I have ceded defeat to my cats.

Yes, less than 20 lbs of fur has bested me. I should've realized this was inevitable when Thena made me her bitch after less than a week of "owning" her, but alas, I held out hope that at some point my dominance of the situation would prevail.

I should have realized that adding a second furball into the mix wouldn't exactly "calm" Thena or miraculously turn her into a sweet, adorable kitty who never misbehaves... I should have known that, rather, she now has a partner in crime who can come up with the trouble and mischief that she might've overlooked the first time around.

To backtrack...

Back at my first apartment, Thena discovered the joys that were the plug for the bathroom sink. She would amuse herself, picking it up and trying to take it out of the sink or just batting it around and whatnot. As she got bigger, more aggressive (or at least had more muscle to put behind her aggression) and arguably, smarter, she managed to pull the plug off the chain... which meant that, periodically, I would find the plug in my bedroom or in the kitchen, and I'd have to return it to its rightful place. Not that big a deal.

Then we moved, and I thought the game was over. But alas, I was to be, once again, woefully incorrect. Instead, within a week or so, my now large-sized (though not yet full-grown) cat was able to remove the plug from the sink and race all about a much larger apartment -- with much better hiding places -- to hide it. It wasn't something she did often, and usually the plug didn't travel particularly far, but every now and then...

Then I got a second kitten. This one was sweet-natured and fairly well-behaved, borderline timid, but still playful. I thought it was her nature, but when she got over the dread disease she had brought into the home... her true nature came out. She is very much a hyper little kitten brat at heart. But no matter. She watched the older cat -- before and after her illness -- and learned.

What she learned was that the sink plug makes for an excellent toy. Oh, it is a fun toy! You can easily pick it up in small cat mouths and run around the hardwood/tile floors with it, and it skitters so nicely on those surfaces, and fits under all the doors so that it can be hid and later retrieved by the tallish, exasperated one. Of course, the nature of the doors and the floors and the tallish, exasperated one is such that sometimes we don't see the sink plug for weeks at at time, but every now and then, when that tallish, exasperated one opens a door, she finds the plug, and she rejoices, and we secretly snicker and chortle to ourselves, because we know that within an hour of her finding it, we can hide it again.

See, about a month ago, the plug was found and it was hidden between some bottles on the bathroom counter. That lasted a few days before they retrieved it and hid it on me again. Then, about a week ago, I found it again -- and this time, I was smart. Or so I thought. This time, I put it in the toothbrush holder that I have -- which consists of a plastic cup with a fitted piece of plastic over it, and the brushes go in holes in this plastic shield. You've all seen it.

I thought I was being so smart. I really, really did think I was.

But what did I find a few nights ago, when I came home? The damn thing was open, in the sink, and the plug was nowhere to be found.


I just stood there, asking everyone and no one, "How did you know?! How did you know!?"

Maybe they could see the plug through the plastic; it's an opaque white in colour, not very difficult to tell that something else was in the cup. Maybe it was just fortune for them -- they knocked over the cup and found the toy inside. Maybe I have Machiavellian cats, I don't know. All I know was, they found it.

But, I found it again, too, and this time I hid it on the other side of the counter, in amongst more little bottles and miscellaneous hair products. Of course, within ten minutes Venus was investigating that portion of the counter, and I've seen her do it at least once since, but I can still hope.

I hope that one day, I will manage to outwit 16lbs of fur, whose combined brain mass isn't equal to that of mine. I hope that I can manage to outwit cats who stare at shadows on the wall and try to attack them, cats who paw at things repeatedly with no real purpose, cats who chase their tails in sink and think an empty toilet paper roll is one of the best toys around.

I hope.

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