Felines Compete In Quarantine Olympics

by Kevin Burton

   With the (relatively) new year and our new household additions, the Burtons are taking quarantine competition to the next level.

   It’s the next level down, but hey, it is the next level.

   Welcome to the Quarantine Olympics. Last year it was mostly Yahtzee that helped us pass the time. I won that competition but squandered a big lead in December. Good thing there wasn’t another week to 2021 or my wife Jeannette could have stolen the prize.

   We could have gone back to Yahtzee, but we have added two cats – Gabbie and Ronnie – to the household since then. We thought it unreasonable to expect the cats to have the mathematical skills and manual dexterity needed to compete in that game. Also we were afraid Ronnie would eat the dice.

   So we have come up with a series of contests that allow both humans and felines to compete. Also, this is fluid. If we think of more events we will add them as we go.  We’re still getting to know the cats and what they are good at. The four of us will compete for the gold, the silver, the bronze and the Bronx cheer.

   Here are the categories we have so far:

   Stretching. Cats are extremely good at stretching, usually combined with

Yawning. But Jeannette has an exercise routine that beats anything the cats can attempt. In past years I could have been a contender in this category, not so much now. 

Projected gold medalist: Jeannette

   Eating. Ronnie has complicated dinner time in our house because she will eat her portion, then eat Gabbie’s food if she has any left.  She has a well-developed system of placing herself in the perfect positions to intercept food. She’s like a football defensive back in that regard. She is no doubt at least a three-time people food all-star. I could perhaps use a diet myself. But the best I can hope for is silver. The big cat is relentless.

   Projected gold: Ronnie.

   Sleeping. Google says cats sleep 12 to 16 hours a day. I would have never believed they could sleep more than 12, until I met Gabbie.  Sometimes I bump the piece of furniture she is on just to make sure she’s still alive. Having had her slumber interrupted, she has no difficulty getting back there.  Jeannette is a good bet for the bronze.

    Projected gold: Gabbie.

    Jumping. Most of the jumping I do these days is involuntary, after having been startled.  Ronnie however just broke her own house record last week by jumping on the dining room table.  Her previous best had been bed level. We did not give her a medal when we caught her up there, I can assure you.

   Projected gold: Ronnie.

   Spitting. Baseball players spit a lot. I used to be a beep baseball player (that’s baseball for the blind) with mad spitting skills.  Since I retired though I don’t have a new pastime that encompasses spitting.  Gabbie though is occasionally grumpy enough to make her opinions known forcefully.  Her vocabulary is limited so spitting is her primary means of expression. She has been spitting since before we even got her into the house.      

   Projected Gold: Gabbie.

   Scratching. The cats are declawed. We don’t believe in declawing but we don’t believe in shredded furniture either. That’s why we adopted two cats that were already declawed by previous owners.  Both cats still have the scratch instinct and Gabbie has the scratch attitude. But it’s going to be hard for them to win this event over humans with actual nails.

   Projected gold: Kev. (Scratching is a guy thing.)

   Speed Bump. This is a specialized sport designed to get one attention and/or food.  The idea is to position yourself in such a way that no one can go past without noticing you and how cute you are. Ronnie’s all-out pursuit of food make her a favorite here. Jeannette is cuter, but probably won’t compete hard in this event. 

   Projected gold: Ronnie.

   Singing/Screaming.  If you ask Jeannette, and even if you don’t, she will tell you I am the singer in the family.  But this Gabbie will occasionally let loose a blues holler that is well beyond my ability. I’m more consistent but she can really hit the high notes. This could be the most heated competition.  Place your bets!

   Projected Gold: Gabbie.

   I’d say let the games begin, except they already have.  We are competing, but we are also bonding, we four. We all have our moments of individual brilliance, but they all come in the context of family togetherness.

   So far no mass media coverage.  Stay tuned.

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