I’m living with a copycat.
The weird thing is, it’s an actual cat. No surprise I guess, as I’m assuming the saying originated when someone astute recognized that kittens tend to copy their mothers. Hold on while I google that. Okay, I’m back. Turns out the earliest reference to copycat was in 1887 with no mention of felines. After that it gets too boring for words, so Iet’s move along.
My copycat happens to be my cat Tippi, so named because her tipped ear is severe. Seems ever since I adopted the ever-entertaining Jack a few months ago, Tippi’s personality has changed. And not, might I add, for the worse.
I trapped Tippi in a feral colony 2 1/2 years ago in the small farming and ranching community of Valley Ford. Tippi and her 21 assorted siblings were born under the grocery store. Thankfully, the store owners asked us (Marin Friends of Ferals) to have them spayed/neutered before she had 41 siblings. Long story short, I ended up keeping Tippi after realizing she was a tweener – not adoptable at the shelter yet not feral enough to be content living under the market.
Tippi has attitude. When I’m brave enough to trim her nails, you’d think I’m taking a hatchet to her toes. Consequently, she attempts to claw me to death whenever I’m holding nail trimmers. Luckily, she first telegraphs her dismay via her eye popping expression (a la actor Marty Feldman) giving me ample time to duck and cover.
Tippi spooks easily and when she does, I try to avoid being within striking distance. She’s bound to lash out with those Edward Scissorhands, catching her razor-sharp nails in the soft, fleshy part of my hand between the thumb and index finger. In other words, ouch.
Being a skitty (skittish kitty) Tippi becomes a figment of my imagination whenever friends stop by. I swear she hides better than the Unabomber and can’t be found unless she’s good and ready to be. Not exactly a social butterfly, Tippi usually prefers to sleep alone downstairs while the rest of my menagerie snoozes upstairs with me. Let’s just say we aren’t graced with her presence a whole lot.
Right about now you may be wondering what this gibberish has to do with being a copycat. Hold your horses. I’m getting there.
Today Tippi doesn’t match the description I just shared. That was the old version. She’s now new and improved. Okay, I admit I mislead you. But how else was I to demonstrate how much Jack (Mr. Personality) has influenced her? Fortunately, it turns out she’s a copycat. Hallelujah and amen to that.
Jack is the opposite of the old Tippi. He’s outgoing, friendly, fun-loving, and cuddly. Now don’t get me wrong. He’s far from perfect. He jumps on my other cats, walks on the tables and counters, eats the other cats’ food and still attacks my ankles any chance he gets. But his softer, loving side is what Tippi gleaned from her observations.
As it turns out, Jack taught Tippi a crash course in Feline 101: How to be a Cat. I guess her mom never showed her the ropes. But she knows them now. Since watching Jack, Tippi sleeps against my neck at night. She’s walking on the counters, doesn’t run when friends come by and even lets some pet her.
Who IS this new cat? I barely recognize her. And that, I have to say, is not a disappointment.
Since Christmas is approaching, I thought I’d print this post again from October, 2016. I’ve since lost Tippi to a rare blood disorder but this time of year always reminds me of how much joy she took in climbing the Christmas tree while I yelled at her to get down then batted at any ornaments within her reach. I do miss that little rascal.