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One of the best features of the new house is the hallway that connects the living room to the bedrooms and the tile room with the walk-in drinking fountain. Both Buddy and Bear have made excellent use of the hallway since discovering all of its possibilities.

Lounge Lizard

Lounge Lizard

Sometimes it is a lounging spot, a place to stretch one’s legs while waiting for the next meal to be served or another mischief opportunity to present itself. In fact, it often serves as a great vantage point for scoping out mischief, especially if all the bedroom doors are open. Even as this sentence is being typed, the caretaker (whose left arm is seriously impeded by the weight of a drowsy Buddy) can peer down the corridor and see Bear lurking in the doorway of the spare bedroom. Please note that there are no typographical errors in the previous sentence. The true miracle of the hallway is that it has awakened a youthful playfulness in a previously lethargic Bear.

Lurky Lou

Lurky Lou

Sleeping and lurking would be quite enough charms for this wooden wonderland to offer, but the hallway’s primary use is as a racetrack. For that purpose it has served better than any feature in the Seafoam Cottage. Sure, Buddy used to run from the bedroom to the front porch, but Bear never engaged in such ventures. Now the straight shot from the cats’ bedroom to the living room with its two big screen Cat TVs has proven to be better than the backstretch at Talledega, and neither cat can resist the temptation to “floor it” from time to time. (Given that the floors are hardwood and provide little traction, the only thing that is missing during these expeditions is a cartoon soundtrack of running in place.)

Buddy’s normal racing game begins with him lurking in the hallway waiting for the caretaker to walk toward the back of the house, at which point he pretends he is being chased. He turns on a dime, puffs out his tail, and runs into his room and hides under the bed as though fleeing the wrath of Michael Myers. When the caretaker comes to the door, Buddy peeks out from under the bed and bides his time before rushing out toward the caretaker’s feet and chirping like a pack of velociraptors. (Buddy has obviously watched too many movies.)

Bear’s racing has more of a purpose most of the time. As the consummate bug hunter, she runs the length of the hallway whenever one of the six-legged evils is sighted, and she doesn’t stop until the legs, thorax, and abdomen have been disassembled. But sometimes there seems to be no reason for Bear’s antics; for example, tonight her brief period of lurking ended with a mad dash into the caretaker’s bedroom and back down into the living room again. Although there was no bug was in sight, one cannot discount that Bear was chasing something only she can see. After all,

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.

(Perhaps Bear has read too many plays.)

Bugbear

Bugbear

The bottom line is that Bear is quite happy in her new home, and Buddy is coping well enough without a porch. He has now left the caretaker’s lap and is engaged in his second favorite racing game: running from window to window to spy on Tortie Muldoon’s evening rounds. The caretaker can only hope he wears himself out and allows her to sleep through the night. She had no idea it was so stressful being a NASCat owner.

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Recently, Buddy was tormented by the presence of a tortoise-shell cat on the window ledge just outside his room. He tried every scheme to get outside to show her who was boss, but alas, the window did not yield, and none of his posturing from the window sill or the bed or the floor did any good. Not to be outdone, he wrote this poem, or to be more precise, he had the caretaker write it (he kept falling asleep in mid-verse). So with no further ado, we give you the Ballad of Tortie Muldoon:

She strolled up one day in the midst of the fray,
Yet she looked none the worse for the wear.
With her piercing green eyes in which great mischief lies,
She sat down on the ledge with a flair.

Buddy glanced through the glass and saw the prim lass,
And he couldn’t maintain his composure.
He let out a howl that sounded quite foul,
Then he tried to escape the enclosure.

He scratched on the window and called her a bimbo
And some names that are best left unsaid.
But she moved not a hair, as though he wasn’t there,
So he solemnly wished she were dead.

He jumped down to the floor and plotted some more,
But he never could find how to reach her.
So Tortie Muldoon held her post until noon,
Leaving Buddy to pine and beseech her.

Listen now, my young lad, if you would not be sad,
Don’t get lost in the game of attraction.
If your lady ignores you and never implores you,
Close the curtain and end the distraction!

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