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I've recently gotten back to sewing; I'm working on a nice blue paisley mu'umu'u with blue accents and lace shaped like bows. I think it will turn out quite nicely.


Anyway, I decided to add blue to the end of the sleeves to dress it up a little more, and asked Mom to help. She asked me to bring the mu'umu'u out for her to work with. I brought it out and set it on the dining room table, where I figured Mom planned to work.

Alban jumped up on the table, looked at the pile of blue cloth with great interest, came over, sniffed it, and promptly curled up and settled down for a nice nap. Mom came in, and I pointed out the mu'umu'u. Mom petted Alban, and we decided we could wait to work on the mu'umu'u, since it was... otherwise occupied.


A few hours later, after Alban had finished his nice nap and gone elsewhere, Mom settled down and started measuring the pattern for the sleeve edges. She measured it, drew it onto a paper bag, cut it out, and decided it needed to be wider. As she got out the measuring tape to try this again....

....A certain large white pussy cat jumped up on dining room table, and immediately realized his Mommy and Girl were doing Interesting Things with the nice cloth.

He came over, sniffed, batted the pincushion as I picked it up and tucked it away while Mom snatched the measuring tape. Alban settled down on the nice blue cloth and the nice paper bag, where he was perfectly situated to watch what his people were doing.

[and be conveniently close for petting].

I don't know how Mom did it, but when Alban was settled down, she had one sleeve of the mu'umu'u and barely enough paper bag out to make a new pattern. We even still had the scissors, since they were off to one side when Alban decided he wanted to be in the middle of it all. Of course, Alban had to watch and sniff every step while Mom worked on it... but then such important activity must be properly supervised.

Unfortunately, such supervision can complicate things. Mom suggested I get some kitty treats for her helper. I did. When I set them down maybe three feet away, he looked at them with his best "what are those doing THERE" look. However, he condescended to go over and eat them. Mom had the mu'umu'u to herself for a couple of minutes while Alban ate them. He went right back. I tried to lure him away with his pellets [dry cat food]. He was willing to eat them only if he didn't have to leave the mu'umu'u.

Finally I decided that this required Strong Measures. That meant one of the very few gambles I'll actually make. It was the only thing that might work long enough, but if it backfired... well, we couldn't work much as it was. I went into the playroom and got his turbo scratcher, a plastic dish-shaped thing that has cardboard in the center, and a channel around that for a little read ball to roll around in. I made myself somewhat dizzy getting it, but I couldn't completely avoid bending over for it.

Never mind that. I took it into the kitchen, got a large pinch of catnip [Alban is very sensitive to the stuff], and sprinkled it into the cardboard, rubbing it a little to make sure it got in there. Then I carried it through the dining room, carefully running it right under Alban's nose as I passed to make SURE he knew exactly what was going on, and took it into the living room. I held it as low as I could without bending over, and dropped it onto the floor.


Alban got on it as soon as it hit the floor, sniffing with great interest.


He removed the cardboard very quickly, and started working on the catnip. He loves to eat the stuff.

I went back to Mom. "Well, that will either fix things, or make everything worse than ever," I told her.

"You put catnip in it?" she smiled. "Lots of catnip. If he comes back... work fast."

We chuckled, and Mom worked quickly on the mu'umu'u. Luckily, Alban satisfied himself with batting the ball and scratching the cardboard for the turboscratcher. He was still at it when Mom finished the pattern, gave me it, and we gathered up everything before you-know-who could come back to play with it. We both felt very lucky. The catnip had worked, not backfired.


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Copyright 2000 Anne Elizabeth Baldwin, Hilo, Hawaii
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