Cats and/or Furniture?

April 23, 2010 at 4:44 pm (By Amba)

I maintain you can’t have both — magnificent, intact feline predators and magnificent, intact furniture.  A declawed cat is not a cat, and a clawed Chippendale is . . . well, you get the picture.

Today, though, Dito (short for Bandito), seen here sleeping off his accomplishment [b&w], gave the lie to that assertion.

We had a table that was really very inappropriate for a house with cats (and would have been an extreme hazard in a house with children).  It was a heavy disk of glass, 3.5 or 4 feet in diameter, resting unsecured except by its own weight on top of a sturdy openwork base.  Nathan, our karate teacher friend, had bought it and four really beautiful matching bentwood safari chairs at a flea market.  He and his former wife weren’t using them, and gave them to us when we first moved here.

It’s amazing it lasted this long, what with the disk tending to edge unnoticed off-center under the tablecloth, and cats jumping on and off it.  (Table-trained, these guys?  To stay off it, I mean?  Are you kidding?)  There have been a few close calls, including one in which Buzzy landed on the near edge and flipped the disk into my arms. Pause for a visual of Buzzy:

But the mountain of book boxes that’s still piled against the dining-alcove wall six months after the fire was the last straw.  I made the mistake of calling Dito down from the mountain in a let’s-play voice, and he dived melodramatically off the boxes onto the rear arc of the glass top.  It flipped backwards, crashed to the floor, and shattered into a million pieces, ranging in size from guillotine blade to razor blade to sliver to dust.  Cats, of course, are long gone before whatever it is hits the floor.

I called Dito every name in the book (even though it was not his fault, it was my fault for trying to have both cats and temperamental furniture) as I plucked and swept glass into cardboard boxes that I will probably have to drive to the town dump, and then vacuumed, vacuumed, vacuumed.  Nathan and his girlfriend were coming to dinner, and Nathan had e-mailed me to ask what they could bring.  I said, “A table.”

I was kidding, of course.  What I really meant was, “Don’t come to dinner, I am in no mood to cook.”  But Nathan anticipating being fed is an unstoppable force, so he said, “Okay!”  And within a couple of hours showed up with this.

(That would be an Althousian photo, with the laptop and all, if it weren’t blurry.)  This very solid pedestal table, with only minor dings (which for all I know we put on it getting it through the front door), has a leaf and is expandable.  The mechanism for opening it up to insert the leaf is a thing of beauty, with little flat gears that turn as you slide the halves apart:

The table is the same size as the old one — J’s knees and feet even fit under it — but much more solid and cat-friendly.  Nathan got it at the Habitat for Humanity store for $75.  It has all the earmarks of a conspiracy; he and Dito have been in cahoots for a long time.

See, you can have both cats and furniture — as long as you let the cats pick the furniture.

Dito got a kiss and an apology.  Nathan’s getting dinner.


  1. Melinda said,

    Gorgeous cats and gorgeous table! And I would have felt as nervous as a cat around that big slab of glass.

  2. Courtney H. said,

    Wow! Ask and ye shall receive (the table, I mean). Those gears are a work of art – fascinating.

  3. Emilie said,

    I can’t believe this! I have that same table, and I love it, even though we haven’t needed to expand it for the last three years, ever since we moved into our apartment! We bought ours in Princeton, NJ, in the 1980s. Those gears are fantastic!

  4. amba12 said,

    That is completely amazing!!!

  5. Randy said,

    Tell Nathan he’s welcome for dinner at my place anytime. It’s an informal affair- tails not required. Tables optional, though.

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