Thursday, June 3, 2010



When Carol and I first moved to Los Angeles, we rented a room from her sister, Terry. Part of Terry's household included three cats - Max, Müss and Scooter. When Terry moved away, we took over the house and adopted the three cats. The two boys, Max and Scooter, were the same age. Müss, being their mother, was a little older. The two boys were quite normal indoor/outdoor neutered male cats. Müss, by contrast, had a few little quirks. The most remarkable of these was her affinity for socks. Not our socks, please note, but the neighbors' socks. When it was laundry day next door, the clean, wet stocks would be hung on the line to dry. Once they were dry, Müss would slink over and nab a few off the line and carry them home. She would march triumphantly into the house with a nice clean, dry sock in her mouth, mewing her little heart out to let us know that she had once again successfully brought down her prey. Yes, she would leap up from the ground and drag those socks right down off the neighbor's clothes line. I guess she thought they were alive, waving there in the gentle breeze.

We would praise her when she brought one home, telling her what a mighty hunter she was, and then we would take the sock and hang it over the fence between the two houses for the neighbors to retrieve. We thought that this was a pretty clever solution to a rather embarrassing problem and everyone seemed happy with the arrangement.

What we didn't realize was that the socks Müss was presenting to us were just a small percentage of those she was actually capturing. One day, the sink in the kitchen became clogged. I tried to unclog it from above but to no avail, so I decided to crawl under the house to see if there might be a clean-out below the floor that would allow me to clear the blockage and get the drain flowing again. With my trusty pipe wrench and a flashlight I proceeded to crawl under the house. That's when I discovered the true extent of Müss's sock predation. I would estimate that there were at least 100 socks on the ground under the house, big ones, small ones, white ones, black ones, argyles and even baby socks. I was horrified. I left the socks there under the house, but that Christmas we gave the neighbors a large bag of clothes pins to use to keep their laundry on the line where it belonged. Once they started using the clothes pins, the sock ravaging stopped and Müss found other ways to amuse herself.

A few years later, after we moved from that house, Müss took up sleeping in trees, but that's another story for another day.

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