So Mean Jean has learned to fetch.
Her favoritest toy in the whole wide world is a couple of pipe cleaners twisted together. It seems to provide the exact blend of chewy texture, stringlikeness, wiry robustness and vague countercultural aura that she craves.
The boys stumbled upon this discovery after we’d had her for a short while, and for a couple of weeks she and "Toy" (we’re very creative with our pet-accessory naming) were inseparable partners. Then Jean showed up with a woeful expression and sans Toy. Had Toy been lost in the cardboard-box wasteland of our basement? Stuffed down the heater vent? Abducted by aliens? There was no telling. Jean had lost her dearest companion.
Last week while we were at Last Thursday (totally my favorite Portland event), we stopped by Collage (totally my favorite Portland artsy store) so I could get a couple of charcoal pencils. I had already paid and was headed for the door when Rhys came running up to me. "Mama! Mama! Can we get these for Jean?" He held up a huge package of "chenille sticks" (dammit, they’re pipe cleaners–call them pipe cleaners!).
"No, honey, they’re three dollars and I’m not spending three dollars on pipe cleaners."
"What about dese ones?" Lo and behold, there was a smaller package of "chenille sticks" that only cost a dollar. I’m sure I could’ve found the same thing at a Big Lots or a thrift store for about forty-three cents, but he was so excited and hopeful… hell, you couldn’t have said no to him either. So I gave him a dollar (I’m still adjusting to Oregon’s beautiful lack of sales tax… things cost exactly what they say on the price tag! It’s crazy world!), he proudly paid for the "chenille sticks" and we headed home to make Jean once again an ‘appy cat.
Now, a week later, she’s discovered that if she can find someone to throw "Friend" (we couldn’t very well name it "Toy" when "Toy" is lost and dead… that’d be sort of grim, wouldn’t it?), and if she picks Friend up and returns to the person who tossed it in the first place and drops it at that person’s feet and makes her sad high-pitched little squeak-meow, the person will more than likely toss Friend for her again.
It’s utterly charming, really, watching this indefatigable little cat go scampering around the house with a mouthful of twisted pipe cleaners. Or it is, at least, the first thirty-eleven times in a row she does it. By my calculations, I’ve been throwing Friend across the room roughly every twenty seconds for the last… oh, hour or so.
On the bright side, perhaps all this fetching will tucker Jean out so she’ll be too tired to burrow under the covers and bite my toes tonight.