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.
Carys of the 13 and a half cats ,
Hi, I love this post, and that your black kitty has a similar name to one of my cats.
A couple of mine will go after stuffies if they don’t have anything else biteable, but they much prefer wool felt over stuffies; I give them large scraps from projects, halves of worn out felted slippers, etc.
We do have a mamacat who came to us pregnant, and she and our eldest male (16) are the fiercest hunters; they’ll both drag around all sorts of stuff singing.
It’s a very different song than Emdee sang with her babies (and which she still sings, although they just turned 6 and rarely run to her any more).
Her baby cry is higher pitched and much more piercing; her “lookie, lookie what I’ve got, Mama!” hunting song is more gutteral.
(Back in the early 80s we had cat in Calif who would run all the way home with his prey singing, then set it carefully down in front of our very elderly at the time blind cat as tribute. We didn’t know what had happened the first time; we’d gone out back and seen that somehow 21 year old blind Lucifer, on his safety line in the backyard [since otherwise he’d explore, go over the 6 food wooden fences, and get lost], had caught a bluejay and was digging in while Regis looked on. It was a few days later we heard Regis singing on his way home, went out, and saw him trot right up to Lucifer still singing and give him the mole.)
My cat Mandy would do that. Only she preferred balled-up socks.
hmmm … there was a segment in a National Geo show about a dog that creates art with stuffed toys. He arranges them in geometric patterns, using toys similar in kind and/or shape. Maybe contact with you has awakened Emily’s creative instincts. Obviously the toys outside the studio were there as a demonstration of her techniques, one artist to another.
The Airedale’s name was Muggs. He was featured in “The Dog That Bit People”. And yes, Thurber’s mother used a long strip of sheet metal attached to a wooden spoon that made a thunderous sort of noise to get the dog to come in. It is indeed a strange way to run a household, but I’ve been in normal households, and found them morbid and creepifyin’.
retired beanie babies ,
Cool blog! I dont think Ive seen all the angles of this subject the way youve pointed them out. Youre a true star, a rock star man. Youve got so much to say and know so much about the subject that I think you should just teach a class about it…HaHa!