I have a six month old kitty named Peppermint Patti. She is a fun-loving, bright and active little girl who immediately became a part of my family when I brought her home three weeks ago. Patti has no qualms about going anywhere in the house or climbing any structure…no matter how high. On more than one occasion, Patti has surprised me by jumping into the refrigerator, the freezer and the washing machine. In fact, she almost became part of a load of towels one morning. I was closing the door in preparation to start the machine, when a fuzzy little head peeked out from behind a washcloth. Of course Patti didn’t realize how close she came to being part of a spinning, watery clump of towels. She just happily jumped out of the machine ready for her next adventure.
People who have cats know that they love to be on kitchen cupboards. It’s one of the hardest things to teach a cat……to stay off of the cupboard, the table or anywhere else food is prepared. The best you can hope for is that when your cat sees you coming, she or he will vacate that loved space so as not to be shooed away or squirted in the face. Patti sees things differently. She sees my kitchen cupboards as a playground. One with lots of things she’s interested in exploring. She has no problem with being put down from the cupboard 30-40 times each day……she’ll just jump right back up. It’s not that Patti’s dumb or not paying attention….rather, I believe that she just doesn’t think the rules apply to her. Think of a middle school child who is having an argument with her mother about what she wants to wear to school. Young Sophie wants to wear a short skirt and mom wants her to wear something else. After a loud, tear-filled back and forth argument, Sophie storms off screaming……”you’re not the boss of me!” Well, I think that’s what little Patti tells me every time she jumps right back on the cupboard…….she may not be screaming it at me in a tear-filled voice, but the words and meaning are still the same…..”you’re not the boss of me.”
Well, dear Patti, I AM the boss of you. I feed you, cuddle with you, give you treats, play with you, clean your litter box and yes, take you off the cupboard many, many times each day. The house and all its contents is mine. The food in the fridge and any you find on the cupboard is also mine. I decide where you can go in the house and what furniture you can lay on. I am the one who keeps you from going outside because it’s not safe for you out there. I love you with all my heart and always will…no matter what messes you make. You are my dear sweet kitty and I want you with me for a long, long time.
“So what?:……says Patti…….”so what?” Patti is once again sitting on my cupboard as I write this. It’s as if she hasn’t heard a word I’ve said. As I rise from my chair and make my way to the cupboard to take Patti down for the 20th time today, I say loudly and with unwavering conviction…”I AM the boss of you.” Patti just looks at me with her sweet little eyes that seem to say…..”wanna bet?”…….