COLUMNISTS

Returning home to cat-induced chaos

Susan Manzke
Car-E, left, joins Barn-E in pilfering the stock of cat treats.

I’m going to start today with an old family story.

It was the 1990s. My children were old enough so no babysitter was needed when Bob and I were working. It was a day when I was field cultivating and Bob hurried to catch up behind me, planting.

At home, the children were creating a simple meal from the food I left for them. On this day Rebecca was making cheese sandwiches and tomato soup. She was a teenager and could cook a filling meal for all.

When my workday ended, I expected to find leftovers to warm up for myself. What I found instead was chaos.

There had been a disagreement between Rebecca and big brother, Rob. When tempers flared, an almost empty can of Campbell's tomato soup was slammed on the kitchen counter. The anger exhibited sent drops of orange/red soup flying. They went high enough to decorate the kitchen ceiling.

I did not yell. It wouldn’t do any good to lose my cool. Instead, I took a deep breath and said, “I’m going for a walk. When I come back I want this soup cleaned up, even from the ceiling.” I then walked out the door.

The kitchen ceiling still had splotches when I returned from my walk. A ladder was needed to reach those spots. Most of the rest of the room was clean. The children had all eaten by this time. Eventually, Bob and I made our own grilled cheese sandwiches.

Funny how the image of my kitchen splattered with tomato soup concentrate has stuck with me all these years. Other chaotic happenings occurred when my children were young, sometimes I even heard about them, but this kitchen sight has remained with me and I thought I’d share it.

Such chaos doesn’t happen here today, at least not with children. I’m afraid all new disarray begins with my cats, especially Barn-E.

This morning, Car-E was lounging in the sun on the porch. When I went out to mow the lawn, I assumed Barn-E was also relaxing somewhere in the house after eating breakfast.

When I returned from mowing, I let Car-E back into the kitchen. He immediately raced forward, discovering the mess left by his brother.

Barn-E had opened the cabinet where cat food and treats are tucked away. He not only knocked out cans, but he also managed to pop open the lids of the plastic treat containers. One was leftover from my late dog, Sunny. Those Snaps were just scattered about. The cat treats were not overlooked.

Car-E joined Barn-E in the treat feast—I took time to snap the photo before locking them both on the porch. I figured this warranted mention in a column. Also, warranted are a few child locks on my kitchen cabinets.

Barn-E bats at the light pull cord over the kitchen sink.

I needed a wash bucket from the basement, but when I went there, I found the light over the wash basin was on. This had happened before. At first, I thought it was a ghost, maybe Bob. But after looking things over, I figured it out.

Barn-E loves to play with dangling objects. The light over the sink is on a pull chain. Anytime that darn cat is on the hunt for something that is dangling, he heads for that light. I can just imagine someone on the outside seeing the light blinking on and off. Maybe my crazy cat is signaling for more treats. I wouldn’t put it past him.

Some say they won’t have cats in the house. I, on the other hand, find them funny, even with the problems they cause. Except for Cruella. My third cat is old and is no longer playful. She just likes to come for a scratch now and then.

Susan Manzke, Sunnybook Farm, N8646 Miller Rd, Seymour, WI 54165; susanmanzke@gmail.com; sunnybook@aol.com; www.susanmanzke.net/blog.