Seeing that I have pretty much always been a cat person, we have pretty much always had a cat around. So, yeah, I know they can be amazing little things. About a year and a half ago, our household was graced by the presence of Sophie Angel Purrsalot, Queen of Ritz Court (sometimes informally added on to be “Flying Queen of Ritz Court,” but mostly only by me). Like most cats, she has a whole toolbox full of quirky-cute behaviors and preferences, and she’s always adding onto them. She’s a grown cat now, but still young enough to have kitten-ness embedded in her personality at points.
Some of the more interesting things she does are defined by her choice of play toys, which has generally run toward the mundane and least expensive—classics like cardboard boxes and packing material go down well with her. As well as a strange and, to my knowledge, unique item—the Green Thing.
What’s a Green Thing, you ask?
Well, obviously, a Green Thing is the little plastic ring that goes around the top of a milk bottle. Yes, that’s right…that thing that gets left behind when you twist off the top. Sophie has an extensive collection of them, most likely the broadest collection in the world—most of which we find under our couch, refrigerator, and stove at various times.
She gets a new Green Thing every time I finish a bottle of milk—which I just happened to do yesterday morning, and which I’m posting about now because Sophie got so excited as I freed the Green Thing from its captivation on the bottle that she did something that’s a big no-no in our place: she jumped up on the kitchen table to, um, “cheer me on” . Being the stern disciplinarian I am, rather than shoo her away I immediately took a picture. Perhaps this is not the best way to discourage such behavior in the future, but screw it…the image was too good to pass up.
It turns out that these little round wonders are fantastic cat toys. When you throw them they often bounce, skip, or roll in ways that sophie finds absolutely fascinating. This is helped in our case by the fact that our floors are all poured concrete or tile, so the Green Thing has a hard surface with which accentuates the bounce, and is slippery when she gets to running too hard, which accentuated the pounce. She literally goes fishtailing around corners as she races to get the caroming Green Thing.
That’s another great thing about this toy. I can throw them through a door and up against a wall so that it bounces around corners, which she seems to love even more—a plastic prey that wobbles and rolls out into space not filled by her chuckling human cohorts is apparently something super-special. Of course, after she’s chased it, she returns with it in her mouth and drops it at our feet so we can throw it again.
She also loves to play Green Thing Catch and Green Thing Ping Pong, events that are defined by us throwing the Green Thing up into the air in her general vicinity, and then letting her bat it or catch it. She’s quite good. Very catlike.
In her early days as a true kitten, Green Thing days were like Kitty Christmas. These gifts from the gods would appear out of nowhere. Maybe three months ago, she started noticing that the milk bottle had something on them that looked remarkably like Green Things, but she hadn’t quite put two and two together. She would reach up like she wanted to bat the milk around a little, but then moved on. Now, however, she KNOWS. Now she understands that there is no Santa Clause and that the milk bottle is basically a Green Thing manufacturing plant, and so she’s pushing the plant along, extolling the workers to put their nose to the grind stone. I swear I can hear her as she looks at me. “Drink up, buddy,” she meows. “Green Things don’t grow on trees, you know?”
It’s cute, right? In its own way? Of course it is. But I admit I miss those kitteny days of blissful ignorance when her eyes would get over-huge in her tiny face at the sight of a new Green Thing.
They grow up so fast, you know?