Tuesday, February 18, 2014
Chapter Nine: Rooms and Rules
Ting-ting was right. When morning came, Mommy opened the door of his little room and called his name. He peered cautiously out and saw a long narrow room. At one end he could see Daddy and Sophie, seated on a high soft place with Ting-Ting beside them. Daddy called to him and Boots made his way down the long room to greet the rest of his Family. He sniffed nervously at each strange thing he passed, but finally reached the center of a large comfortable room. He sat down and mewed anxiously, with a definite question mark at the end. Carefully, Sophie placed Ting-Ting on the floor and the two Cats began to close the distance between them. When they finally met, they sniffed each other’s face and touched noses. Boots lay down and rolled on his back so everyone would know he felt no aggression toward Ting-Ting. Boots could see her smiling as she gave him a gentle tap with her paw. Then she ran off as fast as she could, yelling over her shoulder, ”Catch me if you can!”
Boots scrambled to his feet and mewed a question to his new Family. They were all smiling and laughing, so he knew he had their permission to follow his laughing friend.
“Here I come Ting-Ting, so be prepared! The clever Hero Cat is on your trail. There’s no place to hide that I can’t seek you out.” Boots charged up the stairs after Ting-Ting, only to be ambushed at the top.
“Gotcha!” she cried, laughing infectiously.
“I surrender,” giggled Boots, as the two settled down for some serious conversation.
“Well, Boots, do you want to start with a tour of the house or shall we discuss the Rules first?”
“Rules? What are the Rules? I would think they would be the first thing I should know, if I expect to stay in everyone’s good graces.”
Ting-Ting looked slightly embarrassed as she spoke. “I must confess that some are House Rules, but a few…well…I don’t know exactly how to put this, but… some of them are mine.”
“Your rules? Remember your promise, Ting-Ting. There must always be honesty between us. So, what exactly are these ‘Rules’ of yours?”
“You must realize that I have lived here practically all of my life and Siamese Cats tend to be sort of possessive of their Humans. All I ask is that Mommy is to be MY ‘Best Human.’ I think that you and Daddy are beginning to have a deep connection, so he can be YOUR Best Human.”
“And just where does Sophie fit into this neat little plan of yours?”
“Why, Boots! Don’t be silly. Sophie is EVERYONE’S Best Human! We will both give her our love and attention and she will do the same for us! Well, what do you think? Will it work? The object is to avoid jealousy and head off any potential problems. Don’t you agree, Boots?”
“Well, I must admit that your Rules, as you call them, seem to be fair, but perhaps you would concede that if one of us has a problem, the Rules will be open to discussion.”
“Yes, definitely! Shall we seal the bargain?” said Ting-Ting, as she rose to her feet, facing Boots.
Boots stood, and standing side by side, they linked tails and gave a “shake” and the bargain was struck.
“Now would probably be a good time for you to fill me in on the House Rules, Ting-Ting. They sound kind of important.”
“Yes, Boots, they are, and it will also be a great time to give you that tour. The Rules and the rooms sort of go together. We might as well start up here where everyone sleeps.
Ting-Ting led the way to a large sunlit room with a huge sleeping-place in the corner. “This is where Mommy and Daddy sleep. If you like napping in the sun, this is a splendid spot, very soft and snuggly. See these funny doors? Inside are lots of grand spots for hide and seek and many pairs of the curious Human paw-coverings. I love to hide things in them. It really makes Mommy laugh to discover my little surprises.
Now for the Rules… of course, no claw sharpening on ANYTHING, and absolutely no climbing the window coverings.”
“Wait, Ting-ting. You said no claw sharpening. There seem to be plenty of good spots here. If we can’t use them, where do we sharpen?”
“No problem, Boots. I’ll show you where and you won’t believe your eyes! No more questions. I want to surprise you and see the look on your face when we get there.
Now on with the tour… right over here is Sophie’s room. It’s very soothing here. Sophie loves to play in here and her sleeping place is full of soft cuddly playthings that she is willing to share. The same rules apply in this room, too, as they do in all the rooms of the house, except for the surprise room.
Right down here is what they call the Guest Room. Sometimes other Family members come to visit, Big Ones and Little Ones. They all are friendly to the People, so it’s never a problem and mostly a lot of fun. We get to poke in their strange boxes and smell all their funny strange smells. One of them, his name is Ricky, is what they call a Lurgic. I’m not sure what that means, but we can’t sit on his lap or rub against him, because things begin to explode from his nose and then he can’t stop.”
“Do these others come often? How will I know which one is Ricky? I wouldn’t want to make any social ‘faux-paws.’”
“Don’t worry, I’ll be sure to tell you who is who. You’ll know when they’re coming because Mommy goes into an absolute frenzy of tidying up and cleaning things. What fun it is when she changes the coverings on the sleeping spots. I jump and pounce under the covers and over the covers and even over and under Mommy. It’s one of my favorite sports!”
“Where is the room with the falling water, Ting-Ting? I’m sure they must have one. Humans seem to be obsessed with water in some strange way. I think it may be how they clean themselves. They must have forgotten how much easier it is just to use your tongue. I must confess that I like the water room too, but I’m not sure why.”
“Our Humans have two of the water rooms, one over here and one downstairs. I know what you mean about these strange rooms. They’re a bit frightening, but very compelling. I have discovered that if I jump onto the table with the two round bowls, Mommy will turn a strange metal thing and a thin stream of water comes out. I find it to be quite refreshing.”
“Say, speaking of refreshment, Ting-Ting, don’t you think we could stop for something to eat. I’m feeling rather peckish, if you know what I mean. How about a tour of the food bowls?”
“Fine with me. It’s time to show you the other part of the house anyway, so a bite of something certainly seems to be in order. Just follow your nose!”
The two friends made their way to the kitchen and found two bowls filled with crunchy goodies. They each settled down in front of a bowl, had a few bites, and then traded off, just to make sure that there was nothing better in the other’s bowl.
“Very satisfying,” said Boots. “Shall we have a wash-up and then continue our tour? I’m very anxious to see your ‘surprise.’”
“Are you sure you don’t want a nap first? I find a short nap after eating to be very good for the digestion.”
“I’m much too excited to nap now, Ting-Ting. Please show me the rest of the House. Please?”
“As you wish. I’m sure you know this is the food room. Our food is stored over here, behind this little door. If you’re really hungry, just rub against it and someone is sure to give you something yummy. There are some special Rules for this room. We can’t jump onto anything in here, except for the sitting spots and the window ledges. I’m not sure why, but this seems to be the only room with these Rules, and I always try to obey them. Well, almost always.”
“Yes. I remember that Old Lady would get very angry if I walked on the places in her Food Room. It must be the same with all Humans. It’s curious and also a bit confusing. But that’s Humans for you. What’s next on the tour, Ting-Ting?”
“Well, there are a few more places I wanted you to see, especially the dark room downstairs. That's where the litter boxes are and many curious things that are very entertaining, but there are also large boxes with curious aromas that turn on and off with no warning. It can be a bit upsetting until you're used to them. But Boots, I’ve kept you waiting long enough. It’s time to show you my surprise. Down at the other end of the House is a room they call ‘The Den.’ It’s very comforting to know that Humans have Dens, too, don’t you think? Maybe we’re more closely related to Humans than we know. Now close your eyes and follow me. I’ll tell you when to open.”
Boots followed Ting-Ting into the Den and when he was positioned exactly where she wanted him, she told him to open his eyes.
When he did, he could scarcely believe what was in front of his eyes.. Part of the room contained the usual Human things, but the other side was a virtual Cat paradise.
“Ting-Ting, how marvelous! Is that a tree?”
“It’s our very own tree – not like the ones outside, but even better. Come and try it with me. See. The bark is very special, just perfect for claw sharpening. Ooh, doesn’t it feel wonderful? Now for some fun! I bet I can beat you to the top.”
“Bet you can’t,” laughed Boots, as the two raced up and around and jumped from platform to platform and ducked through holes and passageways.
“It’s a tie,” shouted Boots as he and Ting-Ting reached the top of their awesome, indoor, just-for-cats tree. It was an absolutely perfect tree, reaching from floor to ceiling and almost wall to wall. There were ledges for sitting and jumping, tunnels for prowling, secret arbors for hiding, a clever cat-sized ladder inside the trunk for climbing, and even cozy comfy hammocks for napping.
“How wonderful, Ting-Ting! How did this come to be here?”
“Mommy and Daddy built it. Sophie and I helped, too. It was ever so much fun. I couldn’t imagine what it was going to be, and when it was finished, I was stunned. Imagine… a tree! Right here for me, and now for you, too.”
“Ting-Ting, now I know all my dreams have come true. I have a wonderful Home and a Family to love. And as an extra bonus, I have you for a friend and companion. I want you and everyone to know how grateful I am. I promise to try to be the best Cat I’m capable of being. I want to make my new Family proud.”
“Oh, Boots, you know that I’m already proud of you. After all, aren’t you the Clever, Brave, Hero Cat?”
“No teasing, Ting-ting, unless you’re willing to pay the price. Here I come…you’d better start running. You know how clever I am.”
Ting-Ting let out a laugh and off they went, around and around, over and under, up and down until they finally collapsed into one of their tree’s snug hammocks, tired and happy.
Snuggled together, legs draped over each other, and over the sides of their comfy bed, a nap attack had suddenly struck and the two friends purred contentedly as they slept.
Mommy, Daddy and Sophie walked into the room and began to smile. As they watched the peaceful pair, Sophie gave her Mommy and Daddy a grateful hug, and posed the inevitable question.
“Is this the part where they live happily ever after?”