Boots the Biscuit Thief

My cat Boots is going on seventeen years old, and for sixteen of those, she’s been a dear pet, a real source of love and a near constant companionship.

Lately though, she’s been a real old lady. If she were human, she’d wear a purple hat and toss curses at policemen. Boots makes Maxine look like Miss Congeniality when something isn’t to her feline liking.

A prime example is cat food. I don’t believe I’ve seen a pickier eater since myself as a snot-nosed kid, putting individual macaroni noodles on the tines of my fork. For years, we were buying the same dry food and all three cats ate it just fine. Then one day I noticed the old cat was losing a little weight, and I realized she’d stopped eating. She's always been a skinny little thing, but I took her to the vet who couldn’t find anything wrong. Upon his suggestion, I changed her food, and she ate like a racehorse.

About a year ago, she developed bad teeth and a delicate digestion so we switched her to canned food exclusively which she seemed to like…unless it was chunks in gravy. The gravy would get licked up enthusiastically while the chunks that were too big for her to chew would be aggressively pushed off the plate onto the floor. Fortunately for me and my wallet, the other cats would eat it after she walked away, but apparently it bothered her that they got to eat it when she couldn’t, so she began carrying these morsels to me, crying.

Well, I’ve never been a mother, but I now completely understand what parents mean when they talk about the “I’m Hungry” cry or the “I’m Tired” cry or the “I’m Hurt” cry. The first time I heard this strange mewing from Boots with food in her mouth, it clearly said to me “I’m Troubled”. At first I wondered if she was in heat but she’s fixed so I knew that wasn’t it. Then I wondered if maybe she was depressed or going senile, but understanding flooded over me when she dropped the large wad of masticated ‘pseudo meat’ at my feet, looking up at me expectantly. She wanted me to cut it into smaller pieces!

Okay, I’ll admit it – I did. For the next three wads of formed “stuff” that she set before me, I broke it up with my fingers. Yes, my denied mothering instincts were resurrected by a little four-pound, pointy-eared, tiger striped cat. With the next mealtime, I learned to cut certain chunks into smaller pieces before putting the plate on the floor, and my little ‘dependent’ stopped coming down the hall, echoing the troubled, pitiable, seeking yowl, pleading for help from “Mom Cat”.

Until…about two months ago.

I’d made dinner for my husband and myself, a simple meal of leftover beef, Brussels’ sprouts and a sleeve of ready-to-bake biscuits. We ate everything but two biscuits which I left on the counter in case my husband wanted to finish them later. As per usual, David sat to watch a little TV, and I went back to our home office to check email and edit my latest work-in-progress.

Then came that sound. That pained yowl of distress, begging Mom Cat's rescue. It was worse than usual, sounding muffled but more urgent than before, and it confused me terribly because I hadn’t heard it for so long. Boots sounded completely overwhelmed with grief and pain. I jumped up from my chair and as I reached the door, I saw the cat coming down the hall towards me. Her face looked totally deformed! Her ears were perked forward and her eyes glowed with hope but the whole bottom of her face below her little pink nose was swollen and doughy and misshapen and…

A biscuit! The damned cat had stolen a biscuit from the counter and was carrying it to me!

“Mom Cat! Help!”

I laughed so hard, I peed my pants! At the same time, I knew I couldn’t let her have the damned thing because she would have continued to thieve food from the counter, so I used my “Mom Cat” voice and shouted “Hey!” in the tone she recognized as reprimand. Suddenly she stopped, and her eyes got big like it had suddenly occurred to her that I wasn’t going to be an accomplice to her crime. Wheeling like a dervish, she trotted quickly back towards the family room while I chased after her, trying to retrieve the biscuit. She slunk under the sofa where my husband was reclining, watching a movie.

“Get the cat!” I cried.

“What’s wrong?”

“She stole a biscuit and brought it to me to help chew it,” I explained. “We need to get it from her before she makes a mess with it.”

My husband stared at me blankly for a moment and then burst out laughing. I dropped to my knees and looked at the cat as she stared back at me from the middle of the sofa’s underside, gnawing furiously like a little kid who’s gotten into the hidden Halloween candy and is making the best of the time she has.

I’m a bad Mom Cat, I know, but I let her finish what she could, and when she came out 30 minutes or so later, I made my husband (who finally stopped laughing) help me move the sofa so I could toss the remainder and vacuum the crumbs.

Since that time, Boots has never once carried anything to me, looking for help. She has even gone back to pushing the food off the plate, as though gladly sharing with her ‘brother-felines’ rather than face the Wrath of Mom Cat.


  1. Pets are so much fun, aren't they? lol Thanks for the smile!

  2. "By God! She reminds me of ME!" - John Wayne in True Grit

    Gotta give her credit for being gutsy! Please post a picture!

  3. My little Biscuit Thief died today. She was 18.


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