Mackenzie was about 8 months old when he came to live with me. Even at that young age, he quickly established dominance. We've had quite a few adventures together, and he thinks it's time to write his memoir. So here it is with all the conditions he put on it. Be sure to read A Test. It may not be a good title, but it sets the stage.
The Way I See it
by Mackenzie Sigle
Table of Contents
Free at Last
Mourning Dove in Mourning
A Little Communication helps
Two Great Ideas
Exploring - Four Stories
I Got Its Tail
The Sink is Mine
A Perfect Summer Day
Mouse in the House
Little Sparrow Mystery
Mom says we should try a stream of consciousness for my memoir. She claims a lot of great writers do this. I'm not too keen on the idea, but Mom is excited about it, so I agree.
Before we get started I need to make it clear that Mom is not really my Mom. I'm a cat and she's a human. Enough said. But she refers to herself as my Mom so that's what we'll go with.
I make another big concession before Mom agrees to type up my manuscript. She wants to include her thoughts along with mine. I concede as long as she puts hers in italics so readers can tell us apart.
Okay. Here's a test of the stream of consciousness stuff.
Mom is getting the fluffy ball out of my toy basket. It doesn't roll as good as the little one, but it's softer when it hits me. Mom's aim is not that great.
He got me out of the chair. Is this what he wants to do?
She's looking at me and winding up her arm.
Ok. Here we go. Are you ready?" He doesn't look ready. Does he really want to play? Well, here goes.
She throws the ball and it doesn't come anywhere near me. Now I get to watch her go after it. I like to sit here and watch her run around. She comes back and waves her arm again.
"Hey, Sweetie. Look at me. Do you want to play or not?" If he doesn't want to play, what does he want to do? He's not looking at the ball. He's rubbing his cheek on the phone cord. Okay. Now he's looking at me again. "Look at the ball, Sweetie. Are you ready? Here we go."
The throw goes wild. It ricochets off the wall and bounces down the basement stairs. She mutters to herself as she goes after it. Might as well wash my face.
Guess this is how I get my exercise. He doesn't seem to be getting any.
Oh, oh. She has the look on her face. I'd better go for it this time. Otherwise she'll stick her nose in a book or something. The things I have to do to keep her moving.
"Here we go. Ready?"
That was a good throw. Finally. I zoom down the hall and pounce on the ball. I hold it to my tummy with my front paws and dislodge it with me feet. It rolls just out of reach. Mom will have to get it. No way am I going to. It isn't moving. It just lays there on the floor. Boring. I stretch out. Maybe Mom will give me a massage.
"You lazy thing." I don't think he really wants to play. Maybe he wants me to go upstairs with him. I'll throw the ball up there and see.
Mom throws the ball upstairs. Yes! I realize that's what I wanted. Time for a nap. I want Mom to lay down with me. The ball goes into her bedroom. I run in and lay down. She throws the ball to see if I want to play. No thanks.
He seemed excited to come up here. Now what? I might as well sit and see what happens.
Mom sits in her chair. I don't want her to do that.
"No. Don't scratch the chair. What do you want?"
Good. I have her on her feet again. I head for my bedroom, circle the bed and look up at her. I think she's figuring it out.
"Oh. You want to take a nap?" I'll lie here a few minutes and maybe he'll settle down.
Mom is taking off her shoes and her glasses. She's lying down. Great! I'll walk across her and give her a couple of kisses. I lie down and she puts her arm around me. I put my head on her for a pillow. Sigh.
"What a sweetheart you are." I'll lie here until he goes to sleep, or moves away and I know I'm dismissed. I hear the murmur of the TV downstairs. I'm missing the news. Maybe it's just as well..
I guess the place to start my memoir is when I first meet Mom. Later. I need a nap.
I've been left in this place with a lot of cages full of cats and kittens. I'm put to sleep so the vet can make sure I can't be a father. Nobody asks my permission; they just put me under the knife. I'm resting in my cage when Mom comes by. I like her looks. I think she's trainable.
"Oh, Mary. This is the one."
Mary says, "I thought you wanted a calico kitten. A female. This sign says it's a male, seven or eight months old."
"I know. But I've changed my mind."
Mom opens the door of my cage and puts her arm inside to pet me. Yes. She's the one for me. I try to crawl inside her jacket, and that clinches the deal. I'm not crazy about being put in another cage, but Mom is driving us home.
I'm supposed to put him in a small room and keep him quiet for a couple of days. I guess the best place is the upstairs bathroom. I can't close the door because I get up in the night. I'll put this big carrier across the doorway. He can't get out, but I can get in.
Mom leaves me in the carrier until she brings in food and water and an afghan that is sooo soft. I don't even hear her leave.
I wake up and the house is dark and quiet. Time to explore. I jump on top of the carrier and down onto the floor. Freedom. I find the stairs and keep going all the way to the basement.
Nature calls. I step over the carrier and discover the afghan is vacant. So is the room. "Mackenzie. Where are you?" No answer. Where would he go? Is he all right?
I hear Mom calling me. She's moving all around upstairs. She keeps calling. She's getting closer. Why does she sound upset? I wait for her at the bottom of the steps.
Whew. There he is. He looks okay. I pick him up, and he snuggles close. "Okay, Sweetheart. Let's go to bed."
Mom puts me into bed with her. Lovely.
The next morning she moves my food and water downstairs near the front door. That's the end of my confinement. Very sensible. Mom and I are going to get along just fine.
Mom leaves me alone more than I like. She says she's going to work and makes it sound important, but what could be more important than being with me?
While she's gone I entertain myself. Sometimes that means looking out one of the many windows in our home. Even the basement window is interesting. Chipmunks have tunneled into the ground under the window, and I like to watch them come up and run around. They move fast, but I know I could catch them. That's another story I'll tell you about later.
Right now I want to tell you about the bunny I see in the window well. He sees me and has a wild look in his eyes. He sits still and watches me. I sit still and watch him. He puts a paw on the glass. I put my paw on the glass where his is. Buddies. I keep him company until Mom comes home.
Mackenzie isn't here to meet me. He's always here, tail high. What's happened? "Mackenzie. Where are you?"
"I'm down here." I jump down from the bookcase and stretch out on the rug so she can give me a massage like she always does when she comes home.
It sounds like he's in the basement. What's he doing down there? I find him stretched out on one of Mom's rugs with the picture frames and ceramic elephant lying beside him. "Looks like you've had quite a time of it." I give him a massage before putting everything back on the bookcase.
This is my cue to jump up there again. I pat the window so she can see the bunny. But Mom isn't very observant. She's looking at me and all the stuff she put back. How can she expect me to sit up here with all that junk around? Focus, Mom. We have a bunny to rescue. I put my paw on the window again and the bunny thumps against the window where I have my paw.
"A bunny! Oh, my gosh. How did you get in there? How am I gong to get you out?"
Mom looks around the room like it might hold the answer. Guess not because she leaves and goes upstairs. How can she help the bunny from up there? Is she going to leave it? No. Mom wouldn't do that. She'll figure it out. I settle down to wait.
She comes back with our neighbor, Gert. They both come over to the window.
"Hi, Mackenzie," Gert says. "Looks like you've got a friend."
"We could open the window and get the bunny into one of those big leaf bags," Mom says.
"I don't know. What if we miss and it gets loose in the house? What would we do? What would Mackenzie do?"
They look at me like I might do something terrible if I caught it. That hurts. I'm the one that told Mom about the bunny.
Didn't I keep it company all day? Then again, it might be fun to chase it. I do my best to look innocent.
"I think we need to get it from the back yard," Gert says. "I'll be back."
They both leave me and go upstairs. Should I follow them to see what they're doing? But the bunny is still in the well. I might as well stay here.
Pretty soon I hear their voices in the back yard. Mom is standing beside Gert, who lowers a small basket that's attached to a rope into the window well. Gert puts the basket beside the bunny, but the bunny moves away.
Gert moves the basket to get the bunny into a corner. Now the bunny doesn't have any place to go. Gert tips the basket and the bunny hops right inside. It sits in the basket while Gert pulls the rope up.
As soon as the basket touches the ground, the bunny hops out. That night I watch from the patio door in case the bunny comes back. But it doesn't.
I think anything that's smaller than I am that flies is interesting. This is one of those things that Mom and I disagree about.
Uh, oh. Mackenzie's not here. What's he into? "Mackenzie. Where are you?"
"Up here in my bedroom."
I see him stretched out on the floor and kneel down to give him a massage. "What's going on Sweetie Pie? Why are you lying down here?" I look under the bed, but there's nothing there.
I put my hand on the corner of the bed to help myself up. Something is buzzing beneath the bedspread. A wasp, I bet. They've been getting in. I take off my shoe, throw the spread back and whack the wasp.
I see the wasp on the floor, grab it with my mouth and head for the hall.
"Hey. You can't eat that. Come here."
The wasp wings begin to flutter in my mouth. It tickles. I can't stand it. I open my mouth and it flies out.
That thing isn't dead yet. I whack it again with my shoe.
Maybe it's dead. I'm going for it again. I get it before Mom can stop me. But it starts fluttering again. Eeewww. I spit it out again.
I whack it again and this time it doesn't move. I do hate killing it, but I don't know how I could catch it alive and get it downstairs and outside without being stung. I pick it up with a tissue.
"You're lucky that thing didn't sting you." That would have been a quick trip to the vet for sure.
Mom throws it in the trash. A wasp might taste good, but it isn't worth that terrible tickling.
Free At Last
Oh, no. I left the door open when I let the wasp out. It was flying between the patio screen and glass. Where's Mackenzie? He wouldn't go out, would he?
"Mackenzie. Where are you?" I check the whole house and can't find him. Maybe he did go outside.
Once when I was little, Mom broke her promise to the shelter and took me outside. She thought I would love it. Wrong. The grass tickled my feet and my nose when I tried to smell it. I ran for the patio.
But I'm bigger now. The door is open and I step onto the porch. It smells wonderful out here - like birds and squirrels and coons that come to our yard. I love it.
I leave the porch and stride onto the cement patio. So far so good, but if I want to go anywhere, I'll have to walk on the grass. Here goes.
Eeewww. I was right the first time. I don't like it. It definitely is overrated.
I step onto the porch to look for Mackenzie. I don't see him. Oh, there he is on top of the air conditioner. "Mackenzie. You come here right now."
I don't usually respond to commands, but I'm secretly glad to see Mom. I jump behind the bush and up onto the porch. I saunter over to the door so she won't know how glad I am to be rescued.
I give his but a little push inside and close the door. He was on the air conditioner. I bet he still doesn't like grass. Good thing or he might have climbed the fence to explore a neighbor's yard and beyond.
I lay down so Mom can give me a welcome back massage.
Mourning Dove in Mourning
Mackenzie isn't at the door to meet me, but I see him at the patio door. What's he looking at?
I turn my head look at Mom and tell her to come see.
"What's so interesting, Sweetie?" I follow his gaze and see a Mourning Dove lying on the patio. Its mate is nudging it, trying to wake it up. But it looks dead. Now the mate is jumping up and down on its breast. CPR for a bird?
Why is that bird doing that? Weird.
I'd like to go out and get the dead dove, but I can't while its mate is there.
Mom bends down and gives me a quick massage while we watch.
Oh, here comes another dove. It flies around and finally coaxes the mate away. How extraordinary. Now's my chance to get the dead one.
Why is Mom running upstairs? Should I follow? Before I can make up my mind, Mom comes down with something in her hand and rushes outside.
The shoe box is perfect. I scoop the dove into the box and take it to the curb for trash pick-up. Maybe that's not respectful, but it's the only thing I can think to do before the male comes back.
I guess the show's over. Dead birds don't bother me, but Mom seems upset.
A Little Communication Helps.
When squirrels chatter, I can't understand what they're saying; but they can understand each other. I learned this from sitting by the window in the upstairs potty room. This window looks onto a roof of the porch that goes from our house to the garage.
I'm sitting on the windowsill while Mom puts on her makeup. She notices me watching something and comes over to stand beside me.
Oh, that squirrel sees you in the window and is afraid to pass."
I guess I look pretty scary. We stare at each other for a while before it figures I can't get out. It runs past me and jumps into the Mountain Ash tree and climbs down into our front yard. The squirrels use our roof as a shortcut from the tree in Kay's back yard to our front yard.
"I bet the squirrel is heading for Gert's bird feeder by the front porch."
As soon as the first squirrel disappears another one follows and stops when it seems me. It works up the courage and runs past. But it doesn't jump into the tree. I runs to the edge of the roof and looks down.
"I don't think it knows to jump into the tree. This must be its first time over the roof."
The squirrel runs a ways down the porch roof and peers over the edge. It can see the first squirrel on the ground near the garage.
"Oh, no. Now it's on the garage roof. That's even higher. Listen, Mackenzie. The one on the ground is talking to it."
I don't need Mom to tell me that. I can hear it chattering even if I don't know what its saying. The squirrel on the roof must understand, because it runs back toward us and jumps into the tree and down into the yard.
"That must have been a mother and her baby."
Good thing squirrels can understand each other.
Mom might not be a great ball handler, but she's a fun playmate. Some games she invents, some I do, and some we discover together.
My first Christmas Mom unwraps a package and throws the paper on the floor. I pounce on it, and it makes a delicious crackling sound.
Crackling paper, huh? You're a cheap date.
I stick my head under the , and I'm in a secret world. Mom can't see me. I crawl across the floor with the paper floating above me.
Why is Mom laughing?
That's the beginning of our paper games.
Mom throws a rattle ball under the paper. I run down the hall and jump on the paper and try to find the ball. I hear it rattling, so I can usually find it. Sometimes Mom throws the ball into a paper bag.
Oh, oh. Mackenzie squashes the bag. No way can he get the ball now. I reopen it for him.
I have an idea. I take a large leaf bag and open it up. It won't stay open, so I cut the bottom out of a cardboard box and stick the box in the mouth of the bag to hold it open. I apply some tape so the box can't move.
Mackenzie comes down to investigate. I throw a ball into the bag.
I tear into the tunnel after the ball. Hmmm. I like it in here. When I get tired of playing ball, I settle down for a nap in this secret place.
Sometimes I run downstairs and hide in the bag. Mom doesn't know where I am so she comes down looking for me.
I know he's in the bag, but I pretend not to. I go all over the basement calling his name. Then I go to the bag and start feeling around. I take my time before I locate the weight of his body through the paper.
"There you are. I found you Mackenzie."
It's such a big bag. I can move around so it takes her a while to find me. Her hands make the paper crackle. Did I mention that I love that sound? After a while I lie still and let her hands find me through the paper.
Here's one more ball game I love. I hang my head and shoulders over the edge of the upstairs landing. Mom stands at the bottom of the stairs and throws a soft ball up to me. As I mentioned, her aim isn't the best and the throws often are wild. I have to be patient while she retrieves the ball. But those times her aim is good, I bat the ball back down to her.
"You're a great ball handler, Sweetie. " Wish I was as good. But its fun even when my throw goes wild. It's hilarious to see him up there batting back the ball.
Mom does a lot of laughing when we play this game.
The last game I want to tell you about we play on wash day. Mom gets the laundry basket out. Before she can throw in the sheets, I climb into the basket. Mom tied a rope over one end of the basket so she can pull me around.
Mackenzie enjoys being pulled around, so I pretend to be a tour director.
When she pulls me over a throw run that has lots of blue in it, she says,
"Here we are at Lake Michigan. Oooh! It's rough today."
She swishes the basket back and forth like we're in rough water. We take trips to Holland on the tulip rug, and cross the dessert on the carpet. We visit the Van Goh room, and travel to Chicago.
I think her chatter is more to entertain herself than me. I just enjoy the ride. And the sound of her voice. She has even carried me up and down the stairs in the basket. I was scared the first time she did that. I'm a brave traveler now, no matter where in the world we go.
Two Great Ideas
Mom does weird things sometimes. One day she lays down on the floor so her head is level with mine and looks into the back yard.
"Just as I thought. You can't see half of what's going on at the feeders. The porch is blocking your view."
I don't know what she's talking about, but it sounds important. I watch her draw some lines on a piece of paper. I'm not impressed, but she seems to like it.
"I think this will be great."
She pick up the phone and I listen to her because I think it might be about me.
Mrs. Barry. It's Lorraine. Is Dick there? Thanks."
" Hi, Dick. I have an idea for a huge two-story bird feeder and wondered if you could build it for me."
"Great. Ya. I want it to be four feet long and about twenty inches wide. The bottom shelf should be off the ground a ways, too.
I forget all bout it until Dick opens the gate to our back yard and brings in something humungous. He sets it down on the patio and waits for Mom to come out and admire it.
After Dick leaves, Mom takes sunflower seed and peanuts and throws it all over the top and bottom shelves of the new feeder. I lay down by the patio door to watch the show. Mom was right. Now I can see everybody chowing down.
Even the little chipmunks can jump onto the top floor. Or if something scares them, they hide underneath it until the coast is clear. Sometimes everybody gets along. Birds and squirrels eating together. Sometimes one squirrel will decide he should have it all to himself. Pretty soon there are squirrels racing around the yard, onto the porch, or up into the tree.
One day Leonard moved the feeder right up onto our porch.
"Thanks, Leonard. Now all I have to do is open the door and throw out the bird seed. Let it snow."
"It can snow all it wants. I'm heading to Florida."
Thanks to Leonard, I'm just inches away from the action. Sometimes I'm nose to nose with a squirrel with just the patio glass between us. This scares the squirrel pretty bad. It runs away, but when it realizes I can't follow, it comes back.
We have tons of Mourning Doves that come. They parade around on the top shelf like they own it. The Cardinals and Juncos aren't so brave. They fly in, grab a seed or peanut and fly off. Those little Sparrows are the bravest of all. When the other birds sit on the porch railing, or in the bushes checking the situation over, the Sparrows chow down.
One night I hear something on the porch and go to look. When I stay there a while, Mom comes over and turns on the porch light.
"Well, look at that. An Opossum and a Raccoon eating side by side. I never thought I'd see something like that."
The double-decker bird feeder was Mom's first great idea.
The next idea was also something special she did for me. When I first came to live with Mom, I was pretty little. I could fit on the windowsills just fine. Now that I'm grown up they're not so comfortable.
Mom makes another phone call. This time some men come and tear out all of our windows. They make a terrible racket. I run down and hide behind the furnace. It isn't long before Mom comes down and finds me.
"You can come out, Sweetheart. I'm going to stay down here, too."
I climb on her lap and let her pet me until I feel safe. Then I lay down beneath some stacking tables and go to sleep.
Everything's okay until Mom leaves the house and I'm alone with the men who are making such a racket. Fortunately Mom isn't gone long. This time I come out from behind the furnace without her calling me. She sits at her desk and eats a sandwich. I climb up and sniff it. Ugh. I never like the smell of Mom's food.
When a man comes down to do our basement window, we go upstairs. I stay under Mom's bed until the racket stops.
The next couple of days, mom paints around the windows, so I don't get a chance to check them out. Then Leonard comes to put up the blinds and curtains. He makes a lot of noise drilling holes. When he sits down to talk to Mom, I come down and say hello. He's pretty nice when he's not making a racket.
As soon as he leaves, It's time for me to see what all the fuss was about. I jump onto a window sill and that's when I realize how much Mom loves me.
"Oh, you fit just fine, Sweetie. I had all the sills made extra wide just for you."
Now it's easy to jump onto any sill. And I can sit, or lay down without hanging over the edge. They are so comfy. I love them. Thank you, Mom.
Exploring - four stories
There are places in our condo that need exploring. The first place I explored was the cabinet in the potty room.
I discover how to open the door and step in around a lot of smelly bottles. Yuk. I don't like it in here. I'm about to leave when I discover the rolls of paper. Sooo soft. My nails pull some of the paper out. Interesting.
What's he doing I there? That cleaning stuff might be poisonous to him. He wouldn't lick a bottle would He? Or get something on his coat he has to lick off?
I put both paws into the paper. Push. Pull. Push. Pull. I forget about he bad smells.
"Mackenzie. Come out of there."
She sounds upset. Her voice breaks my rhythm. Maybe I should go to her.
Can he push the door open? I wait.
I bump against the door, but it slams shut. I wait for Mom to spring into action.
Looks like he can't get himself out. I open the door and see the shredded paper.
I sit calmly beside the paper and look at her.
"What a mess. You little pistol." He doesn't look remorseful, but he's so cute.
I saunter out and rub against her legs. Maybe she'll give me a massage.
The basement is the best place to explore. There are built-in-cabinets along one wall that go from the floor to the ceiling. Mom has stuff stashed in there, but there's plenty of room to walk around. Mom opens the door for me and sits on the stairs watching me while I check everything out.
I let him play in the closet. The shelter made me promise to keep him inside, so I need to make it as interesting and fun for him as I can.
One day while I'm in the closet she gets a phone call and goes upstairs. This is the perfect time to explore the top shelf.
I come back down and don't see Mackenzie. He's not in the closet. I look all over the basement. Nada. I know he didn't come upstairs. I go back to the closet. There's space between the shelves and the wall. Did he fall down there? I'm trying not to panic, but he could be trapped. Hurt.
"Mackenzie. Where are you?"
His voice is so soft. Is he hurt? Where is he?
Mom sounds upset. "I'm okay. I'm right here watching you Mom."
I can hear him. Maybe he's on the top shelf where I can't see. I need a stepladder.
Mom's getting something to climb on. She'll find me now.
He's not on the top shelf. "Where are you, Mackenzie?"
"I'm right here."
He turns towards the sound of my voice and looks up. He's sitting on top of the furnace duct. All this time he's just been sitting there watching me. "You little pistol." I better grab him before he can move away.
Mom grabs me under the shoulders and hauls me down. My back feet land on her with a thud. Easy, Mom. No need for hysteria. Maybe you should see someone about your fears. I was fine. Just needed a little rescue.
One night mom was very late coming home from work. I waited and waited, and she didn't come home. It's bad enough being home alone all day. The least she can do is spend the evening with me.
I'm pretty mad at her when she finally puts in an appearance. I don't lie down and let her pet me. I walk away from her. If she can ignore me, I can ignore her. I head for the basement and sit outside the closet door under the stairs. I demand to be let in. When she doesn't come, I stand up and scratch on the door. That brings her down.
"Oh, Sweetie, I'm so tired. Do we have to do this tonight?"
"Yes we do." I don't move. I sit and stare at the door.
He's not going to give in. I might was well let him play in the closet a while.
She opens the door and I jump onto the first shelf to check things out. Mom stands and watches me while I wander around the boxes and sacks and sniff them for any new smells.
I've seen most of this stuff before, but when I go behind a box at the back of the closet, I discover a hole. It's just big enough for me to squeeze through.
I see his tail disappear into a hole. "No. No. Don't go in there." I move stuff around so I can get to him. "Mackenzie. Come here."
Mom peers at me through the hole. I should tell her I'm okay, but I'm still mad at her. I stare at her, but don't say anything.
I try to grab him around the neck, but he moves just in time.
No way am I gong to let her pull me out.
"Oh, great. I suppose I'll have to hire someone to tear the closet apart to get you out. Come, here Mackenzie."
First she ignores me by not coming home. Then when I'm having fun she demands I stop and do what she wants. I'm on a narrow board, so I carefully turn around and walk away.
"Fine. You got yourself in there, and you can get yourself out."
Of course I can get myself out. In my own time. I hear Mom stomping up the stairs. I walk along the board until I can't go any further. End of the line. I turn around and go back.
I sit and wait for Mom to come. Where is she? I'm tired of sitting on the thin board. I want Mom to come and beg me to come out. Why is she ignoring me again? That isn't fair. I'll show her I can get myself out.
Geez. I just lost my temper. I'm tired. And scared. How am I gong to get him out? The hole is only big enough for me to get my hand through. It's too late at night to call anyone to cut the board out, or whatever they'd have to do.
I go back down to check on him just as he saunters out. What a relief. I stoop down and pet him. "Had enough excitement for tonight, Sweetie? Let's go to bed."
I'm not mad anymore. Going to bed with Mom sounds lovely.
One Saturday morning Mom's in the kitchen rattling around. She's too busy to play with me, so I head for the basement to find my own fun. I've been here lots of times before and need a new adventure.
Ah. The washer. I've never been up there. It's a big jump. No problem. Everything looks different from up here. The washer is in a part of the basement that doesn't have anything covering the pipes and the furnace duct. I remember sitting on that duct and decide to see where it goes.
It's quite a leap from the washer to the top of the duct. There's a lot of pipes around, but my aim is good and I'm a great jumper. I land with a loud crash.
I jump at the unexpected crash. The noise came from the basement. Is Mackenzie into something? I tear down the stairs.
This time I tell Mom right away where I am. There's no way I can jump down from here. I'd still like to explore, but I want to make sure she can get me down.
"Look up here, Mom."
"How did you get up there? How am I going to get you down?" It's super dangerous up there. I need to get him down right away.
Mom goes for the stepladder again. She struggles to open it up. I've noticed she isn't very handy with some things.
I'm up here looking at him, but the pipes are in the way. It's a wonder he didn't kill himself when he jumped. I don't know how to get him down.
I decide to look around while Mom figures it out. The side of the basement I'm on now has a drop ceiling. Perfect for exploring. I walk over close to where the closet is under the stairs.
Oh, no. More places for him to fall into. "Mackenzie. Get away from there. Right now."
I think Mom enjoys scaring herself. But she's still on the ladder watching me, so I'll go back and tell her I'm okay.
He's coming back over. "How am I going to get you down, Sweetie?"
How should I know? I got myself up here. It's her job to get me down. I leave her and walk over the other end of the basement. There isn't anything to see up here. Boring. I'll wait to see what Mom will do.
Good. He's over by the bookcases. I drag the ladder over and position it where I think he is. I push back a ceiling tile and see him looking down at me.
I have to admit. Mom is fast. Before I realize what she's doing, she reaches up and grabs me. My back feet land with a thud on her chest. I wish Mom could figure out a way to get me down from places without jarring me.
I think I better start piling stuff o top of the washer. I don't want him up there again.
I Got It's Tail
Sometimes excitement comes to me. One afternoon Mom's at work and I hear this strange scrabbling sound coming from the basement.
I creep down the stairs to investigate and arrive in time to see a chipmunk scrunch under the closet door where the small shelves are. What is it doing inside our house? I crouch down to see what it will do. It seems me and freezes. Just like the squirrel on the roof did. If the size of me scared the squirrel, I must look like a mountain to the chipmunk.
It works up its courage and dashes across the floor towards the bookcases. I'm right after it, but by the time I get to where it was, it's gone again. I chase it around the room. It surprises me by dashing up the stairs. It keeps going al the way to the top.
It makes the mistake of heading for the potty room. No place to hide in there. It runs past Mom's potty and tries to scramble past mine. Big mistake. I'm waiting for it.
This time I'm fast. My nails grab its tail. It doesn't give up. It squeals and gives a terrific lunge. Quick as a flash, it's past me, into Mom's room and under the nightstand by the door. Her nightstand is solid to the floor except for two small openings in each side. I can't reach it with my paw.
I station myself beside the night stand. If it moves, I'll get it.
I hear Mom coming in the door and call down to her. She makes the mistake of going into the potty room.
"Oh, no. Blood on the wall behind his litter box. And a piece of fur that looks like his colors. He's hurt. Where is he? "Mackenzie, where are you?"
"I'm here, Mom." I stretch out so she can give me a massage.
I run my hands over his body. I don't see any missing fur. "You look okay. What's going on?"
I guess the chipmunk is watching us because it makes a run for it. Mom and I are by the door, so it can't get out. It runs under Mom's dresser.
Oh. A chipmunk. Its tail is just a little string of muscle without fur. "Poor baby." I close the door so it's contained in this room.
What does she mean, 'poor baby?' It invaded our house. It's fair game. I dart after it. It dashes under the bed and back to the safety of the nightstand. I crouch down and take up my position beside it.
Mom stands beside me for a while before she picks up the phone and calls Carolyn. I'm reluctant to keep pointing out flaws in Mom's character, but I've noticed a pattern in her behavior. She calls in someone else to help when she doesn't know what to do. First it was Gert with the bunny. Now it's Carolyn with the chipmunk.
"I have everything under control, Mom." I don't think she believes me because she goes downstairs to meet Carolyn. They come upstairs. Carolyn is carrying a broom and Mom has a wastebasket.
"Carolyn, you block the hole on that side and I'll put the wastebasket over this hole."
I listen to them laugh and talk while they wait for the chipmunk to move. Even I'm surprised when it squeezes beside the wastebasket and zooms right past Mom and me. Mom jumps and squeals and I give chase.
First it goes under the dresser, then under the bed, past the nightstand and back under the dresser. I dash after it and it runs under the bed, past the nightstand and back under the dresser.
I keep chasing it and it keeps running until it stops under the dresser. I hunch down to guard. If it runs, I'll be after it. I almost caught it once.
Carolyn says she has to go home.
I study the dresser and come up with a plan. Like the nightstand the dresser meets the floor except for small openings in the two sides and he front. I grab some towels and plug up the holes.
What's Mom doing? I watch her leave the room and consider my options; follow her and see if she'll do something interesting, wait here and see if she comes back. Inertia wins.
I find a leaf bag in the basement. This ought to do it. I've got to catch that baby before Mackenzie does. I'm not going to bed tonight if it's still in the bedroom.
Mom comes back carrying one of those bags like she used to make a tunnel for me. It looks like overkill. Maybe she didn't have a smaller bag.
I open the bag and remove the towel from the side hole. "Oh, my." The little guy is curled up in the towel. He must really be tuckered out because he doesn't move. I put the towel in the bag and head downstairs.
Mom's got it. I follow her down and watch her take the bag into the yard. She empties it out and the little chipmunk scurries away.
Later I hear Mom tell Carolyn she wants to know how the chipmunk got into the house. She doesn't want a repeat performance. Actually, I think I performed rather well, but that's probably not what she meant.
Next Gert comes over and tells Mom chipmunks got into Kay's basement, too. Gert called a man to come over to find out how they were getting into our houses.
The very next day I watch a man poking around in our basement. He calls Mom downstairs and show her a small hole in the ceiling behind the door in the small closet.
"Oh. The chipmunk got into Carolyn's basement and came into ours through that hole? Can you fix it?"
Why does everyone have to spoil my fun. I would love to have more chipmunks in our house.
The Sink Is Mine
One summer night when I was still young I was sleeping next to Mom, and I got too hot. Time to find a cool spot.
The sink in the potty room looks inviting. Sure enough. The bowl is cool and fits me just right. I'm curled up enjoying the night breeze blowing in from the window when Mom comes in.
Even the night light in the bathroom is too bright. I don't want to fully wake up. I keep my eyes closed and do my business. They're at half-mast when I reach the sink. I reach for the faucet and feel FUR!
Why is Mom laughing? What's so funny about me being in the sink? I'm not moving. She can wash her hands somewhere else. She could just lick them clean. That's what I do.
"Hey, Sweetie. I need to wash my hands." He's not moving. Now what? I don't want to scoop him out. He looks pretty cute in there. I suppose I could use water in the bathtub.
Mom's a fast learner. Guess she knows the sink is off limits when I'm here.
After that, Mom and I make a game of who gets the sink.
"Let's go to bed." Maybe I can beat him up the stairs this time.
I usually get there first. I lie in the sink and watch her get ready for bed. She stands by the sink and looks in the mirror while she puts stuff on her face. Then she wipes the stuff off. I don't understand why she does this. Or why she wants to brush her teeth. We both know she can't do this while I'm in the sink. And I'm not moving.
I can't believe I'm going downstairs to brush my teeth. Why am I letting a cat control my life? (Smile) I'm not admitting this to family and friends.
The first time Mom tried to brush my teeth I let her know it wasn't going to happen. However, I did like the taste of the malt-flavored toothpaste.
I try to lure him out of the sink with the toothpaste. I put a mound of it on his brush and hold it just far enough away that he has to get up to lick it off. I win!
I fall for that a couple of times before I realize it's a trick to get me out of the sink. It's hard to give up the toothpaste, but I love the sink more. I win!
I lie in the sink and watch Mom take off her clothes. I guess she wears them because she doesn't have a nice fur coat like I do. I never have to take my coat off. When it gets dirty, I wash it with my tongue. Mom has to wash with water.
One night I watch her step into the tub. I want to see what goes on in there, so I hop in the back before she can close the door.
"Hey. Get out of here, Sweetie."
"No. I want to watch." I sit and wait for something to happen.
"Go on, Sweetie. Get out."
She motions with her hands for me to jump out of the tub. Does she really think I don't know how to get out? I sit and look at her and wait for the show.
This is weird. I pick him up, deposit him on the floor and close the door.
I'm not giving up. Another night I try again. I'm in.
I see Mackenzie behind me and realize I can make him get out without touching him. I turn the shower on.
The first drop of water that hits me is enough. I jump out in a hurry. How can Mom stand all that water touching her. She should just use her tongue.
A Perfect Summer Day
This special day begins when Mom opens the bedroom window and looks down into our yard.
"Look at that. The birds are already at the empty feeder. It's not 6:30 yet and they think breakfast should be on the table. They're as spoiled as you are."
I don't like being compared to birds, but I let it pass. The day is too good to waste in negative speculation.
I sit at the patio door and watch Mom hose down the birdbath and fill it with water. She washes the mess the night crew—mostly raccoons—have made on the top of the feeder. She fills all the bird feeders and scarcely makes it in the door before the birds descend on the yard.
Finally she feeds me. She needs to get her priorities straight. After breakfast I lounge by the patio door where I can feel the breeze and get an occasional whiff of catnip. It's such a lovely day, I need to celebrate.
I walk down the hall, turn and run at the patio door. I hurl myself at the screen door. My front paws give a mighty thud, and the birds go flying. Even the squirrels run up the tree. That was fun. I wait for them to come back to the feeders and do it again.
"Hey. You feeling macho? Macho, macho man."
Whatever 'macho' means, it sounds pretty good. I answer her by running up the stairs with Mom right behind me.
"Let's make the bed."
Good idea. I go flying onto the sheets. Mom pulls me around on the bed and then throws some of the sheet over me.
"Where's Mackenzie? Where did he go?"
I lay real still, but she finds me and gives me a massage while I'm still under the sheet. But she doesn't let me relax too long. She finds a rattle ball and throws it onto the bed. I wrestle it around a while before she grabs it and throws it down the hall. I'm after it in a flash. We play ball until Mom calls it quits.
"I'm going down for a cup of coffee. You coming?"
I follow her down, but it isn't very interesting watching her sit and drink coffee. I'm about to get her on her feet, when she puts the cup down and stands up like she's on a mission. Here we go.
I follow her down to the basement.
I need to get rid of some books and reorganize what's left.
Mom starts pulling books off the shelves and piling them around. What a delicious mess. I roll in a bunch of empty bags lying on the floor. Plastic bags aren't as much fun as crackling paper ones, but they scatter much faster. I have to give some of them up so Mom can put books in them.
I stop just long enough to grab lunch and finish reorganizing by mid-afternoon. I have bags and bags of books to donate to the library.
I sit in the window that looks onto our porch and watch Mom carry the bags to the garage. I wait until I see her car go to the street. I should take a nap, but it seems too goof of a day to waste. I lounge by the patio door.
This is a good decision, because Mom comes right back. She sits down in the glider and picks up a book to read. As if she hasn't handled enough books already. If I can get her on her feet, she might do something interesting.
"What do you want, Sweetie? I take him to his food bowl, but he's not interested. I pick up a ball and throw it, but he doesn't react. Good. I'm tired. I never take naps, but it would feel good to lie down.
"Let's go take a nap, Sweetie."
I don't know what she means, but I follow her upstairs. She lies down on the bed in my room. Yes! I walk across her several times and kiss her face. She doesn't get up, so I settle down beside her and use her tummy for a pillow. Sleep.
I can't believe I'm lying down in the middle of . . . Sleep.
Mom gets up to take a shower and I sit down on her potty seat to wait for her to finish.
"I'm going out for dinner, Sweetie. I'll be back."
I'm lounging in the glider when she comes home. She sits down to watch TV, but I don't think she should waste such a beautiful evening. I use my usual tricks to get her out of the chair, but I can't keep her up for long.
I can't keep up with Mackenzie. I'm going to bed.
Once I have Mom down for the night, I sit at the open bedroom window and watch the back yard. Three raccoons come and check out the feeders and slurp up water from the birdbath. After they leave, there isn't much to see. I hate to let go of this perfect day, but I finally give in and crawl into bed with Mom.
Mouse In The House
One morning Mom and I are watching the back yard when she steps closer to the patio door.
"What's that thing out there? It's too tiny for a chipmunk. And the color is different."
I watch her watch it. Mom's pretty smart about visitors to our yard.
"Oh. I see its tail. It's a mouse. And he's running towards our porch. He better not come in here."
I've never seen a mouse, but it might be fun if it does dome in.
And it does. One day I hear something running on the ceiling in our basement.
"Mom. Come down here. I found the mouse." I sit on the bookcase to wait for her.
I see him looking at the ceiling. What's that about? "I don't hear anything, Sweetie. I'm going back up."
That night after Mom's in bed, I head for the basement. The mouse isn't smart enough to stay in the ceiling. I suppose he came down looking for food. Big mistake. It's fun chasing him around the basement, but he isn't as fast as the chipmunk.
When he quits moving, I run upstairs to tell Mom. I guess she's too sleepy to understand me because she goes to the window.
"I don't know what you saw, Sweetie. I don't see anything. Let's go back to bed."
The next morning Mom finds the mouse lying beside a box she uses for recycling. She puts it in the trash and doesn't even thank me.
Gert comes over in the afternoon and Mom tells her about the mouse. Gert tells Mom her cat, Tawney, took her and Bob down to their basement to see the mouse she caught.
Mom turns and looks at me. I think she finally remembers I told her about our mouse last night.
It wasn't the only mouse. That night I catch another one and leave it under Mom's computer desk where she'll find it.
The next morning Mom is at her computer for a long time. I don't hear her holler, so I watch the back yard. A little Sparrow picks a peanut off the patio and flies onto our porch. Those peanut pieces don't look big to me, but it's too big for the Sparrow. He can't gulp it down like the Blue Jays do. He breaks off a tiny piece to eat and the rest falls on the porch. He picks up the peanut for another bite, and it falls down a crack between the porch boards. He cocks his head and looks down, but the peanut is gone.
I sit here all morning watching the action. Everybody leaves for a while and I take a snooze. A couple of squirrels chase each other across the porch. The thunder of their feet wakes me up.
Mom comes up for lunch and goes back downstairs. I go with her. The mouse is still there beside her foot. Why doesn't she see it? She needs my help. I position myself so my nose is pointing right at its stiff tummy.
What's Mackenzie doing? I bend down to look. "A mouse. Inches from my foot. Eeeuuu. I might have squished it. Yuck. Yuck.
Mom finally gets a grip and bags the mouse.
"Man, I hope you're the last one."
But it isn't. A few nights later I find another mouse in our basement. Mom's already in bed. This mouse is smarter than the others. It dodges me and runs up the stairs. It hides in back of the bench behind some sacks of my food. I reach my paw in to get it, but it's just out of reach.
I guess Mom isn't asleep, because she hollers down at me.
"Mackenzie. What are doing making such a racket?"
I'm too busy to answer her, so she comes down to check. She moves the bench away from the wall.
"A mouse. Looks like you killed it. "I decide to scoop it up with the dustpan, but when I approach, it runs towards me. I instinctively hit it with the dustpan.
"Oh. I killed it. I didn't mean to. I'm so sorry. Sorry. Sorry."
Mom has an awful look on her face. Is she going to urp? She really looks sick.
I bag the mouse an feel like the worst person on the planet.
I guess the words gets out in the mouse community, because they stop coming down from the ceiling.
"Something smells bad. It must be a dead mouse."
Mom looks all over the basement, but can't find the mouse. She sprays some stuff around.
Dick comes to do some work in our basement and I tell him abut the mice. "Do you think there's a hole in our foundation wall where they're getting in?"
"Probably. It doesn't have to be very big. A hole the size of dime would be big enough."
Mom and I watch while he pushes back a part of the ceiling that's near the outside wall. It's a good thing we're back a ways because a dead mouse falls onto the floor. Mom screams and Dick laughs.
A few days later Mary comes over and Mom tells her about our adventures with mice.
"Dick plastered a hole. I hope that's the end of them. I'm not sure Mackenzie agrees with me. He still goes down to the basement at night to make sure."
Yes, I do. It's winter and you can watch just so many snowflakes. I need there to be mice.
Little Sparrow Mystery
One morning Mom and I are watching the back yard.
"Look at the little one, Sweetie. He must be a newbie because he's fat and some of his feathers look like down."
I don't know what 'newbie' means, but I watch it fly down onto the porch. Usually when birds land on the porch, they look around for food and fly down to find it on the patio. This little guy looks like he doesn't know what to do. He didn't pay any attention to the other birds at the feeders.
I leave to get a bite to eat and when I come back Mom is standing close to the patio door.
"He's sitting in the door track near where the register is in here. He must be cold."
I put my nose close to the window. Most birds would fly away if they saw me so close, but he doesn't move. I guess he doesn't know enough to be scared.
The next morning Mom calls me to the patio door.
"There's that little bird, Mackenzie. He's in the old flower bed. He looks almost like a dry leaf. Can you see him?"
Of course, I could see him. But I don't know why Mom is so interested in him. I think it's more fun to watch the cardinals and the blue jays come winging in to grab a peanut and fly into the tree.
"He's just sitting there. Why doesn't he go over and get some food? He's going to starve."
Later that morning the little sparrow comes and sits in the warm place near the door. Carolyn comes over to watch it with Mom and observes, "I wonder if there's something wrong with his feet. I only see one foot."
"You're right. I'm going to take a picture."
After Carolyn leaves, Mom and I stay at the window long enough to see the little Sparrow fly off the porch and help himself to some sunflower seeds.
"Finally he's going to eat something."
We're still watching him when a brown squirrel comes down the tree for an early lunch. It heads for the feeder where the little Sparrow is feasting. When the Sparrow doesn't move, the squirrel stops and stares at it.
"Look at the squirrel. He's really confused. I bet this is the first time in his life a bird hasn't moved out of his way."
I guess Mom is right because the squirrel stands on his back legs and stares at the little bird. He decides to give it plenty of room and cautiously walks way around it to get to another feeder.
The little Sparrow doesn't pay any attention to it. He just keeps on eating. Pretty soon another brown squirrel comes down the tree. He runs right at the Sparrow. This time the little bird moves.
"Good. He got out of the way."
That night we have a freezing rain and snow. Mom keeps watching for the little Sparrow.
"It's been two days since he's been here. I wonder if he made it through the storm."
Mom scarcely has the words out of her mouth when he lands on our fence.
"Mackenzie. Look. There he is."
Before I can get to the door he's gone.
"You missed him. Why did he leave so soon?"
I didn't have to come up with an answer because at that moment a Cooper Hawk lands on the fence where the Sparrow was just moments before.
"Oh. That's why he moved. Guess he can take care of himself."
I guess he can, because it's quite a while before he comes to visit us again. One day he lands on the railing, hops onto the porch and struts around on both feet. He comes right up to the patio door and peeks into our room before settling down in the warm spot near the door.
"Mackenzie. Look. I think he's trying to tell us he's okay."
Sure, Mom. If you say so. We both watch the little Sparrow huddle by the door until something startles the birds at the feeders. He goes flying into the bush beside the porch with the rest of the birds.
"Looks like he's part of the gang now. We don't have to worry about his anymore."
As if I was worried anyway. Guess I won't tell Mom that.
I'm at my usual post by the patio door when I see two black squirrels and a brown squirrel compete for one of the feeders. Those black squirrels look so weird this time of year with their fur pulled out from around their neck to below their shoulders. Gert told Mom that they pull their fur out to line their nest. You'd think they'd be cold with half their fur coat gone.
But I digress. One black squirrel chases the other out of the yard. The remaining black squirrel and brown squirrel are on each side of the feeder. They keep an eye on each other, but munch away without a fuss.
Red Winged Blackbirds and Grackles are perched in the trees. Some Mourning Doves patrol the yard and a line of Sparrows sit on the fence. They're all waiting for the squirrels to finish eating.
I guess the chipmunk is tired of waiting. He boldly runs right at the feeder and the squirrels scatter at the unexpected threat. When the brown squirrel realizes its only a little chipmunk, he gives chase. It's a dumb move. There's no way he can catch the lightning fast chipmunk, and while he's gone the black squirrel that was hiding in the tree comes down and takes his place.
The little chipmunk runs under the fence into Linda's yard. He peeks through the crack in the fence to see what havoc he's caused. He tries a couple more times, but the two black squirrels don't move.
He might be having a good time, but it isn't getting him any food. He changes his strategy. He runs at the feeder and dives inside. Now he's sitting on top of the sunflower seeds chowing down and looking out through the plastic shields at the squirrels. I guess being little has its advantages.
Mom calls me a chair thief, but I don't know how you can steal something that's already yours. I've definitely decided the recliner is mine.
This knowledge came to me recently. On these cold winter nights, Mom sits in the recliner to watch TV. Once sh'e settled in, I come and sit on the arm of the chair and look at her. Naturally she invites me to join her.
"Come on down , Sweetie."
I don't move right away. I wait for her to ask me again.
"Come on, Sweetie." Why do I have to beg him to do what he wants to do?
I love being wanted and settle down on Mom's chest so I can kiss her on the chin and look into her eyes while she talks to me. When I've heard enough, I snuggle down between Mom's legs with my head on her knee. It makes a great pillow.
Unfortunately, Mom doesn't sit still. She turns on a light during commercials and reads a book or works puzzles. Sometimes she forgets to turn the sound back on and keeps reading. I don't like the light on my face, or all that fooling about. I especially don't like it when she answers the phone and talks to someone. I'm right here. She an talk to me.
I tolerate her behavior because I know before long Mom will get up. As soon as she's gone, I crawl into her place. The spot is warm and fits me perfectly.
"Oh, you little chair thief." How can I push him out? He looks so cute there. I move to the glider.
Very sensible, Mom.
But I don't like sitting in the glider while I watch TV. One day I'm inspired to rearrange the furniture. I switch glider for the other recliner. Now if Mackenzie steals my chair, I have another recliner to sit in.
Perfect. Now I have two recliners. When Mom gets up, I move to her recliner because she has warmed it up for me.
However, sometimes I get lonely. I want to be in the chair with Mom, but I don't want to admit his. I sit in front of her chair until she gets up to see what I want. I take her to the hall and stare at my food bowl. If she makes the mistake of putting something in it, I ignore the food.
"Guess that's not what you want. Let's go sit."
I eagerly follow her back to the living room. Once she's settle in, I snuggle down with my head on her knee and I'm content.
Eventually Mom gets up for something and I realize I'm ready to reclaim the chair. Time for Mom to move again.
"Who needs an exercise program when I have you?"
I've heard that line before. I let Mom think she has the last word.
Mom loves to take pictures of me. She asked me if it was okay if she put some of them in my memoir. Of course I agreed.
I have to admit this isn't a very complete memoire. And it isn't necessarily chronological. However, I believe I've written enough to give you an idea of what my life is like with Mom. I'm sure I made a good choice when I decided she was the one I wanted to live with.
May you have as much good fortune in your choices.