On these frostbitten mornings, Mitty, our mostly Siamese cat, jumps up on the bed and sits beside me without a meow. I look into her beautiful blue, indifferent, and somewhat crossed eyes. “Good morning, Mitzer.”

She dismisses my endearment and lifts her dominant, right paw in fair warning of a gentle prick to my right pajama sleeve. The Master of the House has fed and let Mitty and her sister Cuddles outside and in again. Now, Mitty wants her morning TLC with the Mistress of the House.

A creature of habit, Mittens expands the pads of her paw and pulls the ink pen in my hand to her jaws. Just like a child, everything goes into Mitty’s mouth.

We play. She bites the cap of my pen which I rub down her spine to her tail, up to her jowls and the bridge of her remarkable nose. She flops like a fish while I feel for parasites and abnormal growths on her skin.

My examination complete, Mitty lays down by my pile of books. She wipes her cheeks on the bindings, splays the titles on the comforter, sniffs and licks the leather and paper covers.

She favors Richardson Wright’s The Gardener’s Bed Book, perhaps because I’ve turned its pages most every morning for twenty years. I surmise the books must be forever seasoned and scented with my lavender lemon body lotion.

Mitty’s snoring within five minutes, perhaps dreaming of chasing a mouse or chipmunk. By the time I arise, she’s enjoyed the first of many siestas of her day and trots downstairs.

Later that evening, as if the two sisters have discussed and approved their preference, Cuddles jumps up on my lap when I recline to read. Be it the living room sofa, the reading chair in my study, or in bed, Cuddles, our tortoiseshell pet, finds me.

The Master of the House named her well. From the moment we met her as a kitten, Cuddles burrowed her head under our arms and drooled. Her TLC visits also average fifteen minutes including sniffing, biting, and my tick inspection while she rolls side to side. At last, she snoozes.

Notably, Cuddles was the first to show up after the cats’ morning meal and tramps to the neighbor’s woodpiles, our garden boulders, and other rodent habitats.

Cuds instinctively moved our morning routine to evening when Mitty caught sight of our curtain tie-backs in the living room. Blue Eyes wasn’t satisfied until she pulled the tie-backs loose and the anchors fell to the floor.


Exile to the basement at sundown remains the only prevention to Mitty’s misbehavior and added spackling repairs-and the only answer to peaceful evenings and tidy curtains.

Dear Reader, I know Mitty cannot change her mischievous streak any easier than she can unfurl her tail or uncross her eyes.

However, on these frostbitten nights, putting the troublemaker to bed downstairs allows alone-time with sweet Cuddles.

“Meow,” she says and jumps up on my lap. Her snuggling and drooling begin.

Contact Iris at irisfarmletters@gmail.com.