Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Button Thief

Periodically, I blog about my crazy cat.  He's the strangest cat we've ever had.  He's also a button thief.  Here is a story I originally told about him when he was about 10 months old (he's now 18 months and still at it):

The cat is an all black male, and addicted to buttons.  His name is Spaz and all I can say is never was there a cat more aptly named.  Personally, I think he must have been a goofy dog (think Marley) in another life. 

Now I love buttons.  Old ones, new ones, fat ones, skinny ones.  If it's interesting, I want to get my hands on it.  Here and there I could've sworn I had a particular button only to not be able to find it when I wanted it.  I alternated between thinking I'd been looking at too many button sites and only imagined having it and believing I was losing my mind!

Besides collecting them, I also use them to create unique jewelry pieces.  In the process of creating, I usually set up a layout.  Sometimes a piece comes together immediately, other times it'll need some rearranging.  If I don't like the look of a piece, I'll leave it laid out so that I can get a feel for what needs to be added or changed. 

The other day I had a bracelet laid out using nice bright Bakelite buttons.  Since I intend this piece to have flower charms and such, I'd used a variety of colors but it was still missing something.  Thinking a hint of a silver mirrorback might do the trick I fetched those buttons.  About this time the phone rang, dinner needed to be started and some kid or other wanted help.  Fast forward a couple hours and I'm back to working on the bracelet.  Only thing is, the mirrorbacks that I thought I'd placed into the piece are now missing.  Starting a search, I eventually locate one of them on the bathroom counter.  Now I notice the cat sitting there with a goofy grin on his face, but I don't associate him with the missing buttons.  Instead, I assume I must've had it in my hand and stopped to do something (like pick up the towels, fix the blinds someone had to look thru, put the cap on the toothpaste, and on it goes..)  O.k., 1 button found, 1 to go.  I look and look and can't locate the button.  It's not like I don't have lots of others, so I finally go get another one.  As I go to place it in the arrangement, who should stroll in but Spaz, with the button in his mouth.  Still not having a clue, I think he must've found it on the ground.  I even praise him for bringing it to me! 

Now that the mirrorbacks are twinkling amongst the Bakelites and the daisies, I'm much happier with the layout.  It's too late to begin creating the bracelet, so I shut down the lights and prepare to retire for the night.  While I go about my business, the cat shadows me like the faithful companion he is.  Off to sleep I go only to be awakened several hours later by a strange sound.  It went kind of like plink, thud, pause, plink thud, pause.  Unable to think (I don't process well at 2:00 in the morning!) I groggily staggered out of bed, stepped on a Lego, barely stopped myself from swearing, and headed towards the sound.  What I found was Spaz, up on my work table, happily batting buttons off one at a time.  He'd bat the button, wait for it to hit the floor, hop down, grab it and take it away.  Then he'd be back to do it all over again.

Turning on the light, I discovered about half my buttons for the bracelet were missing.  All the charms and beads were still there, he'd just been stealing the buttons.  You'd think being caught would have some effect, but no, he looked up as if to say "Isn't this fun?  Want to play?" and went right back to destroying my bracelet.  About then I decided it was a good night for him to sleep in the garage!

The next morning I begin the hunt (again) for my buttons.  Not in the workroom, not on the floor there, the kitchen or the living room.  Bathroom and family room are empty as well.  I know they're not in the kids rooms as they sleep with their doors closed (It's either that or be attacked by the kamikaze cat at 3:00 in the morning!  Spaz's thought process goes something like this:  "I want to sleep with you so I must first dive bomb your head!")  Where, oh where could my buttons be?

Decided I could get down on all fours and try to figure it out or I could let the cat lead the way.  Digging out the mirrorback from the day before, I attached a piece of yarn to it, left it on the table and walked away.  Sure enough, the cat couldn't resist the lure of the button.  I watched as he quickly dashed into the living room.  Following behind, the button was gone before I got there, but the attached string gave it away.  He'd hidden it beneath the cushion where he sleeps.  Removing the cushion from his bed I discovered about 20 buttons!  Seems he'd been stealing buttons for awhile.  Curious to see if this was the only hiding place, I dumped the wicker basket containing cat toys.  You guessed it, more buttons.   On to the couch.  The couch is too low to the ground for a cat to get under as there is only about 2 inches of clearance.  Grabbing a flashlight and laying on the floor (whereupon the cat promptly laid down on my back!) I looked under the couch and found more buttons.  He'd evidently used his paw to push them back as far as he could.  At this point I could be heard murmuring "I love my cat, I love my cat" over and over again as I fought the urge to throttle him.  Not that I could, as he was still curled up smack in the middle of my back purring away!  Rescuing my buttons, I shook them at him and said in my sternest voice "NO!  Bad kitty!  My buttons!"  Now, if I'd used that tone with a dog I would've gotten a head and tail hung down in shame.  But Spaz?  He looked up, grinned his grin and did his little happy dance on his too large feet! 

Needless to say, and much to his dismay, the cat is now banned from the workroom.  I feel a bit guilty about that as he does love to curl up in a spot of sunlight and nap while I'm working, but when it comes to my buttons I'm gonna save them from that cat!  Of course that doesn't solve the problem of the buttons I displayed. I've got them in decorative glass baskets, interesting bowls and jars throughout the house.  My husband jokes that the only room that doesn't have buttons in it is the bathroom!  Until I figure out how to keep him out of my buttons I'll be spending a lot of time reminding myself "I love my kitty, I love my kitty" that AND crawling around on the floor looking for my buttons!


  1. I am so glad I don't work with buttons. My black male cat, Alfred, would totally do that to me too. Instead, he tries to steal my yarn which is much easier to locate than buttons.



  2. This is so funny! I just can't figure out if you are a better detective than he is a thief? Hmmm, I think the cat wins this one! Great story.

  3. Too funny! Sounds like the cat's in the doghouse!

  4. Just because cat's are cute, they think they can get away with murder. Great story! Thanks!