Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Make the Punishment Fit the Crime

Friday has a knack for getting into trouble. Like cats avoid water it comes naturally to him. Yell, throw things, squirt him he’s imperturbable. When caught on the dining room table he blinks happily at me even though he knows that tables are off limits. He just doesn’t mind being fussed at. His cavalier attitude is what prompted Mom to pull the nastiest trick that has ever been played on him or any cat.

When Friday was a young cat, we lived at my parents. I was a college student and Mom and Dad were generous enough to let Friday and I move in so I could study. Friday spent his time tormenting my grandmother’s crotchety old cat and learning to open doors. He was constantly in trouble with Dad for opening the doors to Dad’s home office while Dad was on the phone with customers.

One of his favorite times was dinner. Mom usually cooked dinner and it was always yummy. Friday would “help” her cook by lying in the kitchen floor and scavenging for tid-bits that Mom was glad to slip him. We would sit around the table together and eat. Friday even had his own chair, pulled out from the table of course. He liked that chair because he could see what we were eating. He was allowed to get in any other empty chair but he was not allowed to put his head at table level. He remembered the rule occasionally but more often than not, a pair of black ears would slowly rise from the underbelly of the table only to disappear again when someone discouraged their progress.

It was on one of these occasions that Mom made Friday the maddest he has ever been. He was in the chair next to her and the smell of chicken proved too much. I saw his ears raising and started to correct him but Mom stopped me. She let him put his head at table level! He was thrilled and began to get a particularly smug look on his face as he sat surveying the contents of the table. Busy being full of himself he didn’t notice Mom slowly sliding his chair flush to the table. The curved back of the chair and the straight edge of the table meant that he wouldn’t be able to put his head down. He was stuck.

Mom tickled his back paw. He turned to “get” her back and sudden realization took over. He wriggled and squirmed bumping the chair slightly and freeing himself. We laughed at the look of sheer anger on his face when he realized he had been tricked. He was so mad at us! He stalked down the hallway and plotted his revenge. He wouldn’t talk to either one of us for the rest of the evening.

Mean? You bet it was mean, but Friday’s no fool. He never, ever stuck his head up to the table again. Not so long as Mom was in the chair next to him, anyway! He might not mind fussing but he hates to be laughed at!

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