Snapshots by Gloria Freeland - Feb. 28, 2002

My purr-fect leg warmer

I love our calico cat, Cookie. She actually belongs - if cats can belong to anyone - to our oldest daughter, but the rest of us claim her, too. Most of the time.

Ever since she was a kitten, she's been a feisty thing. When we first got her and she was no bigger than the palm of my hand, she would stand on the couch and leap onto us when we walked by. She still "stalks" us, jumping out from under furniture or waiting for us to pass by the stairs so she can bat at our legs.

Of course, the fact that Art teases her by waving his arms and saying "PISHEW" or that we chase her around the room might have something to do with her desire to get us back.

A friend told me that she had read that calico cats are somewhat psycho. Although Cookie is what I would call a normal cat most of the time, she does have one really strange habit. She loves to lick plastic bags - and not just the outside of them either. As soon as we bring bags home from shopping, she licks and licks until she has the bags untied. Then she puts her head inside the bags and licks some more. The effect must be similar to catnip because she purrs contentedly the whole time.

Cookie is an indoor/outdoor cat. She loves to watch the birds in our pin oak tree from her perch on the back of the couch. Her tail swings back and forth as her hunting instincts kick in.

When she does get a chance to put her hunting to use in nicer weather, she usually brings crickets, katydids and cicadas onto the deck for us to admire. Sometimes I'll let her in before I realize she's made a catch and it's a challenge then to find the critter before it discovers a safe haven in a dark corner someplace.

Most of the time, Cookie's hunting consists of stalking dried leaves that blow across the deck. She also likes to knock magnets off the refrigerator door and bat them underneath the fridge or stove. After Christmas, when I was putting our decorations away, I noticed that baby Jesus was missing from the nativity set that my youngest daughter and I made.

"Uh-oh, I'll bet Cookie has kidnapped baby Jesus," I said.

Sure enough, when I was sweeping underneath the hutch a few days later, I found the Jesus figure along with two refrigerator magnets and a stray macaroni shell.

Cookie is independent - as most cats are. She wants affection when SHE wants it and not a minute before. If I try to pick her up to pet her, she immediately wriggles out of my arms. However, if I get comfortable on one of the couches or in the recliner, she jumps next to me, kneads my body to make a comfortable nest, and settles down - usually with her paws stretched out around either side of my neck with her head pushed close against my face.

My favorite spot on these cold winter days is the recliner. After a busy day at work and then getting a meal and doing dishes, I like to put the footrest up, throw a blanket over my legs and relax with the newspaper or a magazine. Pretty soon, Cookie jumps onto my legs with her head and paws stretched out over my feet. Ah, what a life - for both of us!

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