By Mark Crocker
If you are wondering why I always start off with the lines above it is because I want you humans to call me by my real name which is not Lexi May or Lexi. It is “she who must be obeyed”. Is that too much to ask?
Humans really do confuse me.
About once a week or once every other week my human goes off shopping and most of the time he will come back with some kind of toy for me.
I know he is being nice and kind by bring me gifts and when I get out to hunt which is not as often as I would like I bring him gifts to show that he does not need to go and buy food.
But really some of the gifts are just plain silly. A radio controlled mouse that looks nothing like a mouse. I mean really. Come on if you are going to buy me a radio controlled mouse at lest make it look like a real mouse. And it smells nothing like a live mouse. And then he expects me to chase it and play with it and catch it. Oh come on please. I am one of the chosen ones and I won’t lower myself to that level.
Some of the other toys he gets are not too bad and are even fun for a few minutes and I even play with them on and off.
Last week he got me a small ball and when I first saw it I thought “Oh well he wasted his time again”. But when I looked closer it has a fur tail that smelt good and it smelt of a real rabbit.
So I let him throw it for me and I chased after it caught it and hooking it with one claw I was able to throw it back at him.
I like it when I can play catch with my human. It teaches him hand eye coordination and he seems so pleased with himself when I play catch with him. He seems even more pleased with himself when he catches the ball and throws it back to me. But well the whole point is he does not need to buy me toys to play with.
I can make my own toys with almost anything on hand.
I can make a toy out of the plastic ring that goes with the white liquid my human puts in his tea. Or I can make a toy out of a rolled up piece of paper or even an antenna ball. Come to that I can make most things into a toy to entertain myself.
But entertaining myself is not the point of toys.
Long ago, long before I was born or even before my mothers, mothers, mothers, was born we chosen ones made an agreement with you humans.
You see our problem is not one of brains but rather one of something we lack. Something very simple that we just don’t have. I will put it into one word to keep it simple for you humans “Thumbs”.
Now about our agreement and let me explain it simply as some of you humans seem to forgotten our agreement.
Long ago before the agreement between us chosen ones and you humans was made we lived wild and free. We hunted when we needed food and to keep our skills sharp we play hunted.
We caught small animals or bugs that we played with to keep our hunting skills sharp so that when we did go out to hunt bigger things like bird’s mice, rats and rabbits we could do it with ease and provide for our young.
But being smart as we are, we saw you humans storing food in large mud buildings and you always seem to have extra food. That in it’s self created a problem for you and that what the wild things that would come and feed on your food you were storing.
Now we could have stayed as we were which as I said was wild and free. But sometimes food became rare and hard to find.
We had noticed that you had dogs that helped you to hunt and looked after you animals that you used for food or wool or other uses. You had had them for so long that they had forgotten that they too where once wild and free like we chosen ones where. In your counting you, you and dogs had worked together for over forty thousand years.
So having watched you for a long time we came up with the idea of making a trade.
We would keep the mice and rats away from your food supplies and in return you would treat us as was our right. The agreement was made only about eight thousand years ago and next to the silly dogs it seems like not that long ago. And you really needed our help with the rat and mice issue that you had in your food storage places.
But dogs have lost many of the old ways that they use to have when they were wild and free. But they still retain some of those habits of so long ago.
Now back to toys and playing.
Other than keeping our hunting ability sharp, playtime with toys helps to keep us fit, healthy and in shape.
Now I do have a favorite toy and it’s simple and fun.
It’s a long piece of rope with rabbit fur on the end and my human and I play together with it.
He will drag it along the ground and I will lay waiting to pounce as it goes by. Only sometimes he will pull it fast and I have to chase after it. Other times he will pull it slowly by me. And yet other times he will throw it at me and at the last moment before it hits me he pulls it away.
The idea is for me to sharpen my reflexes and if needs be I can hunt and bring us food. But playtime is just more than keeping me fit healthy and in shape. It’s about keeping those very important hunting skills as sharp as possible because you never know when those skills may come in use?
But playtime is not just about chasing things or catching things or pouncing on things. Well yes it is, but also it’s far more than that.
Sometimes when its playtime I hide and wait in ambush. The idea is for me to leap out on things whether it’s from on high or on low or even in the middle someplace.
Playtime as I am trying to get across to you is very important.
Now there are a few different kinds of playtime.
There is just playtime when it’s about nothing much other than passing time between naps.
This kind of playtime is lest important of all but it helps me to kill time when otherwise I might get bored and do something stupid like tipping my water dish other or my food dish or killing the odd plant. Which I do sometimes but not in boredom and I will cover that issue at another time as it is an important issue.
Then there is the playtime about staying fit and healthy.
This kind of play time is important as it keeps my weight down and keeps me active and healthy.
Some of us chosen one do worry about getting over weight and fat. Does that surprise you that we have one of your human weaknesses? I bet it does. But well we have been with you a long time and some of us chosen ones have picked up your habits. And it’s something I myself am not proud off. But there we go. I have admitted that I worry about getting over weight. As it is I am trim slim and don’t have to drag around extra weight. But my human keeps giving me treats and as much as I love them I do worry about getting tubby. But thankfully he only gives them to me about once a week. If it was every day I would get fat.
Ok the next kind of playtime. This one I have partly covered and it’s about keeping my hunting skills sharp.
You see this is important as I have mentioned because there may come a time where I have to hunt for my human and myself to give us food so we can eat and be healthy. It is so important in fact that some of my playtimes is based around laying in wait leaping out and using the power of my hind legs to be able to pounce just right so I can make the kill fast and use as little energy as possible. It’s also the hardest of the play times as it takes great skill to be able to leap out and hit the pray hard enough to kill it. And the toys that my human uses when I am practicing my hunting get beaten up and broken quickly.
Sometimes my human makes the mistake of trying to take toys away from me when I am practicing my hunting. And well sometimes he gets hurt when that happens.
I do feel very bad when I hurt him when I am practicing my hunting but well he should not get his hands or arms in the way as my claws are sharp.
There was one time when he pulled a toy away from me that one of my claws ripped deep into his arm and he bled a lot. But my human is good and he did not get upset nor did he shout out me for hurting him.
Instead he went to his bathing room and cleaned the wound with some things he has in a mirrored box that is mounted on the wall. The sound of his tending his wound was worse than anything I have heard before. Partly because I made the wound and partly from the sounds he was making as what ever he was using seemed to sting and hurt him a lot.
Myself I would have licked the wound clean and then let the air dry it so that it would heal normally.
But I did feel so bad about hurting my human.
I felt so bad that I ran and hid even though he has never hit me or paddled my butt when I have been bad.
Lastly there is the playtime that my human plans.
I’m ok with this kind of playtime but it’s my lest favorite kind of play time as sometimes its not what I want or what I planned.
But well I have to play along and let my human think that it’s what I want and need even though its not and I really don’t want to play.
Now lets get back to toys and the kind of toys I like or I make for myself.
I mentioned a toy I love and that’s the rabbit fur on a rope that my human pulls around for me. But I do have other toys that my human has gotten for me.
But there is one that drives me crazy because I can never catch it on hold on to it or even carry it off as a trophy.
It’s a red dot that my human somehow makes move around. It just appears out of nowhere and even when I put my paws on it, it stays on top of them. I’ve chase that red dot up walls, across floors and even leaping so high that I was shoulder high to my human. But can I catch it? “NO”.
I get so angry with the red dot because I can never catch it. Oh how upset and angry I get. It just makes me so mad because I can’t get it. As I said I can put my paws on top of it and it jumps on top of my paws. Or if I move it’s suddenly on my leg or hip or even my butt. But catch it? No never. And not being able to catch it makes me mutter and chirp and hiss at it.
I could go on and on about the dam red dot but I won’t as by now you have the idea that as much as I love it I hate it too because I can’t catch it ever.
Now I have covered what playtime is about I am going to talk now about what time is playtime.
Anytime I am awake can be playtime. But only when I want it to be playtime and not when my human thinks it’s my playtime.
Playtime can be in the morning. It can be in the afternoon or it can be at night. But it’s never when I am a sleep.
The last part my human does not seem to get sometimes so it should be no surprise to you that sometimes I pretend its playtime when he is a sleep.
This is how I go about my pretend playtime which is really revenge playtime.
I wait until he is deep asleep and has been asleep for a good couple of hours. I will climb up onto his sleeping platform and get to within a few inches of his face. Then as loud as I can I will shout “IT’S PLAYTIME”.
Often my face will be so close to his that I can feel his breath and this helps me to judge when it’s best to wake him up.
A few times I have done my revenge playtime and I have scared him badly.
One time I climb up on his sleeping platform crouched down with my face close to his and I shouted loudly “WAKE UP IT’S PLAYTIME”! I made the mistake of licking my lips and in the darkness my pupils must have been huge. I don’t know what he thought as suddenly pulled his covers close around himself and started to protect his throat.
As if I would hurt him. But he did not go back to sleep for a long while. He just laid there looking at me with a scared look on his face. He should have gotten off of his sleeping platform and played with me. But I guess he was just too scared of little me. Really I ask you. Would I harm my human?
Now having said that, there are times when he is asleep that it really is playtime and well that’s just the way of things.
But playtime can be anytime and that has a lot to do with how I feel and what I would do if I was wild.
There are times when I have just woken up and I am full of energy and ready to play. I am sometimes so full of bouncing energy that I run down the hallway and my back end kind of starts to catch up with me that I end up running sideways and my tail will come around and hit me in the face if I am not careful.
Other times I just can’t help myself as suddenly I get a huge burst of energy and if I don’t run, play, bounce and pounce I won’t be able to nap or sleep or even behave.
My human can’t figure this out and I have tried to explain it to him.
Sometimes we have a conversation about what he calls my “hob nail boots”.
It goes something like this.
- My human “How can such a small cat that weighs 8lbs dripping wet make such loud noise when you run down the hallway”
- Me “Coz I can”.
- My human “I just don’t get it. Its thump thump thump cash. Just how the hell can you do that”?
- Me “Coz I can”.
- My human “Lexi you will just have to be lighter on your feet”.
- Me “I will do as I please and don’t you forget I am in charge around here”.
The whole bouncing and thumbing around is still part of playtime. And I do so enjoy my playtime.
Now there is a play time I have not mentioned or covered and that’s playtime for my human.
Human playtime is odd as I really don’t understand it. It’s like kitten playtime and has no set pattern or plan.
Human playtime could be early in the day when the sun is fresh in the sky or late at night when the moon is low in the sky.
Now human playtime is as fun as playing with kittens. Which is not?
My human will get up sometimes and I will be asleep on the cushion on the long sitting thing and he will sneak up and use his hands like he was a kitten and bounce me. That makes me jump and sometimes I fluff up badly.
Other times my human will be doing something in the human covering cleaning place and I will be watching him. As I walk away he will spin around and tap my back end the same way I play tag. Then he will kind of move sideways which looks so wrong for a human.
Other times I will be laying on the back of the long sitting place and he will walk by and rough me up. I will sit up and then he will tap me like a kitten would. Well then the game is on as he’s pretending to be a kitten. We will box and try and hit each other without getting hit.
I normally win as I am fast and smarter. But once in a while I will let him win. But I have to keep my claws in or I will make him bleed and that’s never good as I have said before.
The whole thing about playtime is you never know when it’s going to happen or what will be used.
And at this point I am going to end.
But before I go I want you to remember one thing. My name is not Lexi or Lexi May it's “She who must be obeyed”. Got that?