Seven of Nine: A Kitty’s Chronicles

Morpheus Proudfoot shares a birthday with my husband. He is a purebred silver torbie Maine Coon – a naturally occurring cat breed native to New England – and was the first joint venture of my now-husband Orchid and me.

As a girl I wanted a Maine Coon, so we found a local Maine Coon breeder and found Morpheus. He was the kitten who did not mind being gently jostled on the slippery floor, and the one that our rescue-kitty Jupiter liked best (yes, we took Jupiter with us to interview kittens).

Morpheus joined our family a month before Orchid and I became engaged, and his name reminds me of that time. Morpheus, the Bringer of Dreams. Proudfoot refers to his uncanny ability to lift items with his paws and his distinctive dark paws. He has the closest thing to opposable thumbs that I’ve seen on a cat and has excellent mousing abilities. Thankfully, he doesn’t have the brainpower to match his incredible dexterity, or he might attain the world dominion that all kitties are inclined to seek.

Morphie allows Sunboy to use him as a pillow
Morpheus follows Flowergirl’s lead at naptime

Beyond his mousing abilities, Morpheus has few survival instincts and is prone to getting into trouble. Big trouble. If cats truly have nine lives, Morpheus has used seven.

Morpheus’ First Seven Lives:

1. We will always remember when Morpheus lost his first kitty cat “life”. Morphie stuck his head through a shopping bag handle and then panicked when he was unable to easily free his head. He ran like wildfire through the house: up the stairs, over the bed where I was still sleeping (over my HEAD), back down the stairs and through the railings. The bag became stuck in the railings and whipped Morpheus around by his head. Thankfully, his head was freed as he continued running. He hid under the bed for days. This incident became known as the Bag Monster Attack.

2. You would think that Morpheus would be more cautious around shopping bags with handles after the Bag Monster Attack, but you would be wrong. The same thing happened again. Morpheus placed his head through the handle of a shopping bag, panicked, and ran through the house with the bag trailing behind him. There’s no stopping him when this happens. He sounds like a stampede of horses. He runs at lightning speed to escape what is “chasing” him, when in fact the bag is attached to him around his neck. Bag Monster Attack Part Deux.

3. Not to have his curiosity dissuaded, Morpheus next suffered an attack by a Plant Monster. He placed his head through the ropes of a rather large hanging planter containing soil and a Philodendron. Once again, Morpheus panicked, this time pulling the rather heavy planter off a table by his neck and dragging it around the room by his neck until he came free. We found in the mudroom a scene: a large swath of dirt trailing like a rainbow across the room, with the remains of the Philodendron as the Pot Of Gold. We have no idea how he survived the Plant Monster Attack.

4. Four years ago, Sunboy spent five days in the hospital due to severe asthma. My husband and I lived with Sunboy at the hospital that week. One day when my husband came home to feed the cats, he couldn’t find Morpheus. He searched for him but soon had to return to the hospital. It wasn’t until Sunboy was discharged that a neighbor came to us to say that he had seen Morpheus in the trees along our property line. Feeling a strong drive to get my family home and safe, I approached a neighbor’s front door to inform them that I was going to retrieve my cat. Bewilderingly, she released her large, aggressive shepherd dog which charged me and bit me unceasingly until the owner pulled it from me. I grabbed Morpheus, took him inside and then went straight to the emergency room for the dog bites. While I was there, my husband accidentally cut Morphie while removing the extensive knots and briars from his long fur. As soon as I returned from the ER, Morpheus went to his own ER for stitches. Eventually everyone made it home from the three different hospitals to recuperate.

5. One summer day, Morpheus escaped through an upstairs window of our house and climbed on the roof. We attempted multiple times to lure him inside with tuna before a terrible thunderstorm struck. It was to be the the worst thunderstorm of the summer and the Fire Department would not rescue him until the next morning. Out of options, Morpheus spent the night on the roof during the storm.  I would periodically stick my head through an upstairs window to yell up to him, “Hang in there, Morpheus! We’ll get you in the morning!” only to hear him vocalize in sounds that I had never heard a cat make before. Scream-meowing. The Fire Department finally chased him down the next morning using their cherry picker basket. I couldn’t resist taking photos of the rescue attempts.

Morpheus on the roof
Morpheus refuses to come down for tuna
The Fire Department rescues Morpheus the night after the big thunderstorm
The Fire Department’s cherry picker approaches as he hides beside our chimney
The moment before he jumps down and into the open window. The fire fighter’s lasso is visible.
6. After our elder kitty Jupiter passed away, Morpheus sank into a depression. He ate very little and became very thin. We thought that giving him tuna would help to lift him from his depression and encourage him to eat. So began a tuna-heavy diet. He continued to waste away. At the veterinarian we learned that contrary to popular belief, tuna should not comprise a large percent of a kitty’s diet as it leads to Vitamin E deficiency. We felt terrible. Once we returned him to his normal diet and brought home a Norwegian Forest Cat rescue kitty for him – named Airplane Truck by Sunboy – Morpheus slowly returned to normal. One of nine lost through good intentions.
7. Although Morpheus lacks many basic survival instincts, he doesn’t realize this and continues to seek adventure. This week, he escaped as we were leaving town. We looked everywhere and had a few friends stop by our house at various points and try to find him. No luck but much worry was to be had as we remembered seeing a coyote near our house. Finally we returned our trip and found him sitting inside an empty house in our neighborhood. After speaking with a neighbor, we learned that people had come to clean the empty house the day that we left. We surmise that Morpheus decided to explore the house for his new adventure and became trapped inside. Thankfully, the house wasn’t locked, so we walked in and retrieved our quite shaken kitty. If we hadn’t noticed him sitting on the empty house who knows how long he would have been stuck inside.
If the idiom is correct, Morpheus has only two lives remaining. I only hope that he realizes this and decides to retire from his thrill-seeking life of adventure. We love him and hope he stays with us for a long time.
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