Ad­ven­tures with Pip the cat

South Shore Breaker - - Games - Les­[email protected]

LES­LEY CREWE

ARE YOU KID­DING ME?

I love cats.

I love all an­i­mals and adore dogs, but when some­one asks me, “Are you a cat per­son or dog per­son?” I am fi­nally ad­mit­ting that my heart does in­deed be­long to cats.

I am savour­ing ev­ery mo­ment with our cat, Pip. He’s 15 and not in great health. We lost his brother last year, so I am aware that our time with him is com­ing to a close. And that’s why every­thing he does de­lights me, even the fool­ish­ness.

His lat­est ob­ses­sion is a large piece of brown wrap­ping pa­per. Some­thing ar­rived in the mail and I made the mis­take of rip­ping it off the box and throw­ing it on the floor. Now, when in­door cats find some­thing new in their world, it’s like heaven. They are the nosiest crea­tures on the planet, so this piece of thick pa­per was in­stantly an­a­lyzed for sev­eral hours. Pip went un­der it, over it, lay on it and gath­ered it up like kitty lit­ter. Then I wrapped him up in it like a present to show hubby.

“Where’d Pippy go?” I sang. “Where is he?”

Hubby went along. “I don’t know! Where is Pippy? Is he in the room?”

I swear I could hear Pip tee­hee­ing un­der the wrap­ping. He was fool­ing us. What a great game. I even­tu­ally pulled some off to re­veal his face. “Oops! There he is! There he is!”

That lit­tle game is now the first thing Pip wants to play ev­ery morn­ing, af­ter a night of ly­ing di­rectly on top of my feet or nes­tled into my shoul­der. He jumps off the bed and runs to his pa­per, which is now very soft, crinkly and ripped from all the wrap­ping and un­wrap­ping. Be­fore I’ve even had a chance to get my cof­fee or go to the loo, he sits on his trea­sure and makes Puss in Boots eyes at me un­til I bend down and go through the rit­ual.

We have an­other roll of brown pa­per that will have to be put into com­mis­sion. This piece has had the bis­cuit.

And now he has an­other ob­ses­sion. I fi­nally found a cloth bag I like to take shop­ping in­stead of us­ing plas­tic. I bought it at a craft fair. It has the shape of Cape Bre­ton Is­land on it and says “Cape Bre­ton Crew,” which I thought was cute for ob­vi­ous rea­sons.

I was un­load­ing my shop­ping one day and put the full bag by the kitchen as I went out to the car for more stuff. When I came back, Pip was freak­ing out over the bag. He rubbed his face all over it and was lick­ing it and squig­gling on top of it. It was like he’d never seen any­thing so beau­ti­ful. I ended up putting it in my study be­cause I had Christ­mas gifts on the bed to be wrapped.

Pip lay on the lumpy bag all that day and night. He didn’t even come in to sleep with me. He was too busy rub­bing his cheek all over it. Hubby and I looked at him and couldn’t fig­ure it out. Then, I took a sniff and won­dered if the few bars of pep­per­mint soap I’d bought for a stock­ing was the rea­son for the ar­dour. Maybe it smelled like cat­nip?

The up­shot is that I have to peel Pip off the bag if I want to take it into town. And now it’s filled with cat hair I can’t quite get rid of, which I’m sure the store mer­chants are thrilled about when they bag my pur­chases.

Pip has al­ways been an in­door cat be­cause we live in the wilds of Cape Bre­ton. Af­ter los­ing our last cat to a fox, we made the de­ci­sion to keep Neo and Pip in­doors. But I’ve al­ways felt guilty about it, although our bird pop­u­la­tion thanks us on a daily ba­sis.

So now, aware that his time is lim­ited, I take him out on mini jaunts to the com­post bin or to fill the bird feed­ers. He sticks by me be­cause he’s not sure about the snow and cold. He loves to go in hubby’s shed and had a mad, pas­sion­ate af­fair with the lawn mower this sum­mer, rub­bing his whiskers all over the wheels and back end. (Prob­a­bly be­cause it smelled like grass, which he loves to eat when it’s avail­able.)

Pip has a tem­per and has been known to swipe peo­ple from time to time, but when he turns over on his back and shows me his black paws, I al­ways melt. He has the pret­ti­est face and he loves us so much.

How do you thank a lit­tle crea­ture for giv­ing you their whole heart for their en­tire life?

You wrap him up like a Christ­mas present for as long as he wants.

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