My Cat Loses Her Marbles

Yet I continue to feed her addiction

Shefali O'Hara


Opal stalks a marble

My cat Opal is a decade old, yet she still acts like a kitten much of the time. She loves the thrill of the chase. Whether it’s leaping to catch her feline flyer, creating tunnels under the bedspread, or rolling one of my pill bottles off my night stand, she is fully focused when she plays.

Woe be to my poor hand if it gets in her way while she is intent on the hunt.

Her predatory attitude is no surprise to me.

She was a feral kitty in a former life, before a farm lady friend rescued her.

This friend of mine captured feral cats in humane traps, take them to the vet to get their shots and to be neutered, clean them, and then give them a home in her barn. They would have fresh water and kibble set out for them by the farm lady and all the mice and rats they could catch. She also set out a few soft blankets so they could create nests in the straw.

For most feral cats, who are not particularly fond of people, this was a good life.

But Opal wanted to sit in laps and be cuddled. She wanted to be brushed and petted and fussed over.

So the farm lady gave her to me.

And Mom and I love her, and she loves us.

However, though she is a contented and sleek housecat these days, her wild feral instincts have not gone away.

While she’ll sit against my side purring in the morning while I sip my coffee and run when called by Mom to have her head scratched, when we pull out a toy — she transforms as dramatically as Dr. Jekyll became Mr. Hyde, though even in full blown predatory mode, she is still incredibly cute.

And she loves it when we play with her. She has several toys that she’s attached to.

Most recently, it’s been shooter marbles — the 1" sized ones that kids use to strike others when they play that game. I saw her playing with a stray spindle and thought she might like to knock marbles around so I picked up a bag of them for her.

I would roll one on the tile in the kitchen, or across the bottom level of our wood coffee table, or across the carpet.



Shefali O'Hara

Cancer survivor, writer, engineer. BSEE from MIT, MSEE, and MA in history. Love nature, animals, books, art, and interesting discussions.