A Funny Thing Happened at Deb Kerry’s House

This week we Debs are supposed to regale you with funny family stories.

This has turned out to be a surprisingly difficult task. I know there are lots of funny stories in my family, because I distinctly remember sitting around re-telling them and laughing our heads off while doing so. But when it came to the part about blogging, I ran into a problem. Most of the stories that come to mind a) are only in funny in family context – ie., you really had to be there, or b) they would embarrass somebody in the family if I shared them, or c) they really aren’t fit to tell in mixed company.

In my mind, a good funny family story should be something like this:

But as nothing remotely approaching the hilarity of A Christmas Story comes to mind, I shall tell you about Irving the cat and my mother.

It is important to understand that my brother, my Dad, and I were cat lovers. My mom, not so much. She tolerated the procession of pet cats who lived in our house over the years, but would have much preferred that they live in the barn. The idea of a warm purry critter in her lap while she read a book or watched TV? Not for her.

Irving sensed her opinion of cats. In typical contrary cat fashion, he selected her as his particular victim. He would wait around the house for her, hiding behind stair railings or chairs. When she walked by he’d shoot out a paw to snag her nylons, then run hell bent for leather to a place of safety. The running was important on his part, because there were episodes where she chased him with a slipper or a broom.

But this was not his only trick, oh no. Irving was a master of his craft and knew well the value of variety. He would wait until she sat down in a comfortable place where it appeared she would stay for awhile. When she was settled, he would curl up beside her, ignoring her suggestions that he move elsewhere. A few moments later, he would put a tentative foot on her lap, purring in his most charming and non-threatening manner. She’d push him away. He would persist, repeatedly, until she gave up and tolerated the foot. The second foot followed. Inroads were made in this manner until Irving had insinuated his entire body not only into her lap but onto her chest. For a few disarming minutes he would lie there, purring, biding his time. At the perfect moment (known only to him) he would bite her on the neck and run away.

Yes, people – this happened not once, but repeatedly. My brother and I would watch the process with repressed glee, knowing full well what the outcome would be. (And yes, we were evil children for not intervening.) How did my mother – a woman of great determination and strength of will – allow this scenario to repeat itself?

I can only say that I believe firmly in the Power of the Cat, of which Irving was a master.

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13 thoughts on “A Funny Thing Happened at Deb Kerry’s House

  1. Well, it’s official! The holiday season is here! In our house, it only is official after a viewing of A Christmas Story so it’s here!! Or rather; it’s ON!

    What a great story. Having spent the holiday with 3 family cats, I was gleefully reminded of the particular mind of a cat. There’s no figuring them out, and no changing their minds once set. One can only go with the flow with cats.

    Hope your holiday was a joyful one, my dear!

    • So true! And although all cats certainly have traits in common, I’ve never had two that were alike. Totally different and fascinating personalities. My holiday was lovely. I hope yours was too, despite the sad absence of leftover pie. 🙂

  2. Growing up, we were in a similar situation with respect to my dad and my dog, Rags. My dad was, shall we say, less than enthusiastic about having a dog, but Rags seemed to sense this and made it her mission to win over his affections. She would whimper with happiness when he came home and would snuggle up next to him on the couch, often ending up in his lap. However, unlike Irving, Rags would never, ever nip or snap at my dad. She tried to kill him with kindness. I feel like that typifies the difference between cats and dogs. Cats are sly and can be vindictive, but dogs are like, “Hi! Hi! Hi! Love me! Love me! Love me!”

    • Dana – you are so right about dogs. Which, I confess, is why I prefer cats. I don’t feel guilty about not petting the cat. Dogs are so needy. Their feelings are so easily crushed.

    • Mary – yes, because you know the mother in question! I don’t think you ever met Irving the Psycho Cat did you?

  3. Irving sounds awesome. Ironically, my kitten Oobie (she’s four but only weighs about 5 pounds so she will be my kitten forever) seems to have that kind of sixth sense about my mother, who likes cats but is horribly allergic to them. Oobie waits until my mom sits down and then jumps into her lap – almost as if she knows Mom can’t lift her off without triggering an allergy attack (but can’t let her stay without a slightly more delayed one).

    Awesome story. Love it.

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