Here's the Scoop: Jan. 23, 2008

Undefeated champ
I haven’t written about our “new” cat in nearly a month, so I think it’s time. I’m not sure, but I can eventually see this whole column turning into a retelling of the adventures of “Holly The Christmas Cat.” We’d probably have to change the name of the column a bit to “Where’s The Scoop,” in honor of the apparatus used to empty the litter box.
Most likely I won’t feature Holly on a weekly basis, but I’m short of ideas today.
Where do I start? As reported recently, Holly was a Christmas present. Not fully grown, not really a kitten. Fast-forward a month. This cat is pretty much running the house.
I don’t mean to brag, but I have no choice. Holly has “skills.” Sure, every parent thinks their kid is the best and brightest. Same with pets. Well, I’m proclaiming Holly as the Cap Ball Champion.
Cap Ball, for those of you who may not get ESPN on cable, involves chasing seltzer caps around the dining room and kitchen. The rules are pretty complicated, so let’s just say there’s lots of running, sliding and carrying of the cap in one’s mouth for the truly skilled players.
The Cap Ball matches are very entertaining — far better than the extinct Tape Ball. The latter competition involved duct tape, formed into the shape of a ball. Thus the name. Let’s just say there was an engineering flaw in that the Tape “Ball” wasn’t particularly round and well, it didn’t actually roll in the truest sense of the word.
You may have noticed that both Cap Ball and Tape Ball don’t really involve a large capital investment on the part of the pet owners. I like that.

Who needs expensive toys?
Sure, Holly came accompanied by a little plastic ball with a cool bell inside. Nobody seems to know what became of that object. That’s OK since Necessity is the Mother of Invention — and Cap Ball.
I’m not sure how long Cap Ball season lasts. Hopefully, it’s shorter than professional hockey. By spring, I’m looking forward to Holly being a bit more agreeable to venturing outside. So far, the tiny cross-country skis we got her are looking like a waste of money. She is not a fan of cold or snow.
We have a book that tells us what cats are thinking. To me, this is sort of like predicting the future — I’d rather not know. Now, every time Holly gives a negative reaction to some gesture on our part, I’m a bit offended. I liked it better when I couldn’t read cat body language. Back then, I was pretty innocent and would say something like, “She must really like to have a bath the way she’s hissing and clawing my hands.”
When she’s not enjoying a rousing round of Cap Ball, Holly can often be found exploring closets and other dark spaces. That’s weird, but I suppose she enjoys escaping the glare of the Cap Ball arena and the demands of adoring fans. Well, it’s really just a ceiling fan, but it makes her feel good to have a fan, just the same. And it’s a big one.
As noted above, Holly ventures outside on occasion, but prefers to spend most non-Cap Ball hours gazing out the window, feeling sorry for the outdoor creatures.
I don’t want to make it sound like Holly is the only one benefiting from this new arrangement. In the past month, I have been engaged in countless enjoyable conversations with friends about the best brands of kitty litter. Which, of course, brings us to a teaser for our next cat-related column: The Doo-Doo Toss.
— Brian Sweeney