Testimonies: Thanksgiving with a pet cat – Part 1

Cats and birds go hand and hand. Cat catches bird, cat eats bird, end of story. And so is the story of my dear, departed Cleo and Thanksgiving turkey.

Cleo was completely an indoor pet from the time the little fur ball came home. At 6 weeks old, she had very little idea how to be a cat. The litter box horrified her. Ceiling light fixtures and fans freaked her out. I can’t count how many times she smacked into the sliding glass door. She was still nursing when we rescued her, so canned cat food and chow was strange to her. We’d slip her pieces of leftover turkey or turkey lunch meat to supplement her diet and ease her complete disdain for the food in her bowl. Because of this, her turkey obsession began at a very young age.

I’m not certain she really ever considered herself a cat. More probably, she thought of herself as a queen. And I confess we treated her as such. Anyone who’s the proud owner of a cat knows who is boss in the house. And so it was every year when Thanksgiving would arrive, Cleo would become a raging lion in the kitchen. She somehow knew turkey-time was coming when we’d leave the house for dinner at my folks. Cleo knew the moment we came home with turkey leftovers. Forget that the people in her life might want them. Turkey was hers!

So somewhere along the way, Cleo figured out that the best food came from the refrigerator. Especially at Thanksgiving. The ensuing kitchen battles involved her wailing and whacking at us whenever we dared to open the fridge without giving her a piece of turkey. Not just a nibble, but a whole piece. And heaven help the poor other cats that dared approach her turkey. Her house mates got thumped for even walking into the kitchen. Cleo whacked the other cats a little differently than her humans though. Much like a cat-paw jack hammer, she’d bop her brother on the head until he retreated from her kitchen. And her turkey.

Have you ever tried fixing a turkey-leftover snack with a rabid cat circling under your feet? Much like a shark, Cleo would hone in on a midnight turkey raid. I confess that I gave in repeatedly and offered turkey to get her to stop screeching. Besides, a fat and sleepy kitty is a joy to behold! I admit that Cleo’s turkey infatuation was entirely my fault. For that reason, I could forgive her one horrifying incident that involved a whole turkey.

We had cooked dinner at our house that particular year. Cleo chomped on copious amounts of turkey as I felt

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