say it was the only time.
Charlotte brings me snakes. I learned quickly not to fling them by their tail out the door, as they … tear apart. Yeah.
Every toy I’ve purchased for my pets merely gathers dust. Even the fail-safe box. What cat doesn’t love a box?! I’ll tell you — mine!
My fish at work, “It-with-no-Name-because-I-have-trouble-keeping-them-alive” plays more than my furry critters. It and another beta share counter space at the office, and we know that over the weekends they frolic and leap from Mason jar to vase, laughing hysterically, knowing they’re pulling one over on us.
So I had a raised-eyebrow moment when I went to my friend’s house — I’ll call her … Marcia — to take care of her cats, Bogart (as in Don’t) and Nika.
Her cats are indoor cats, meaning they’re imprisoned. They don’t seem to mind because being indoors means they get food — and don’t become food.
So I was a little surprised when Marcia said, “Ooh, Nika! Look at all your toys outside!”
Outside? They’re indoor cats. I’ve been keeping them indoors all this time — fighting them from the door like a lion trainer at the circus — and you let them OUT?!
Ends up, Marcia was referring to all the fluttering moths outside. Nika was mesmerized.
We went outside and waited for a moth to land near the porch light. We were there for, oh, 20 minutes, because none of those that landed were “just right,” Marcia said.
But finally. The perfect specimen (although it looked like one she’d rejected 15 minutes earlier).
Marcia gently cupped her hand over the insect, nudged it from the wall and then began violently shaking her fist!
“What are you doing?! Are you okay?! Did it bite you?! Seizure? Marcia? Marcia!”
“I’m shaking the powder off its wings,” she said, laughing. “Now, watch. This is great.”
She placed the now-dazed and powderless moth — all you animal-rights people? Please don’t call me — in front of Nika. It stumbled, then fluttered, crashed and fluttered some more. The moth didn’t do much better!
Marcia explained that, in moth physiology, if you shake the dust from their wings, they can’t fly as high, making them the perfect toy for lazy cats. Dust removal? Seems more like shaken-moth syndrome. Brain damage.
Anyway, Nika pounced. Flutter, pounce. This went on for about five minutes, until Bogart strolled over. BAM! He smashed his paw down on the moth, picked it up like some prehistoric caveman and ate it.
“Game over!” Marcia announced, laughing cheerily.
“Uh, yeah. That was … fun,” I said. “Now what?”
“We get another one.”
Capture, shake-shake-shake, release, flutter, pounce, flutter, pounce — BAM, munch. And again.
I can only take so much amusement, so I left. I got home to an email from Marcia: “When I went back in, Bogart was choking on moth wings,” she wrote. (I swear I could hear her laughing.) “And the next toy, I must not have shaken enough. It flew up to the light and Nika is yowling at it.
“ACT III,” she wrote later. “The third moth I caught with its wings folded — much better for depowdering. Nika batted it twice, then Bogart ate it.”
She’s got me thinking, though.
I can see If-Fiona going for this; he wouldn’t have to move much.
Bravery-Avery? He might like the spasmodic action.
Charlotte? She’d be a great cheerleader, until she got distracted by a pattern in the wood floor or something.
And Delilah-Jayne? She just wants a treat.