I can see it in her playful wide golden eyes trimmed in bold black rims. The little black and white “cow cat” wants to destroy something just for fun. Her face should be on a “Wanted” poster somewhere in the wild west.
She unabashedly wears the jet black mask of a criminal in training. It covers only the outer halves of her almond-shaped eyes. Her inner eyes stand out sharply in a sea of white fur that leads to a bright pink nose and mouth.
This little imp is a thick-necked thug, terrorizing the household for nearly a year now. Her name is Mulligan (slang for a “do-over” in golf) and she’s a baby-faced juvenile delinquent with a distinctive purr that sounds like a loud and melodic whirring.
For those of you who used to follow the adventures of my green-eyed, brown-striped cat named Sadie in this column, she is nearly a senior citizen now. She is alive and well but spends too much of her day running (while screeching) or hiding (while growling) from young Mulligan. And then there is Camouflage, the earth-tone tortoise-shell “middle child” cat who showed up from the back woods a couple of Christmases ago. “Camo” usually just wants to blend in and sleep. She’s the good one.
All three of the cats moved into my home before past winter holidays. They worship the orange glow of the wood stove.
Spunky little Sadie turned up at the side door after a 2008 charity tour of homes was held on our rural cul-de-sac.
Ghostly Camo showed up at Thanksgiving time in 2017 emaciated and desperate for food and heat. Upon seeing her, I almost thought my eyes were deceiving me. Her coat is an assortment of different colors and patterns depending on the intensity of the sunlight.
A tiny, starving kitten plagued by parasites, Mulligan was dumped in 2018 at the northeastern Clark County golf/swim club where I spent many summers. In January of 2019 the member-owned club was sold and closed, so precocious Mulligan packed her bags and headed north to the Westville area — just like I did as a youngster.
I wasn’t really looking to adopt three cats, but now it’s difficult to imagine my house without a cat causing trouble. It would be so boring.
However, I’m reluctant to erect a Christmas tree this year only to have it toppled over and potentially harm one of the three kitties.
So the dilemma is how to make the house sparkle without courting pandemonium at 3 a.m.
I’m thinking a tall grapevine tree in the dining room might survive. Or maybe just some Christmas lights strung up the banister to the “cat walk” open hallway where Mulligan serves as the intimidating gatekeeper to the upstairs bedrooms. When Mulligan is on the top step, no other cat shall pass. She’s Mully the Bully.
As I write this, both Mulligan and Sadie are asleep on opposite sides of the hearth. There is the warm glow of peace on my little slice of earth. Camo is nestled into a cozy corner of the upstairs loft hoping to stay off the radar. Yes, she really is the good one (most of the time).
This year, ask yourself if a rescue dog or cat from one of the local shelters or sanctuaries might be the tiny spark of fun your house is missing. These furry four-legged goofballs didn’t ask to be here on our spinning orb, but they need a little of our help. Sometime if you’re having a really bad day, they might be the zaniest creature in the house to bring an unexpected smile to your face.
Be sure you are ready to give them a “forever home” before you adopt, because it’s an especially sad occasion if they must return to the shelter after the holidays.
Reach Brenda Burns at firstname.lastname@example.org. This column shared through the AIM Media Midwest group of newspapers.