Mookie Best and the Gift of Love

Today, the day after Christmas, we assess the gifts we received and determine their futures. Some will be returned, others cherished. Many folks receive family heirlooms while just as many will forget their gifts by summer. There are practical gifts, like socks and scarves, and fanciful gifts that serve no real purpose but are loved for themselves.

And then there are gifts of love.

Mookie Adjusts

Mookie Best, cat, shelter, rescue

Mookie Best

On Thanksgiving weekend, we gave ourselves the best gift of all. We rescued a shelter cat who had been abandoned on the street. I first wrote about adopting our new family member last month, when he still lacked a name.

Now Mookie, our three-year-old tabby, has settled in and is becoming acclimated to the house and to us. At the same time, we have begun accustoming ourselves to having another living creature in what had been a calm and quiet house. It can be surprising.

We share a lot of patting and purring. The gift of love goes around and around.

A Family Cat

Mookie on Suitcase, travel, cat sitter

Please Don’t Go

Mookie had belonged to a family before. We know this because he understands “No” (scratching the sofa) and “Bad cat” (when he pulled half of a jigsaw puzzle off the table). He also knows that water comes out of the faucet on the kitchen sink.

When we were packing to visit our daughter, he grew anxious at the sight of our suitcases. I think he may have already seen people packing, just before his previous family abandoned him. (We had a sitter come in twice a day while we were away. I knew that if we boarded him he would think he’d been abandoned again.)

Morning Zoomies

Mookie, banister, home, zoomies

Mookie on the banister

Morning means cat zoomies as he rockets around the house, making huge leaps and slipping sideways on the hardwood floors. Once, I watched as Mookie leaped onto the flat part of stair banister where it goes across the landing. He decided that running up the banister would be fun. It’s flat and wide but also very slippery.

His momentum took him about two feet up before he started scrabbling for traction. Failing that, Mookie grabbed the sides of the railing with his forepaws in a desperate attempt to hold on. I couldn’t help laughing as he slowly slid back down.

Watching the Bird Channel

Mookie stays occupied during the day. He likes to lie on a kitchen chair and watch the parade of dog walkers going up and down the street. He also tracks a variety of delivery vans, the postman’s truck, and residents’ cars.

Cardinal on bird feeder

The bird channel

Mookie likes to watch the bird channel. The back of the sunroom sofa gives him a great view of our two bird feeders. From there, he keeps a close eye on the movement of birds from tree to feeder and back again. All the while Mookie makes little noises in his throat and switches his fluffy tail like an enthusiastic metronome.

Yesterday, Mookie was birdwatching when he spied a squirrel on the deck. He jumped down, dashed across the room, and tried to leap on the squirrel but the glass door got in his way. He hit it with a hearty thump but seemed to suffer no ill effects.

The Evening Pats

Mookie stretched out, sofa, evening

Mookie relaxed

Mookie’s favorite time of day is evening when we sit down to watch TV. He curls up on the sofa between us where he can get regular pats from both sides. As he relaxes more, he stretches out and Mookie is a very long cat.

And when I retire to bed with a book, he perks right up. Reading time! Mookie comes in to keep me company until I turn off the light.

All in all, we think he’s the best gift we could have given ourselves. It had been a long time since Mystique crossed the Rainbow Bridge and we were both thinking it might be time for a new cat. Now we have Mookie Best, and he’s the best cat we could have found.

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About Aline Kaplan

Aline Kaplan is a published author, a blogger, and a tour guide in Boston. She formerly had a career as a high-tech marketing and communications director. Aline writes and edits The Next Phase Blog, a social commentary blog that appears multiple times a week at aknextphase.com. She has published over 1,000 posts on a variety of subjects, from Boston history to science fiction movies, astronomical events to art museums. Under the name Aline Boucher Kaplan, she has had two science fiction novels (Khyren and World Spirits) published by Baen Books. Her short stories have appeared in anthologies published in the United States, Ireland, and Australia. Aline’s articles have also appeared on the Atlas Obscura website. She has been an active member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America since 1988 and is a long-term member of the Spacecrafts science/fantasy writers’ group. As a tour guide, Aline leads architectural and historical walking tours of the city for Boston By Foot, ghost tours for Haunted Boston and historical bus tours of the city. She lectures on Boston history and has appeared in the Boston Globe, as well as on TV for Chronicle, an award-winning television program that broadcasts stories of New England. As a lecturer, Aline has spoken at Brandeis and Tufts universities for the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. She has also addressed as service organizations and local meetings. She is a graduate of Northeastern University in Boston and lives in Hudson, MA.

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