Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2004
Dear Diary:

Who says a life o' crime doesn't pay?

Who you looking at fool?Back when we first picked our cats at the shelter last year we took them to our vet to make sure they were in good health. They passed with flying colours, although the vet said Norma was overweight and recommended that she drop at least half a kilo (about 1 pound) and said it would be even better if she'd shed a whole kilo.

Cats, she explained, get the same health problems we humans do if they get obese--heart problems, diabetes, you name it. Uh oh.

I couldn't restrict access to food because I have three cats and one of them, Enid, needs to eat a lot because she is a little kitty dynamo.

So what do you do here? Atkins? Well, cats eat a pretty high protein diet. Weight Watchers? Uh, the whole concept of points is kind of hard to get across to a feline. Dr. Phil? Are you serious? Have you ever tried to point out lifestyle flaws to a cat? Trust me, the words "And how's that working for you?" roll right off a cat's back.

Not that I would ever talk to a cat. No. Not me. Not ever.

This is where Norma's life o' crime actually worked to her advantage. Norma has a burning need to take things. I don't think she sees this as theft so much as hunting. Her favourite things to steal are my hat, mittens and an ace bandage I use to tape up my bad knee at the gym if I feel twinges of pain.

She rummages around the house until she finds these articles (I have actually seen her climb into my half open gym bag and pull out the ace bandage), and then carries them to me, dropping them at my feet, meowling about her hunting prowess.

"Look, I have ended The Mitten Menace."

"Those Touque Terrorists won't get past me."

"No need to fear the Bandage Banditos, little lady."

Well, if she was going to steal this stuff anyhow, I figured I might as well play along with her. So I gave her the old touque I wear for chores, my mittens (which were getting worn anyhow) and one of my rattier ace bandages.

Since I work upstairs, the cat's need to show off her "treasures" to me meant she had to roam up and down the stairs to do it. I head up and down the stairs many times during the day myself. I started to pick up Norma's treasures and deposit them back downstairs.

Only, I didn't leave them on the floor. Nope, I scattered them somewhere where the cat was going to have to make an effort to get them--on top of a chair, on top of the laundry hamper, or in the tub, for instance. So she did a lot of prowling, climbing, and leaping, because, you know, It Is Her Job to curb the mitten menace, touque terrorists and bandage banditos.

Many days she probably makes a dozen or so trips up and down the stairs Keeping Our House Safe--I hear the tup tup tup of her feet, the proud meowling, and then she materializes to drop her latest victim off at my feet. I praise her lavishly and scratch her under her chin, something she just loves. It's paid off.

Norma getting that badly needed 22 hours plus of daily sleep.Today I weighed her and over the last few months she's come close to losing that kilo. When I pick her up, I notice that she feels a lot more muscular. Not only that, but she's got more energy than she had when she first came to us.

She and Enid play a lot now, there's a fair bit of wrasslin' and chasing, something Norma just didn't do when she first came.

The other day I teased the spousal unit about how Operation Enid Bojangles, his project to teach our cat Enid to "dance" on command, wasn't going too well. I'd just come down to the kitchen for a cup of tea, so I'd brought with me one of Norma's mittens and her touque.

He made a big show of eyeballing them and then teased me back that while he couldn't seem to train Enid, Norma seemed to be doing a crackerjack job of training me to play fetch for her.

Oh man.

He's right, you know.

--Marn

P.S.--In response to a request in my comments, the view from my office:

We ain't got much money but we've got a million dollar view.

Mileage on the Marnometer: 176.98 miles. Ten percent there rubber duck.
Oh man. This is going to be hard
Goal for 2004: 1,000 miles - 1609 kilometers

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This template is a riff on a design by the truly talented Quinn. Because I'm a html 'tard, I got alot of pity coding to modify it from Ms. Kittay, a woman who can make html roll over, beg, and bring her her slippers. The logo goodness comes from the God of Graphics, the Fuhrer of Fonts, the one, the only El Presidente. I smooch you all. The background image is part of a painting called Higher Calling by Carter Goodrich which graced the cover of the Aug. 3, 1998 issue of The New Yorker Magazine.

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