Animal, Vegetable

Emmy planning her attack on The Turnip, 19 March 2011 (photo by Kate St. John)

I usually write about wild things but this is a story about domesticated nature:  an animal and a vegetable.

This winter Esther Allen gave the members of the Wissahickon Nature Club an assignment.  Each of us must plant seeds from the kitchen and bring the results to the April 14th meeting.

My attempt with tangerine seeds failed to germinate and now, with less than a month left, I am running out of time so I bought a small turnip at the grocery store to sprout in water.  It shouldn’t take long.

I don’t like turnips — never buy them — so this one was a novelty.  About the size of a small red potato, it’s white and lavender with a tiny tap root and emerging leaves on top.  At some point I showed it to my cat.  Her reaction was surprising.

Emmy sniffed it, put her ears back, narrowed her eyes and gave it a sharp whack with her paw.  I tried hard not to laugh.  I hid my face in my book so she wouldn’t stop her assault on the turnip but I needn’t have worried. There was no stopping her.  She kept beating the turnip until she knocked it to the floor where it rolled like an ungainly mouse.  She attacked it from below, then charged at it, chased it back and forth, and nearly launched it down the basement stairs.

I rescued the turnip and hid it under a plastic bag on the kitchen counter but before I set it down I sniffed it myself.  As far as I could tell, it didn’t smell.

The next morning I sat drinking my coffee and Emmy puttered around the kitchen floor when suddenly her ears went back, she narrowed her eyes and sniffed the air.  Sniffing, sniffing, she moved below the spot on the kitchen counter where I had accidentally uncovered the turnip.   She’s not allowed on the counter (ha!) but she jumped right up to the turnip.

I had forgotten about it but she had not.  Apparently the turnip has a strong scent and she doesn’t like it, not one bit!

Emmy about to surprise-attack the turnip (photo by Kate St. John)
Emmy subdues the turnip (photo by Kate St. John)

How am I going to sprout the turnip with an attack cat in the house?

Maybe my excuse will be that the cat killed my homework.

Emmy whacks the turnip and sends it rolling (photo by Kate St. John)

p.s. Emmy is also called Emmalina.

(photos by Kate St. John)

13 thoughts on “Animal, Vegetable

  1. What a funny story and great action shots! There’s something about cats and vegetables. When given a carrot, my male cat rolls around the floor with it and rubs it all over his face. Same thing with celery leaves. I’ll have to get his reaction to turnips. 🙂

  2. Well if nothing less she is getting her exercise; such a precious thing, you never know about animals or “plants”.
    Missed the 4th at COL but I see that Harrisburg has 4 also. I Just never thought about turnips much, don’t eat them either.

  3. Is it possible that the little dickens *likes* the turnip? We know cats have funny ways of showing their love, like biting thumbs.

  4. ROLOL!! What’s funny is that before I read the story, I found myself thinking “What a huge mouse! Why’s it so lumpy?” Cat’s are hilarious. My son’s cat, Froo Frew, let’s herself out the basement cat door just so she can come to the front door and ‘beg’ to be let in. She paws at the glass, looks desperate, cries,and cries. Meanwhile, she was just on the sofa 10 minutes earlier. Go figure. I just bought some beets – maybe I’ll try laying one out – just to see what happens. Knowing her though, she’ll know I’m hoping to be entertained and will ignore it until I’m asleep. 🙂

  5. Is this a domesticated cat’s understanding of the food chain? She needs to get out (more?). There are mice to be had!! Birds, oops strike “birds” from the record…

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