Friday, May 28, 2010

My Cat's More Meaningful Gift to Me

I smiled to myself this morning as I walked by the guest room and saw my 20-something year old smelly yellow tabby, Merlin, laying curled upside down with a front paw covering his eyes on the bed. No matter how many times I've seen him do that in the past, it never fails to bring a smile to my face.

It must have been the sound of my smile as I stood there watching him that stirred him to instantly follow me as I walked to the kitchen.

It's become my spring morning routine to open the back patio door for him since we moved to our little piece of suburban heaven. Armed with Frontline and his little bell collar with the reflective tag that reads:


it has brought me so much joy to watch him go to the same railroad tie and stretchingly pose upon it, desperately attempting to shred it to threads and then stalk the perimeter of the property balancing elegantly on the flower bed boarders, finally settling on the far side of the back deck to soak in the glaring sun until he can no longer stand it, sometime late afternoon, moving under the picnic table for his afternoon nap.

Imagine my surprise when shortly after I finished my bowl of Mult-Grain Cheerios, I heard his murmuring low meow coming from the back door.

I stood and started walking to the kitchen and saw him standing on the little step, his body perked up, tail wagging tall and proud, his ears propped up high and a shocking smile in his eyes and as I blinked in shock, instantly shrilling loudly,


He was thrilled as I approached the door and dropped the little brown body with golden stripes across its back onto the step.

The little chipmunk and I both stood there frozen in panic - him from being in the clutching gums (Yes GUMS, he's 20 years old! He doesn't have TEETH!), my heart pounding, petrified fear screaming in my head,

"Oh, GOD! Please don't tell me he killed him!"
I grabbed for the stick we use to secure the sliding glass door and moved towards the cat, who still looked at me as the proud hunting warrior.

The chipmunk finally awakened from its daze and BOLTED towards the edge of the deck.

Sheer chaos ensued as I went after the cat screaming;


waving my stick and trying to grab onto the cat!

Merlin pounced like a young lion after his prey and caught him again as I continued to scream,


The little body of the chipmunk squirming in this toothless mouth.

Merlin's eyes wild with excitement... And coming back to me with his catch!

The same cat that has never come to me outside in 12 years!

His demeanor completely confused by my erratic behavior as he continued his low murmuring meow. I'm sure if it could be translated would say something like,

"Lady, CHILL!


I got you a present!

Isn't he cute!? Can we keep him!?"

I grabbed the cat, picking him up and shaking him back and forth like a rag doll, all the time yelling, okay it actually sounded more like the sound of cars popping wheelies in a drive-in parking lot,


I dropped him and he once again dropped the chipmunk who made a wild dash back to the same fateful corner where he was previously captured, with Merlin fast on his tail!


And for some reason I stood there banging my stick on the deck like a mad woman - not exactly sure what purpose I thought that might have...

And he did it.

The chipmunk.

He made it under the plank.

And for that moment I felt guilty.

There was my Merlin, my mighty hunter, with his little paws and legs halfway under the tiny hole swatting dead air as he looked at me with a sad look that said,

"Mom, I'll get him back for you!"

He sat back after awhile looking at the hole and back at me as I picked him up, my heart still racing and rubbing his head the way I know he loves and literally flung him through the door onto the kitchen floor!

Throwing my door stick onto the floor and reaching for some baby aspirin, just in case I really was having a heart attack!

And as I called my mom frantically telling her about the gift Merlin had brought me in hysterics, he jumped on the couch,


headbutted the computer screen on my lap,

drooled his smelliness on my arm

and curled up on the side of my leg;

purring, with his tail flickering behind him, settling into a nap at his second favorite spot.

After all, finding the perfect gift for someone you love at that age, is exhausting work!