ROSE NOLEN: New cat brings lot of energy

Tuesday, May 24, 2011 | 12:01 a.m. CDT

Well, it was a busy weekend. My new housemate moved in. He is five months old, weighs about four pounds, and looks like he's wearing a tuxedo.

His name is Harry Houdini, ­ The Cat Who Disappears. He got into more trouble in the first 24 hours than his predecessor, Geronimo, did in 17 years.

The fact that he was supposedly recovering from surgery for parts removal didn't slow him down. He obviously believes that being "cute" covers a multitude of sins.

As soon as we finished unpacking his newly acquired belongings, he took about 20 minutes to check out his new digs. After that, he disappeared, and we didn't see him again for a couple of hours. The first day, I made numerous attempts to locate him only to discover that apparently no space is too small to provide him with a place to nap.

His ability to slide through the narrowest of openings is uncanny. He takes his mission to play to unbelievable heights as he climbs, jumps, crawls up and down any available pantleg, scoots under tables and endeavors to be in perpetual motion whenever he is awake. Grass could easily grow under his feet because, when he isn't napping, he's never in one place long enough to smother a seed.

Getting work of any kind done with Harry zipping in and out of rooms is a challenge.

I realize I have been spoiled on the subject of cat behavior by my 17 years with Geronimo. He was a laid-back cat who was extremely unsocial and made it a practice to ignore human beings whenever possible. As a result, our home life was peaceful and serene.

Harry, I think, is under the false impression that it is his duty to provide me with writing material in which I can record his experiences. I hope to convince him that he needs to hire his own biographer and that he should save his antics until then.

In the meantime, I enjoyed the opportunity to hear former President Bill Clinton when he gave the commencement address at the University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg a couple of weeks ago.

I am always pleased when a U.S. president visits our neck of the woods. I saw Lyndon Johnson during his presidency when he visited the Harry S. Truman Library and Museum in Independence. I was one of the journalists who covered President Ronald Reagan during his presidency when he visited the Missouri State Fair in Sedalia, and I shook hands with former president Jimmy Carter when he visited Stephens College in Columbia.

Whenever I've attended conferences or national meetings in many of the major cities, I have always been put off by the assertion made by somebody that every event of consequence in the United States happens in New York, Los Angeles or Chicago, the implication being that these are the only areas of importance that exist in this country. I admit that I have always resented this. Consequently, I tend to overreact when Missouri becomes the center of positive national news.

Visits to our region by national leaders, as far as I'm concerned, reinforce our connection to the whole. I don't apologize for this. I find pride of place to be an attractive quality.

I find it frankly annoying that so little is known about Missouri in some areas. I really don't think that some of the people who represent us nationally do a very good job of spreading the word about our history, our geography or the importance of the state in helping to build America. I think it would be helpful if Missourians talked more about Lewis and Clark's role in the opening of the West and less about the Civil War.

Hopefully, it won't be long before Harry Houdini, The Cat Who Disappears, adjusts to the rhythm of this household. In any event, I should mention that he has one admirable quality — he came into my life litter-box-trained. When I weigh that factor against the others, he comes out smelling like a rose.

You can join the conversation with Rose M. Nolen by calling her at 882-5734 or e-mailing her at

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