So Phineas joined the Walkabout Collection of cats and kittenz. We took three boy kittenz home that weekend and the girl kittenz from the same colony we'd adopted eight weeks earlier objected to their existence, hissing at them. Everyone wondered what the big boys would make of the three new ones, but I wasn't concerned.
"They can't count," I assured everyone.
And indeed, that's pretty much what happened. No one was fooled. They knew there were new kittenz hanging around in the house, but no one could figure out how many there were supposed to be. They were just EVERYWHERE. Goliath and PD took to spending a lot of the fall outdoors.
We went to the Capitol Cat Show that year and brought home a large collection of cat toys. Catnip and non-catnip toys, in all shapes and sizes, to see what appealed to the growing posse of cats. Phineas became obsessed with one toy, which we later learned is named "mouse on a stick" by its creator. It's a plastic rod with a string on the end and one of those rabbit-fur tiny mice attached to the end of the string. We had a number of 'cat teasers' as they are called, but 'mouse on a stick' was Phineas' favorite.
Phineas played with it, dragged it about the house, destroyed the fur on the mouse, broke the string, and all of that. We retied the string any number of times. He would chase it in circles until he got dizzy, which always got a laugh. He would get fed up with our games and drag it off down the hall, another cat chasing and stepping on the plastic stick, causing us to fall over laughing all over again. While the other cats enjoyed playing with it, none of them developed an obsession with it. Except Phineas. We took to putting it up on a shelf of the bookcase to keep it from being stepped on or lost. Phineas knew where we kept it. When it was low, he pulled it back down. When we put it higher, he sat and looked at us to get it for him. And eventually, there was nothing left of it but a pole and a tattered string stuck in a corner by my bed for about a year.
I looked for 'mouse on a stick' on the internet. I couldn't find anything like it. Phineas continued to ask for his toy by sitting on the bookshelf. "Sorry buddy," we would tell him. We missed the next cat show, so it was two years before we went back and searched for 'mouse on a stick.' When we found the booth, we discovered that the husband had designed it himself (fairly basic, but still). He had named it and as far as we could tell, no one else had them. So we bought four of them. And got their card, too.
Phineas knew immediately what we'd brought home. We had a new place, higher up, on the Robertson Davies (that's his photo on the spine of his biography) and R. F. Delderfield shelf to place 'mouse on a stick' out of his reach. He continued to look at us to get it down with big, sad, Puss in Boots eyes, his ears all alert, his head on its side.
Phineas looks at me to get the toy down for him.
Phineas looks at Weatherdude, because I have clearly failed him.
The world will have to wait until tomorrow for the rest of the story, I'm afraid. Phineas is sitting on me and I can't finish the entry just now. Sorry.