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Judy Spooner: Houdini cat or meathead? You decide

I was writing a news story on my computer when I heard a whoosh sound behind me.

Our cat, Rudolf, or Rudy as we call him, had just leaped from a kitchen counter onto our table. Rudy's momentum sent the tablecloth, and salt and pepper shakers to the brink of dumping everything on the floor.

Part Abyssinian cat, he has well developed back legs that allow him to "leap small buildings in a single bound," just like Superman.

We don't allow cats on our cupboards but, if you live with cats, you know they do it when you're not watching.

We got Rudy and Blitzen, Rudy's adopted sister, last fall from the Park Grove Pet Hospital. No cat will replace Velvet, who died last summer at 18 years, but the two new residents have kept husband Gary (also known as Santa Gary) and I busy.

They are very lovable, social and mischievous.

Daughter Margie calls Rudy "Meathead," because he seems clueless at times. This morning he jumped onto a shelf where there were magazines. He sent them careening into their water dish. If I was thinking of reading "Prevention" magazine, I need a new plan.

Blitzen taught Rudy to chase strings and play with balls, but she didn't teach him to be Houdini. He learned that himself. Maybe he's not a meathead after all.

Margie, and son-in-law Eric have rooms in our basement. They also have cats and occasionally, Rudy and Blitzen are invited in for a visit.

About a month ago, Margie called me on our intercom and asked if Rudy was upstairs. I looked around and he was looking at me from a kitchen chair.

"We didn't open our door to let him out," she said.

The mystery was solved several weeks later.

I heard a rustling noise under the floor. Rudy was crawling through the furnace ductwork to get into Margie and Eric's domain.

Rudy is still growing and I thought he might get his considerable behind stuck in the ducts so we closed off his access to our air exchange system.

I opened a small bottom drawer in the downstairs bathroom yesterday and Rudy was interested in the contents. I left the bathroom for a minute and returned to shut the drawer.

About an hour later I noticed Rudy wasn't around so I checked the bathroom vanity. He was just sitting there when I opened the door under the sink. I'm still wondering how he got there from that small drawer.

Gary and I shut our bedroom door at night to keep Rudy and Blitzen out.

We awoke at about 5 a.m. one morning last week to find Rudy on the foot of the bed.

Groggily, Gary put him out of our room and we both fell back asleep only to wake up at 8 a.m. to find Rudy on our bed again.

We discovered that he managed to open the cupboard door over our washer on the main floor, crawl into the laundry basket and go up the clothes shoot into our bedroom closet.

Right now, he's watching the birds at our feeder. I think he's drafting a plan to get out there.

Judy Spooner
Judy Spooner is the longest-serving staff writer at the South Washington County Bulletin. Spooner, who covers education and features in addition to writing a weekly column, has been with the newspaper for over 30 years.
(651) 459-7600