The new kid
It's been a year since our beloved girl cat, Gloria, left us. We still miss her, occasionally to the point of a tear or two. But my 2006 Father's Day present, a kitten named Lily who was renamed Billy when his gender became more readily apparent, is keeping us hopping with kitty fun.
It didn't take long for the boy cat to make himself at home. Here he is presiding over a recent sleepover:
But don't let that mellow-guy look fool you. Billy is a feisty fellow. For example, he brought home a little Christmas present for us the other day:
He's not above prowling around on the kitchen counters looking for tasty snacks that the humans forgot to cover up or put away, either. I kiddingly state from time to time that "all cats are bad," but this one truly lives up to the naughty stereotype.
The other night, the Mrs. and I were up late, enjoying a rare adult conversation in the kitchen after the kids were out like lights for the night. We were comparing notes on the fine Christmas celebration that we were concluding, when from the front of the house came a loud CRASH!
Neither one of us knew what it was. I thought that maybe our older daughter had rolled out of her top-bunk bed. The Mrs. thought that maybe Billy had knocked over the Christmas tree. But it didn't really sound like either of those catastrophes would have. The crash noise sounded kind of wet!
We rushed into the living room, bathed in the lovely Christmas tree light, and took a quick look around. She spotted it first -- it was the fish bowl!
We have a Siamese fighting fish (a.k.a. a betta) in a nice bowl with a plant in it. The fish can eat the plant if we humans don't get around to sprinkling fish food into the bowl. It's not the greatest life a fish could have, but it beats being canned by Bumble Bee. Anyway, our betta, named Candlefish because of the proximity of the bowl to a decorative candle, had found himself flopping around on the hardwood floor after Billy had knocked over his bowl, which had been perched -- safely, we thought -- atop an antique bookcase around five feet off the floor.
Fortunately, the bowl stayed on the bookcase, and so there was no broken glass to deal with. But the bowl's contents were all over the place. We didn't see Candlefish right away. "Get the fish!" I hissed, scanning the floor in the dim red light. We turned on a nearby floor lamp and saw Candle's tail end flapping its way into a slot at the very bottom of the lamp base. I picked him up with my hand; we righted the bowl, which still had a few inches of water in it, and plopped him back in, shaken up but apparently not fatally wounded.
What followed was a very hasty mop-up operation, hustling to save the antique bookcase's finish as well as that of the floor. Billy, who had run when we arrived, wisely remained out of the room as we soaked up the puddles and cussed him out.
When we had restored water to the bowl and gotten just about all of the old water up, we tried to reconstruct the events leading up to the crash. The only theory that makes sense is that the boy kitty had been eyeing the fish from the back of a nearby cushy chair, and he decided to try to leap at it from the chair, a distance of about four and a half feet:
You've got to hand it to the guy -- he made contact, even if he didn't get to play with, or taste, his prey.
Fast forward to a couple of nights later, and Candlefish is still in the land of the living. We've got him on the kitchen counter near the sink now, where the surfaces are less fragile and he's a little less obvious. But it's just a matter of time before Billy notices him there. You wonder how early in the new year the next assassination attempt will come.