I suppose we should have realized we were dealing with a more sinister intelligence early on when he made off with that haunch of beef we had targeted for dinner that first week after his arrival, like the Bumpus Hounds for which he was thus named. Alas, we wrote it off as an aberration, an idea of which he has disabused us in the months since.
Cats, we know, develop unique relationships with each of their humans. In my case Monsieur Le Bump enjoys enhancing my reading experiences by depositing his not inconsiderable girth across any book, magazine, tablet or computer keyboard that has my attention, parked stern-to, covering it completely while presenting his afterworks for my viewing pleasure. But for the occasional claw swipe attempt to remove my hand from wrist…all in good fun, you understand…this is pretty much how The Bumpster and I roll in the shire.
Beloved Wife thinks this is quite charming because mostly he allows her to read unmolested. ” Oh. That’s so sweet ” she will say. ” He loves you. You’re his person “. Beloved Wife and the cat have a little more…oh, I don’t know, competitive ?… relationship.
Bumpus, you see, is obsessed with Beloved’s glasses. He is enthralled with them, but curiously, not while she is wearing them; he hardly takes note. But the moment they hit a surface…table, counter, nightstand…he is galvanized. From two rooms away he can sense those lunettes quietly placed on a table, and is on them in a nonce; whacking, grabbing, carrying them around, and chewing on the stems. Beloved is not pleased and takes defensive measures. A battle of wits begins.
Round One : Move glasses to another table. Oh, that works. A minute later he’s on the table going for the glasses.
“NO, Bumpus!” she intones, to which she receives a look, if it is possible for a cat to give such a look, which says,
Round Two : Out comes a small cloth drawstring sack that she uses for jewelry. Glasses go in sack, sack into her purse, and off to bed. Next morning the purse has been opened, the sack pulled out, and our feline miscreant is seen trying to get into the sack.
Round Three: Next night at lights out, under intense scrutiny by you-know-who, she puts the glasses in the sack and the sack into her nightstand drawer, sliding it lightly closed with a smile of satisfaction as she beds down for the night. But a few moments after lights out we hear a series of sounds ; scratching, then a sliding like noise, and a light thud. Lights on reveals Monsieur Le Bump has stretched up on his back legs, pulled open the drawer, hauled out the sack, and is last seen dragging the sack into the living room where he can play with the glasses in peace and quiet.
“Good Grief !” said Beloved. “Did you see that ? No way.”
“Way,” said I, and off she went to recover the stolen goods.
Round Four (and you knew there was going to be a Round Four): Convinced she had not closed the drawer completely, she repeated the drill but this time, slammed the drawer as tightly closed as possible. Lights out, good night. And the room fell silent.
Well, mostly. Next, a thumping and rattling for what reason we could not imagine, until the lights came back on and there stood His Malignant Bumpness atop the night stand, pushing it away from the wall, trying to get to the back of the drawer to push it out. From the back.
“My God, ” said Beloved, “do you see this ? Do you realize how intelligent he is ? He’s scary smart ! He’s smarter than a small child !”
“Yes,” I said, “but he’s litter box trained.”
“He’s diabolical ! “
To be honest, I’ve been a bit uncomfortable even passing this on. I mean, I’m not a “cat person”; not, unlike some who share the same mailing address as me, one who spends rapturous hours day after day burning up bandwidth oooohing and aaahing over cat pictures and cat videos, so I’m not really inclined to post cat stories. And I suppose calling “Beloved Wife vs The Bumpmeister” a battle of wits is perhaps unfair. Although I must admit that she has been closing the gap of late.
As for me, I have taken to making sure I don’t leave the car keys lying around when I go to bed. Just to be on the safe side.