by Janet Blue on July 27, 2012

Baby Giulietta displays improper placemat etiquette.

Baby Giulietta displays improper placemat etiquette.

Most cat owners accept the fact that cats have a penchant for going where they don’t belong. Despite knowing this, we were just naive enough in our early days as cat caregivers to think we could establish and enforce a list of Dos and Don’ts for us and a set of Rules for them. We quickly realized, however, that even if adopted, a rule for a cat should be considered nothing more than a suggestion at best.

It soon came to light that one of our early rules of  NO CATS ON THE KITCHEN COUNTERTOPS was totally impossible to enforce, especially as we both worked full-time and they had free access throughout the day. When we were home, no amount of loud reprimands, forceful shoves, water squirts or physical removals made any impression what-so-ever. These were always met with hisses, swats and refusals to budge.

And so a companion rule was established: NO PAWS ON THE PLACEMAT. It became evident that such a rule was necessary the evening I momentarily took my eyes off my meal. Steamer snaked out a paw and snagged an entire pork chop off my plate! It was obvious that a barrier needed to be established…whether invisible when the fare consisted of something unappealing or in the form of salt and pepper shakers, water glasses, milk cartons and any other mealtime paraphernalia available…when the aroma of “fresh, warm kill” wafted its way into nosy, twitching feline noses!

It was easier to smack a paw or push against a chest while repeating the rule than it was to chuck the entire cat to the floor. The latter always turned into a game in the cat’s mind necessitating their continued return and our inevitable, constant removal.

Over the years stealthy paws have continued to move toward desired morsels and have even made contact on occasion. But overall the compromise has worked out for all involved, except Mauricio and on a rare occasion Lily Olivia.

They like to take up placemat residence prior to food arrival to be well-situated when full plates come their way. First the silverware is chewed then picked up in paws and thrown to the floor. Next goes the napkin and finally the cat and placemat when both cat and mat are swept away as one.

I know some of you are asking why we don’t just banish this ill-mannered group to another room during mealtimes? Caterwauling does not promote human conversation or good digestion!


Rebekah August 1, 2012 at 1:31 am

Dear Janet,

I like your poem very much. I am going to try the recipe for getting to sleep for my sleepless nights in this heat.

It was great to see you at Judy’s reading. Come to see me soon.


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