ERROL CASTENS: Felines and females are equally inexplicable



We were given this orange-colored kitten last spring and named him Punkin. Got him vaccinated and “fixed,” which I’m sure he would argue violated the spirit and the letter of “If it ain’t broke … .” But early intervention keeps him from marking his territory, so I win that argument.

The boy is not as cute as when he could fit into a coffee cup, but then I used to be a lot cuter once upon a time, too.

Still, at times he’s endearing.

When he’s of a mind to, Punkin will jump up on the couch with Sue, kneading her arm or neck with the pads of his front paws before going to sleep on her shoulder. At night he’ll jump on our bed and purr himself to sleep atop the comforter between our feet.

Sometimes he’ll pick up a tiny black-and-white plush toy and throw it up in the air, catch it, then lie on his side and cuddle the stuffed creature between his front paws.

Punkin’s also cute when he interprets every opening of the microwave as the arrival of warm milk.

But sometimes the cat is maddening.

Human feet here bear tooth and/or claw marks from his fondness for playing King of the Jungle, wherein he lies in wait under the bed for unwary prey, even if it’s just toes being brought back to bed from a 2 a.m. trip to the bathroom.

“Why does he do that?” Sue will say.

Our bird feeders are within view of the window seat, and he’ll spend hours standing there, tail a-flopping menacingly, as if to tell the birds, “If I could just open this window … .” Every few minutes, when his instincts overwhelm his molecule of good sense, he plows into the pane – as well as over the antique containers that decorate the sill.

“Why does he act so?” Sue wants to know.

As long as his pea brain can remember that he can’t get to the birds through the glass, he’ll sit by the back door and beg to be let out. Ignored long enough, he’s been known to climb onto the hutch and swat at the door handle.

“I wish I knew why he wishes for what he can’t have,” Sue muses.

Every so often, after waking from one of many naps, Punkin will take off at a dead run through the house even if HE trips one of us in the process. Other times, he’ll stay right around Sue’s feet while she’s cooking, risking orthopedic intervention for both him and her.

“I don’t understand you,” she’ll declare to the cat. “Why do you act so irrationally? What makes you think that way?”

That my wife is now living with a creature whose behavior is inexplicable, unpredictable and driven mostly by emotion is an irony I find most delicious.

“Welcome to my world,” I want to tell her.

Instead, when it happens again today, I’ll just smile and say, “Happy Valentine’s Day.”

Contact Daily Journal reporter Errol Castens at (662) 816-1282 or

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    As much as I love cats and women, why do I find this a little bit offensive