A Cat’s Idiosyncrasies

When I was growing up, we had a white cat with black spots. She came from a litter born to a stray. My mother called her Wanda. I don’t know where she came up with that name, but it fit. This was a cat with an attitude.

As I got dressed in the mornings, Wanda rubbed against my bare ankles and without warning bit one of them, not hard enough to draw blood but hard enough to hurt. Mother said it was because I wasn’t giving her enough attention, but when I reached down in an attempt to pet her, she tried to bite my finger.

As Wanda grew older, she developed a nasty habit of urinating in places other than the cat box. Once, Dad sat on the love seat in the music room not realizing it was wet from Wanda’s business. Needless to say, there was a suspicious dark stain on the back of his pants. After doing music therapy practicum sessions and an internship with nursing home residents, I told Mother that maybe old cats, like old people, have problems with incontinence, but she scoffed at this.

Another one of Wanda’s favorite pastimes was removing dirty socks from the washing machine and dropping them on the floor in the laundry room. She usually did this in the middle of the night. The laundry room was on the second floor down the hall from our bedrooms. We often woke to hear her meow a few times. We went back to sleep and didn’t think anything of it. The next morning, someone found the dirty socks on the laundry room floor. The following poem from How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver illustrates this phenomenon.

Sock Ceremony

Balancing on the edge of the washing machine,

Wanda reaches into its depth,

retrieves a dirty sock,

jumps down, places it on the floor.

“Meow, meow,” she says,

as she circles it once or twice.

She walks away,

leaves it for someone else to find.

Did your pets have any strange behaviors when you were growing up? Please share your memories below.

Abbie Johnson Taylor, Author of We Shall Overcome and How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

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4 thoughts on “A Cat’s Idiosyncrasies

  1. I certainly had a lot of animals with strange habits. In fact, I wrote a memoir called When a Man Loves a Rabbit. It contains many vignettes of my bunnies and the mischief they got into. Along with that, they had their own quirks. Gideon loved hurling socks between his hind legs like a football quarterback. Harry loved to stretch out in the kitchen doorway and sleep, looking like a dead rabbit. Many of my bunnies loved the cardboard box houses I made for them. My rabbits had well-defined characters too, proving the myth of bunnies being dull pets absolutely wrong.

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