The Cat in the Hat: A Secret Agent in Training - By: Dorothy Williams
Orly in civilian 'clothes'
Orly in one of his MANY disguises!
We did not know what we were getting into when we agreed to foster 3 little kittens. They were just over a month old and suffering from lice, (fortunately only cats can get cat lice), respiratory and eye infections. A good Samaritan brought the three brothers into AHNA. We had originally planned to find homes for all three kittens once they were feeling better. Orly had a different plan. When the second kitten’s family came to pick him up, Orly hid. We knew that he had chosen us as his family. He was a perfect fit in our household with the two crazy dogs. He continues to supply us with endless stories and laughter.
Looking back at the habits he has formed and the phases he has gone through, there is only one conclusion; he is training to be a secret agent.
Orly learned to blend in with dogs early on in life. He sits on command when it is treat time (which he does better than one of the dogs). He channels his inner cattle dog when he chases the dogs and bites at their heels. And when the UPS man drives by or comes to the house, among the barks of the dogs, you can hear a low grumble from Orly as he stomps through the house.
Through the years he has gone through very weird and random phases, which we realize now must be all part of his secret agent training. They appear one day then disappear months later. We joke that he litter box trained an oven mitt. One day we found our large silicone oven mitt in the litter box. After cleaning it and leaving it on the counter, the next day, it was found again in the litter box. So we started watching, if we took it out, he would retrieve it and struggle to take it back to the litter box. It lasted for one month. We never used that oven mitt again, but after that month he has never touched an oven mitt again.
He cheats at board games. He likes to win.
He likes to indulge in the finer things in life like catnip. He has finally learned how to hold his catnip!
When he was not quite one-year-old, he stole a blanket from our hedgehog that we had at the time and kept it as a prisoner in the bathroom. We would find it there, wash it and return it to the stack of blankets. He would always steal that one blanket and put it in the bathroom. When we realized what he was doing we would take the blanket out of the bathroom and no matter where we would put it, he would walk over, sigh a big sigh, bite one end of it, lay on his side, rabbit kick it then bring it back to the bathroom. Out of the blue it stopped and he has not looked at the blanket since. This was his hostage training.
His favorite toy is a blue bulb syringe (the same as a “snot sucker” syringe). He loves to play hide and seek with it. The dogs will get tired of his playing and will bite the tip off it rendering it no longer fun for Orly. This is when we found out it must be A) blue and B) a special size or he will not play with it. There is a special feeling of buying bulk blue bulb syringes, the cashier always looks at you funny. This is his search and retrieval training.
He is not shy about investigating things. He has learned the art of camouflage.
Orly is a master of treat stealing. He is also very good at sharing the treats with the dogs, which in several cases has ended up with vomiting or diarrhea. While watching him one day, he went over to a heavy ceramic treat jar, lifted the lid off, then proceeded to eat the dog treats. He shared his lysine with the dogs, which is not toxic but will cause vomiting and diarrhea. This is his “slipping a mickey” and “the art of theft” training.
Orly has been stockpiling plastic bags and resources. We have to watch him carefully. If we have plastic bags with recent purchases, he will look through and take out anything that is not interesting then take and hide the bags. We have a hunch he may be getting ready for his first big special mission.
But one of the best things about Orly is his ability to carry off any outfit for any situation. And he likes to dress up for the holidays too!