This post is another Sophie, my cat, story. She turned one - year - old in August, she's no longer a kitten so when she's naughty it's no longer as "cute" as it once was. I've had cats in my life for 50 years, but never one as "challenging" as Sophie. She is very smart, understands a lot of commands and better than most cats, she actually obeys me - some of the time. She loves to climb everywhere. If she's awake, she's climbing. She is also the clumsiest cat I have ever shared my home with. She will climb up on top of the kitchen cabinets over the refrigerator and frequently curl up in one of my baskets. Occasionally she will get the basket rocking around and several times has come flying off the edge of the cupboard crashing to the kitchen floor. So I've had to pack away my beautiful baskets. Or she loves to walk around on top of the stair railing like a tightrope - but without the gracefulness or balance of most cats. And yes she has fallen from there too. I'm not sure how many of her 9 lives she has exhausted, but I know she has stressed me out many times.
Her most challenging behavior is her absolute obsession with knocking things down from shelves, tables, wherever anything is set down even for a minute. I used to have a pleasant, enjoyable art studio downstairs with all my bits and baubles for art making displayed in a multitude of clear mason jars on shelves. Then as she grew, while relaxing upstairs I would suddenly be startled by huge crashes downstairs. Time after time I would venture down there to find a jar (or what was once a jar) exploded on the floor with beads or little glass tiles and broken mason jars spread all over the floor. After six glass jars were destroyed, I had to pack everything up in order to preserve my treasures. So subsequently there wouldn't be any more inspiration coming from seeing all the pretty colors and baubles in the clear glass jars. Even though all of my favorite things are packed away, Sophie will still find something to knock down every day. She will often push things with her nose to the top of the stairs and joyously give it the last nudge to savor watching whatever it is noisily bounce down the stairs.
That brings me to her playing fetch. Like the retrievers I grew up with I have always taught my cats to fetch. Usually it was a piece of crinkly paper, but Sophie has enjoyed the game so immensely that we have refined the catch to using the nylon balls meant for playing in swimming pools. We graduated to those balls because they are so lightweight yet can be quite large for her little mouth. She discovered she could sink her teeth into them and carry them all over the house until she finds the most intriguing, difficult place to drop it and challenge herself to dig it out again. Her most favorite thing is for me to throw them down the stairs so she can run and retrieve it, bring it back and drop it at my feet. Often if I get up from bed during the night, I'll find her sitting at my bedroom door with her ball ready to play. These are just some of the quirky, sometimes entertaining, often nerve rattling, and always endearing feats she provides for me on a daily basis. I'm just grateful she hasn't injured herself yet. Or me.