97: Murphy’s New Law

97: Murphy’s New Law

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Cat Did What?

Murphy’s New Law

Curiosity killed the cat, and satisfaction brought it back.

~Eugene O’Neil

Who ate all the cat food and left none for the others? Murphy.

Who waited till I washed the car, then pussyfooted all over the windshield? Murphy.

Who gifted me with half a dead mouse on the doorstep? You get the idea. It was… Murphy.

Whatever the question, whatever the mischief, the answer was always the same. Murphy. Soon after Murphy joined our household, I began to refer to this phenomenon as Murphy’s New Law.

This gray fur ball came to me with his sister and mama after someone abandoned them in the dead of winter. I was a volunteer foster mom for a local pet rescue, and they asked me to keep the feline trio till we found homes for them. Murphy was a solid dark gray with long, very soft hair, and a big personality. His sister Maddie was adopted right away, but Murphy and his mama became part of my posse.

In just a few months, Murphy grew into an extra big, beefy boy. But the funny thing about Murphy was, in spite of his unusually large body, he had the tiniest meow. It never got louder than an adolescent squeak. What he lacked in voice, he made up for in mischief.

He loved to sit and watch me, tilting his head as far to the side as possible, as he did. Then, I believe, he’d file away the information he got by observation, and use it to his advantage. Like how he would watch me from the sidelines as I spent an hour washing the car. I’d pull the car in the garage and go in the house. Within minutes I’d see a path of dusty kitty feet across my windshield. I always wondered how long he’d walked in the dust to heighten the impact of those paw prints.

It didn’t take long for me to realize that all the whodunnits in our house could pretty much be attributed to the mischievous Murphy. But when I was asked to take in a new foster cat named Zoey, Murphy took his mischief to a new level.

Zoey was a gorgeous, though timid, white Siamese. She was also an escape artist, and one evening, escape she did. She was somewhere in the neighborhood, and I needed to get her back as soon as possible. So I borrowed a humane trap from the rescue. They told me to lock up my other pets, then bait the trap with smelly sardines. Leave the trap door open, they said, and cover the rest with a blanket. They explained the blanket would allow Zoey to feel more secure going in.

This is exactly what I did. Then I tried not to think about it, though I kept peeking into the garage, hoping to find the trap door was triggered. Hours passed, but no luck. Finally I looked out and saw the trap door had sprung. I was so excited. I crept up on the trap eager to see my Zoey. Gently, I lifted the blanket and there was… you guessed it, Murphy. He didn’t bother to apologize. In fact, he didn’t even look at me. He was too busy licking the sardine oil off his thieving paws.

We went through this time after time, through several cans of smelly sardines. I couldn’t figure out how Murphy was getting out of the room I confined him in. I guess the sardines were enough of a draw that he somehow found his way to them.

Thanks to Murphy’s thievery, the humane trap didn’t work. But I did manage to get Zoey back without it. She simply walked into the house one day. Murphy, on the other hand, decided there was too much competition here. He liked visiting my neighbor’s house and she liked him. So eventually he packed his bag and moved in with the neighbor.

Murphy has been known to visit us, just to keep us on our toes. I seldom actually see him. I’ve just come to accept that when odd things happen — food disappears, items are knocked off the table, the ever faithful dusty cat prints appear — Murphy has paid us a neighborly visit during the night. He may not live here now, but Murphy’s New Law is in effect. Whatever the question, whatever the mystery, the answer remains… Murphy.

~Teresa Ambord

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