Beebe has been acting strangely of late. I blamed it on the hot weather. Everyone gets a bit churlish in our summer muggy weather.
Still, he has always loved taking naps on the porch in the sunniest spot he can find. I am surprised when he doesn’t seem interested in that recreation anymore. Instead, he paces back and forth jumping on my laptop, emitting soft guttural sounds instead of his usual sweet purring noises. If I try to pet him, he growls and stalks off haughtily.
I’m ashamed to have to admit that it seems he has forgotten the rules of the household and has reverted to some of his bad behavior from when he was a much younger cat.
He scratches on the furniture and when I scold him, he makes one last defiant sweep with his claws before marching off to try some other antic which I thought he had long outgrown.
On Monday, he raced across the room and climbed up the dining room curtains, leaving some small perforations in their delicate fabric. When I saw this, I jumped up from the couch to yell at him, dropping the newspaper I’d been reading on the floor. He leaped down and raced for the paper, which he jumped on and began to tear up. I grabbed the paper and when he clung to it with both paws, I pushed him away and gave him a gentle tap with it. He began such loud caterwauling that I feared a visit from the Humane Society.
All the excitement and noise roused Nurse Judy, my spoiled alter ego, from her comfortable lounge on the porch under the ceiling fan. Without even knowing the circumstances, she immediately blames me.
“What are you doing to that poor cat?” she shouts. “What kind of a cat mother are you?”
“I was merely disciplining him,” I say. “He’s been acting crazy.”
Nurse Judy has always believed she is a cat whisperer and understands exactly what is going on in Beebe’s mind. This is no exception.
“He doesn’t need discipline,” she says. “He needs empathy. He’s been going through a lot lately and his feelings are hurt. You should sit down and counsel him and see what you can do to help him.”
“It wouldn’t do me any good,” I say. “I don’t speak cat language.”
“You know I do,” she says, “but what if I wasn’t here? You need to figure it out yourself. Look for clues. What has he been doing?”
I explain about the noises, the curtains, the computer, the furniture and the ripping up of the paper.
“See,” she says, “It’s right here in front of your face.” She picks The Herald up from the floor and hands it to me.
“So what’s the clue?” I ask.
“Look at what he tore up,” she says. And there it was. He tore up the story about a kitten named Mo for Moron.
“So what does that mean?” I ask, still in the dark.
“How long has it been since you put in a story about Beebe?” she asks. “He’s jealous. He tried to tell you. He pointed it out in the paper, kept jumping on your laptop. It couldn’t be clearer.”
“He’s so lazy,” I say. “Never wants to work on a story for Cat Tales.”
“It’s different when there’s competition,” she says. “He doesn’t want folks loving Mo more than him.”
I shake my head. “I guess you make sense,” I say. “I’ll try putting Cat Tales in and see if that improves his behavior. He probably still needs to be disciplined for being so jealous though.”
She looks at me pityingly.
“Give him a break,” she says. “He’s a cat. You don’t discipline cats for emotions.”
I shrug. Is Nurse Judy right? Does any of this make sense or should I be called Mo for Moron?
Judy and Beebe