Photo by Arna Cohen

My husband and I adopted 3-month-old Dita von Tease (a nod to the burlesque dancer briefly married to rocker Marilyn Manson) in 2014 as a Hanukkah gift for our cat Monster. We’d recently lost our two older cats, and Monster seemed lonely. As a self-declared cat whisperer, I should have known better.

Dita slept the first day, but since Day 2 she’s been h-e-l-l on paws. She chews on upholstery, paper towels, doorstops, window blinds. Everything is a toy, and Monster’s tail is one of her favorites. For months, her attempts to play ended in wild wrestling matches. Now, the tussling has given way to snuggling. We’ve gotten compliments on the new blinds. And we love her sweet trill, how she zooms up the cat tree and how she deposits her toys outside our bedroom door every night. My husband, Paul, took this photo during a brief moment of calm after we adopted her. She’s wearing the skull-and-crossbones collar I’d bought beforehand. How prescient of me!

Arna Cohen, former staff writer

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