by Jean Manning – published in the Greenbook, 1981

Both cats have their own way of getting attention; they have a bowl of water on the sink, however a ritual has to be gone through.

For Spooky, you put the plug in an allow about four tablespoons of water. He jumps up at the side of the basin and bends forward in a sort of curtsy; this calls for the bunting session of heads – in other words, Thank-you.

Skiifoot, because she doesn’t watch her diet, has to be, all twelve pounds, lifted up. Then one turns on the tap just gently and if she is in the mood, will pat around for a bit, then lap it up like a bowl of cream, jumps down and off. No Thank You, just no manners at all.

Spooky has a ritual all his own; between the dinette and the living room is about a four-foot high partition topped by ten spaced spindles. Spooky climbs on a chair, starts at the beginning and does a slalom right to the end, where, arriving at the window, he raises a gentlemanly paw to push the drape aside, then onto a platform and down a ramp to the lawn to survey. How spoilt can one get?

In their younger days, when they lived in Nanaimo, means of entry and exit was a 15-foot leap to a patio balcony and glass doors to the living room. Of course, there was always the dozen steps to the back door, but there seldom seemed to be anyone there, and besides, the back porch was reserved for the feeding of stray cats who were allotted their leftovers, so they didn’t see why they should associate with such.

If an emergency came at night, Poppa would grope his way to the front door and let the culprit out. Skiifoot would find a spot and spend the rest of the night. Spooky, the spoiled one, loved his warm place at Poppa’s back, so after about an hour would put up a yowling. Poppa again goes to open bedroom window wider and up 15 feet he comes to sneak back to his cosy spot.

For years they were terrified when we had family gatherings. Skiifoot found a cushion dropped behind some trunks, so settled in, in the basement. Spooky, if not under the Master’s bed, would find refuge under the spacious overhanging tablecloth of the room-filling dining room table. They snook back at night, when the last infant howl had subsided. And were on their “best” behaviour until the next family visitation!