Crash! I heard dishes hitting the kitchen floor. “Oh no, Kissy,” I cried. “Not again.” Our orange marmalade cat, Kissy, expressed displeasure by shoving dishes off the grey granite counter top onto the unyielding Mexican tile. The first time it happened, I thought it was an accident. He wasn’t the most graceful cat. In fact, one of the reasons we picked him out at the shelter was the sweet way he had of falling over his own feet. He became even klutzier after he rammed his head into our mirrored wall a few times, thinking he was head butting an enemy cat.
I thought the broken dishes were the price we had to pay for choosing a slippery footed cat and for me not putting dirty dishes in the dishwasher right away. The third time it happened I was convinced he pushed them deliberately.
When I suggested this to our older daughter, Lori, she argued, “Come on, Mom, he’s just a kitten. He isn’t mean.”
“Yes, he’s still a kitten, but he’s getting bigger every day. Look at him, his belly is practically dragging on the floor.”
“He’s probably eating too much. We should put him on a diet.”
I laughed. “Put Kissy on a diet? Then we would see broken dishes.”
“Mom, you always exaggerate.” She looked down to check her latest text messages while she continued to excuse the cat claiming, “He’s just an awkward little guy.”
“He may be awkward, but he’s also selective. He only knocks over rimmed soup plates, not flat dishes or round bowls. Haven’t you noticed that when you help pick up the pieces?”
No, I didn’t notice that. If he is doing it deliberately, maybe it’s because he hates his name. What self-respecting cat would want to be called, Kissy?”
“That was Dina’s choice, not mine. It was her turn to name a pet.”
Lori scowled at her little sister’s name choice. “She would pick a dumb name. But he is a dumb cat. Do you really think Kissy’s smart enough to pick and choose what he destroys?” She rolled her eyes at my foolishness
“I don’t know why he’s so china specific. Maybe the flat bowls are easier to swipe with his furry paws.”
“The next thing I know you’ll be claiming good old loveable Kissy is a genius.”
“Well, no, I don’t think I’d ever say that.” A few days later I was not so sure.
I decided I might be able to keep Kissy from breaking things by shutting him in the laundry room with his litter box after we all went to bed. That night Kissy sat with me while I stayed up late to watch an old tear jerker movie, Johnny Belinda. My husband and the girls were already tucked away. They had pantomimed gagging when I suggested watching the movie.
Good, old klutzy kissy was always ready to watch anything and it was comforting to have a soft, warm, furry cat on my lap during the saddest parts. But when the final frames faded away, I acted on my decision. I gathered Kissy up, set him down in the laundry, and quickly shut the door.
I climbed the stairs to get ready for bed. I was taking off my watch when I felt something brush my leg. I muffled a shriek, looked down to see Kissy giving me an impudent look.
Oh, I thought, I must not have completely closed the door. I picked him up and trotted down the stairs to close him up in the laundry room again. This time I tried the door knob to make sure it was latched and marched back up the stairs, sure he was in securely.
I had moved on to brushing my teeth when I felt Kissy against my leg. Was he a magic cat? How on earth was he getting out of that room? I reached down and ruffled up his furry little neck and asked him, “What are you doing down there?” Back to the laundry room we went. I shut the door and made sure the doorknob was latched. But this time I stood outside it to see if he could materialize through the door like a ghost cat.
After a few seconds and a few plaintive meows the doorknob started to jiggle. I gawked at it. The cat could turn a knob! The knob jiggled and jiggled until it became unlatched and Kissy’s little head pushed the door open. How did his paws do that? I stepped into the laundry room and looked at the inside doorknob. Hanging from it was a small purse Dina had left on it. Kissy had pulled and pulled on it, reaching up with his agile paws, twisting the knob until he got the desired result. Escape.
I thought of waking Lori to tell her Kissy was indeed a genius, but decided that revelation could wait 'til morning. I carefully removed the purse from the doorknob and put Kissy back into the laundry room for the last time that night.