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December 19, 2008

STAWAR: A Christmas tale of Claus, paws

Claus, our 2-year-old cat, seems to be on a rampage over the holidays.

He won’t stay away from the artificial tree, and when I went into the family room the other day, the real Christmas tree was laying on the floor. The rug was soaked with water from the tree stand, and Claus was nestled in the branches, denying any knowledge of how it could have possibly have happened. Although a very attractive cat, Claus unfortunately is an inveterate liar.

For example, all winter he keeps insisting that he wants to go outside. He is a very vocal cat — not a desirable trait in a feline. He sits by the door for hours, whining about how he needs to see a man about a rodent or something. But no sooner than you let him out than he is on the other side of the door complaining about how cold it is outside. You would think he could at least go to the bathroom while he was out there ... but no, that might be too uncomfortable for his majesty. He saves it up, apparently preferring his litter box that I have to clean

The other day, my wife, Diane, let him out the back door and then went down to the basement where she immediately met him again. Evidently, Claus has learned to dematerialize and reappear in our basement at will.

Diane and I constantly compare him to our previous cat, Hobbes. Poor Claus is like the second wife in Daphne du Maurier ‘s novel, “Rebecca,” who must compete with the memory of the beloved first wife. Hobbes was one in a million: an elegant, gentleman cat. Claus, I am afraid to say, is no gentleman. Unlike the noisy and disconcertingly human-sounding Claus, Hobbes only meowed his orders once and expected — and usually received — total obedience. If we didn’t rush to open the door at his first command, Hobbes would simply walk away and act totally indifferent. There was none of this pedestrian squalling. Also, Hobbes always did his business outside — bless his cat soul.

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