#215–To Sir with love . . .


This blog post proves the old adage, “Dogs have masters, cats have staff!” Sir Groucho is an indoor cat with a well-trained staff of one—me. I’ve listed several examples that will leave no doubt.


Sir Groucho lives up to his name in this photo.

These blinds have specific settings

You can spot the house. It’s the one with the blinds raised just high enough for Sir Groucho to see out easily from the skinny window by the door, and raised just so on the middle window in the living room. This is where he looks out from a small table.


Sir Groucho is master of all he surveys, as he sits atop the “cat palace.”

Cat palace

This large piece of furniture sits smack dab in front of the sliding glass door in the dining room—blocking the best view in the house. I bought the cat palace to keep Sir Groucho from jumping on the dining room table and kitchen counter. He took right away to the climbing aspects, the scratching post, and sleeping in the box on top. But he ignored the two-story cat house with the hole in the roof for climbing in and out . . . until this past year. Don’t know why, but after five years, he finally discovered it. Of course, the cat palace didn’t keep him off of anything. He simply used it to launch onto the kitchen counter.




The portable cat steps solved Sir Groucho’s problem, but created problems for me.

Portable steps both solve and create problems

I spend a lot of time in my office, which doubles as a guest room. So when I put cat steps in there to make it easier for Sir G to get to the top of the cabinet, it greatly inconvenienced me. He used to jump from the chair I sit at to get to the top of the cabinet, but when he fell a second time, I got out the cat steps. I had them stored in the garage. They had been used for my previous cat, Jetson, when he needed help getting up on the bed at night in his last couple of years. When I put them in my office, Sir G just ran right up them. No problem. Only thing, I could no longer use the futon couch to sit on, and it made it impossible to get to my bookcase without moving them every time. And when I had company, they were in the way big time.


Sir Groucho loves being up high.

Five-story cat tower

Impulse buys are not always the best buys, but this was the exception. When I saw a tall skinny climbing tower for cats at Mini Pet Mart a couple of weeks ago, I came back the next morning with bungee cords. I got most of it in my trunk and anchored it to the trunk lid with the bungees and got it home.







He enjoys sitting at every level.

I got it upstairs with the help of my stair lift and set it up in my office. Then introduced it to Sir Groucho. He took to it cautiously, but by the next day was making his way to the top and back down in record time. He loves it. And the cat steps are back in the garage.








He even enjoys the bottom level.



Water bowl saga

Groucho used to drag his water bowl all over the kitchen splashing water everywhere. Then he received a heavy ceramic bowl with a low center of gravity, which he didn’t move for about a year. Then when he started moving it, I placed it within a rimmed cookie sheet. That worked for a couple of years before he started splashing water all over. Now, he uses one of the sinks in the master bedroom bath, which I fill with fresh water each morning. Good thing I have two sinks. At the moment, it works just fine and no more problems with the other water dish.

Feed me, feed me

While I have three meals a day, Sir G gets fed five times a day. This is down from the 11 times a day I fed him when I first rescued the scrawny, bedraggled creature that trusted no one, I did get it down to twice a day for most of the past eight years. But things changed a few months ago, when I realized that he had become quite skinny. His weight had gone down from a high of 11+ pounds to just under 9. So I started to feed him more often to fatten him up. It has worked. He is at about 10 pounds, which is perfect. He looks good and under his long fur, I can feel he’s put on weight. But I’ve created a monster; every time I walk into the kitchen, he lets out a terrible, loud wail. You’d think I never fed him. And if I try to sleep in, he’ll knock cups into the sink or knock other stuff off the counter, creating quite a racket. This, of course, gets me up. He simply wants to be fed!

Brushing can be dangerous

He loves being brushed and will sit patiently while I brush him and then comb him with a steel comb that used to belong to my Standard Poodle (haven’t told him about that). If I am really fast in flipping him over to do his underside, I brush and comb him there too. Once it sinks in that he’s on his back, he turns into a snarly, growly monster that would rake me with his claws and sink his teeth into me. That happened once, in a totally different situation, when I hadn’t had him too long. I won’t risk it happening again. So I move quickly and keep my face as far away as possible.

Cutting invisible toenails

He turns into that same unfriendly monster when I try to cut his toenails. Since he has long white fur on his feet that hides his toenails, I have trouble just trying to find them—let alone cutting them. So I go to the vet every month and have them trimmed. It’s well worth the cost.

Constant companion

Wherever I’m in the house, he’ll be nearby. He simply doesn’t allow me to become lonely. He also has an opinion about everything, and, of course, I respond. Whenever I sit, he wants on my lap. And he gets his way except at mealtime. If I’m not sitting, he’ll often get in front of me when I’m walking down the hall or busy in the kitchen and flop onto his side. This means “pet me . . . now!”


He loves to peek around the corner at me.

Still playful

After he eats, he likes to play with his toys. He’ll often dash around chasing balls, and then hit one towards me. He loves it when I return it. Which means I run all over the place, and he stays put. He also peeks at me from around a corner. When I chase after him, he dashes away and a game of hide and seek ensues. And every evening he chases the shadow of and the actual rope I have attached to the bedroom closet door when I swing it in his direction. He bats at and hits it with either paw. He will charge it and back off and keeps letting me know how he wants to change up the game. He gets so excited, he’ll snort and gnash his teeth. No matter how tired I may be, we have this playtime. When I see him sitting expectantly in the closet, I never have the heart to say no.


Sir Groucho usually takes up a fair amount of space. Good thing it’s a king-size bed.


It’s a good thing I have a king-size bed because he’ll often take up one side, lying sideways or diagonally. If I wake up and find myself on the edge, I simply get up and walk around to the other side. At least once during the night, he’ll come close and lick my cheek or touch nose to nose, while purring. He likes this together time, and when he’s had enough, the purring stops and he moves down by my feet or to the crook of my legs.

I can’t imagine living without him, but he is becoming older—somewhere between 14 and 17 according to the vet. So I’ll cherish each day.


About crossingsauthor

Judy Fleagle spent 22 years teaching 1st and 2nd grades and 21 years as editor/staff writer with Oregon Coast and Northwest Travel magazines.Since 2009, she has written five books: "Crossings: McCullough's Coastal Bridges," "The Crossings Guide to Oregon's Coastal Spans," "Around Florence," "Devil Cat and Other Colorful Animals I Have Known," and "The Oregon Coast Guide to the UNEXPECTED!!!."
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2 Responses to #215–To Sir with love . . .

  1. Evelyn says:

    So, I’m waiting for the part where you explain why your behavior is unusual? Doesn’t every cat guardian routinely do this stuff? Have I missed something? LOL! 🙂

    • Too funny! Yes, but in different ways! At Christmas, my sister and I were discussing all the ways our cats (she has two big boys at 17 and 19 pounds and indoor cats about 6 years old) have us trained. They will lift any window left even a quarter inch open at the bottom and both be out in the yard. They have been known to knock out screens. If she puts a vase of flowers on the table, they will lay them all out on the table, then drink the water. If you lean down towards one of them, he will jump on your shoulder and expect a ride around the house. And the other will retrieve anything tossed to him and expect to play on and on. Her blinds are raised at certain windows and every couch has something for the cats to lay on or under as they wish! Don’t you love it! We are all such push overs when it comes to our cats.

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