Bengals and Countertops
(or Cats and Counter-Intelligence)

By Mark Pennington

It all started when we got our second Bengal. Her name is Reigny. Now some might remember this girl from my first try at showing in SC. She was the very angry female. Now at home she was an angel, but OH MY was she smart and devious. Prior to her arrival I was very cocky, thinking I had trained all my domestic cats to stay off the counter tops and table tops, even my other Bengal girl was never up there. I was so proud of myself and my well behaved cats. I have since learned that I was being fooled, but I was so innocent then.

Along came Reigny to join our household. Such a pretty girl, with the most amazing green eyes I have yet seen on a Bengal. She decided that the counter and table tops were her domain, Two Foots be damned. I had heard of the spray bottle method of training cats so, being who I am, found the biggest spray bottle I could find. I was going to teach her a lesson in who was the boss in this house.

She didn’t make me wait long before she perched herself up on the corner of our kitchen counter to supervise my wife making dinner. I let loose with a laugh, that any self righteous villain would be proud of, I squirted her and she took off like a rocket. I knew I had won, and it was disappointingly simple. Smugly, I went back to my gladiatorial throne (ok my Lazy boy Recliner, don’t judge me) A short while later my wife called, gloating  it seemed to me, that I should come do something with “my” cat. An aside here. Why are they “my” cats when they are bad, and hers when they are sweet?

Upon my return to the field of battle, the counter, I found the damp cat staring at me and sitting on the corner again. I don’t think I can describe the look to anyone who does not own a stubborn Bengal. Those that have one, they know this look. I picked up the spray bottle, excited to prove my masculine dominance to my cat. (and now my wife too) I took careful aim and opened up on my foe. In return, she simply stared at me. Reference the look I spoke of a moment ago. She didn’t move. I emptied that spray bottle on her and she didn’t flinch. When I had emptied that bottle and drenched the cat, she turned walked to the other side of the counter, looked over her shoulder at me and jumped down. This cat didn’t even shake the water off herself. Refusing to give me even that much of a win.

Cut to a day later. I am eager to place this cat in her place. We have a large oak dining table. It has two large leaves and expands to seat 12 with plenty of room between settings. I figured I would win today with this fiendish feline. I went and got a full roll of duct tape and scissors. I started cutting up 1” squares of duct tape and placing them sticky side up on the table. My nemesis, Mrs. Cattitude herself, arrived promptly and hopped up on a stool to oversee my current challenge. Now mind you, this took me almost an hour (only a cat person could possibly understand doing anything that takes an hour in order to teach some cat a random lesson) This cat sat on that stool for the entire time and watched me with …. that damn look. When I finally finished I stood back from the table and was quite proud of myself for the artistry of my cat trap on the table top. My wife on the other hand was thinking of the other men she might have married..

Reigny, sitting on the stool, just stared at me now. She was no longer looking at the table top, just looking me right in the eyes.  Now remember she sat there the whole hour just … still. She now hopped down, walked to the end of the table and with no hesitation leaped up on the oak table with the little kitty land mines and walked straight down the middle of the damn table. Not ONE damn piece of tape stuck to her. She got to the other side, again stopping again to look over her shoulder at me, hopped down and walked away. Had this been a gladiatorial battle in the arena, I would have received a unanimous thumbs down.

My Persian wondered what was up on the table and I guess she was emboldened by the Bengal’s brashness. She hopped up and…. if you ever wondered how much tape a Persian is able to get to adhere to itself, the answer is thirty three 1” squares in 3 seconds flat.

That was the day I learned that I live with Bengals and am here to serve.

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