Life with Harmony

Harmony in the BoxShe’s little and hairy. She is one of the earth’s most efficient predators. She communicates by body language, some of it easily missed if you are not paying attention. She makes funny little noises. She’s a cat, and her name is Harmony.

I adopted her from the New York City ASPCA when she was about 8 months old. My friend Michelle accompanied me to the shelter, saw her and immediately pointed her out to me. We both fell in love with her. She was a beautiful brown and black tabby cat, and she had lively, inquisitive, alert eyes. She came with the name Harmony. Someone with a sense of irony must have given her the name. She was anything but harmonious. She was smarter than most cats, who are smart to begin with, and she had a genius for aggressive mischief. It isn’t as if the ASPCA people didn’t warn me. They did. I wanted the kitty, anyway. I’m like that.

(HARMONY: Disclaimer. Don’t believe everything my human says. She didn’t pick me out. I picked HER out. Humans have no defense against us when we decide we want to live with them. She didn’t have a chance.)

Her first act after Michelle and I opened the door of the ASPCA and brought her outside was to try to claw her way out of the cardboard carrier the nice people in the shelter had provided. She did this in the taxi, all the way home. Michelle had to throw a coat over the carrier to fool her and quiet her down. It didn’t fool her one bit. It just made her bide her time until she could get even.

(HARMONY: How would you like to be carried around in a cardboard container, like a McDonald’s Happy Meal? Sheeeesh!)

She got her revenge right away when we got her to my apartment. After wandering all over the place, checking everything out, she jumped up on one of the window sills and figured out the best and fastest way to break through the closed mini-blinds. Once she learned to do that, the mini-blinds didn’t have a chance. They never recovered. Eventually, I was forced to replace them if I didn’t want the gaping holes to be a magnet for every Peeping Tom in the area.

(My choice to replace the mini-blinds was Roman shades, and I put them up myself. The resulting adventure is a story for another day. For now, I will just say that Rome did not rise again that day.)

(HARMONY: She looked like a real idiot.)

An 8-month old cat is smack dab in the middle of kitty adolescence. Teenage cats are as obnoxious as teenage humans. They have the body of an adult cat and the mind of a kitten. In other words, they should come with warning labels.

Harmony took to me right away. Unfortunately, to her mind, bonding with me meant using me as a giant cat toy. “Pounce the Human” became her favorite game, with more than one variation. I had to wear long pajama bottoms, even in the heat of summer, to protect my legs. I had to wear a sleep mask every night, to protect my eyes against little cat feet on my face. But that wasn’t the worst thing. Harmony invented a nightly game of “Get the Human as She Goes to Bed.” She would lurk in the kitchen and wait. I would be in the bedroom. I would switch off the light, then get into bed. The second I switched off the light, Harmony would streak from the kitchen into the bedroom and grab my leg. To her credit, she never had her claws out, but being grabbed by a cat in the dark is not fun. I would have to switch off the light, then jump into bed before she could get to me. This took a lot out of me.

(HARMONY: Ha-ha! *snort*)

I eventually solved this problem by buying a table lamp and placing it right next to the bed. That way, I could get into bed, THEN turn off the light. This put an end to the game.

(HARMONY: The Great Human Killjoy struck again.)

She liked to play little jokes on me, too. In the mornings, she would hide herself next to the bed, near my head. When I started to get up, she would jump up at me. I always knew she was there, and expected this, and it would make me laugh. A laugh is a good way to start the morning.

She also loved to jump and tag me when I wasn’t looking. She still does this once in a while, and it still makes me laugh.

Over time, of course, she matured and mellowed, and she turned into a pretty good cat. She has a very loud purr, which I can hear when she cuddles next to my head in bed at night or rubs against my leg. She has been an adventure, but I love her.

(HARMONY: Oh, cut the mushy stuff! You’re embarrassing me!)
Harmony Hiding in Box

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6 thoughts on “Life with Harmony”

  1. If I had a talking cat, I would talk to Don Don’s about “The Adventures of Theo and Harmony” and just see where it took me.

    1. Believe it or not, she had already been adopted out from the ASPCA and RETURNED three times before I got there! People couldn’t handle her excess play energy and intelligent mischief. I had fallen in love with her at the shelter, though (with Michelle’s help and nudging), and had made a commitment. That cat wasn’t going anywhere except with me. It was a great decision. She has been a handful at times, but she brings me laughter — and love.

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