Some readers may recall me mentioning Emily, our fat little black cat. She’s the one who goes mad with purring and comes waddling when Kevin whistles John Williams tunes, with the end result that most nights, while laying in bed, we get at least the Imperial March and the theme from Indiana Jones.*
Emily–more commonly known as Emmy-bear–also has another peculiar trait. She carried around stuffed animals. And cries over them. Every now and again, in the morning after Kevin has left, I will wake to tragic mewing, and when I sit up and look to see who has gotten their paw stuck in a bear trap, I see Emily sitting over a line of three or more stuffed animals, which she has stolen from the kid’s room, dragged down the hall, and carefully arranged in our bedroom.
Then she mews at them.
“Emmy-bear…” I say wearily.
“Mew,” says Emily.
Usually it’s just one, relocated silently somewhere in the house–she favors those about the size of a beanie baby, but I have occasionally seen her drag a stuffed bunny almost as large as she is, and she gets it a good twenty feet down the hallway. And sometimes she requires more than one, in a group, although whether she is having a tea party or a play date or assembling her army of stuffed minions for the final assault is anyone’s guess.
I have seen this before, in my stepmother’s broody miniature poodles, but they were breeding dogs once upon a time and mostly did it when they were about to go into heat, and Emily was spayed when she was barely bigger than Kevin’s hand and has no experience with that whatsoever. And she has been around REAL kittens, and wants no truck with them, so perhaps misplaced maternal urges is not the correct diagnosis. Nevertheless, we have taken to calling the roving stuffed animals “Emily’s babies.”
This morning I got up and went into my studio for coffee and internet poking, and when I had gotten through my half-cup of coffee and finished poking Echo Bazaar, I opened the door and found that a small stuffed tribunal had been assembled in a semi-circle around my door. I sighed, returned them to the kid’s room, and went to take a shower. I have no doubt that in another day or two, they will all be dragged back out and placed at their various stations in the house.
I think Emily likes me well enough, so she probably wasn’t lying in wait, getting ready to yell “Now! Strike, my plushies!” Probably.
*James Thurber, in his essay about the Airedale named Mutts, which had to be chased inside with a faux thunder machine, said something to the effect of it being a bizarre way to run a household. I think something to this effect daily, usually when trying to get out of bed with Benjamin T. Cat pinning me down.