Theo and the Magic Cabinet of Heaven

Okay, the cabinet is not really magic. And it doesn’t really contain Heaven. But Theo sure thinks it does. Theo is what animal trainers call “very food-motivated” which is a nice way of saying he’s a greedy fur pig when it comes to treats. Because of his inherited urinary tract issues, he’s on a special diet of wet food only and it’s tightly controlled. Half a can in the morning, half in the evening. No dry food. Maybe because of this, he loooooooves those crunchy treats. And he’s not picky. Pounce, Greenies, whatever kind of little crunchies you’ve got, he’ll take ’em.

Now, I like to say that I have trained Theo to do what Dave Letterman calls “Stupid Pet Tricks.” Michael contends that it’s really the other way around: Theo has trained ME to do “Stupid Human Tricks.” Well, you say tomay-to and I say tomah-to, whatever. But he really is extremely smart (for a cat, as has been also pointed out). Theo has a table where he can look out the window next to my kitchen chair. He loves to sit there while we eat, or even when we’re not. He also likes to watch me eat (big surprise) and stretch out his paw (piteously no doubt) to try to grab whatever I am eating.

Theo the cat alert on the table, looking at you

Got any more of those crunchy treats? Huh? Huh? Got any more? You didn’t give me nearly enough just now, you know.

So now, he’s gotten used to us at the table at lunch time. Not every day, sometimes we have meetings and so on, but frequently enough for this to be a ritual. We both have a cup of yogurt for dessert. As soon as Theo hears the scraping sound of the spoon in the bottom of the empty cup, he’s on the floor in Advanced Cuteness Mode. Rolling over, paws on his chest, purring loudly– he throws it all out there. Then if that doesn’t work, he sits between us and stares back and forth at the Magic Cabinet of Heaven, which is above the stove (one of the few places I know he can’t reach). Sure enough one of his well-trained humans will get up and get the bag o’ treats. At which point Theo’s Siamese genes take over and he becomes very, very vocal.

So now he will jump up on the window table, stand on his hind legs and stretch all the way up to get three little treats that I tuck between my knuckles. He grabs my hand very delicately to balance. And, if you throw a treat to the other end of the kitchen, he will leap off the table and race to get it, then come racing back. Sometimes he skids on the kitchen floor and fishtails all over the place before he gets the treat. I have to confess, we laugh so hard when he does that, he really should be embarrassed. But when it comes to treats he has no dignity whatsoever.

I honestly think sometimes he’s part dog.