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This is an anecdote about my Hershey, who loves to try to steal hamburger rolls from me. It is also about polar bears. There is a connection. Let me explain why.

The local public radio station, WAMU, sponsors a show that runs each Saturday at noon, called The Animal House. It is hosted by Sam Litzinger, a sometime CBS radio reporter. The show also has two segments a week with mainly cat and dog Qs and As answered by the Director of a DC rescue agency who is also a veterinarian. The show is excellent.

This past Saturday Litzinger interviewed an author who has studied and written about polar bears and their quest for survival. He highlighted how patient polar bears are, camping out for days near one of the breathing holes a seal will use, in order to catch it when it finally surfaces at that hole. It is a matter of survival. He told a story about a man who was studying polar bears who had camped out on an ice floe to observe a nearby bear. The bear stayed away, but close enough to observe the man. After three days, one morning when the man got up to hop from one ice floe to another, the bear suddenly lunged at him and caught him by the foot. Fortunately, the man's boot came off, and that is all the bear got. But it showed how carefully the bear had been getting to know the man's habits, waiting to pick the right moment to go after him.

Which now brings us back to Hershey. Shortly after I adopted Hershey a year ago, after his near-starvation and death experience, I discovered he was a very food-centric cat. He would inhale his own food, then go over and try to eat what remained of Snowball's food. He would stalk me to try to claim my meals as I ate, and he developed a spacial interest in hamburger rolls and bagels. When I would put a hamburger roll on the kitchen counter in order to prepare a sandwich, Hershey would become single-minded in his desire to steal it from me. And indeed, at first, on several occasions he was successful, running under the dining room table with his booty, which sometimes he would start eating, sometimes not, before I was able to grab it from him (though he would never try to hurt me when I took it from him).

Over time I developed a number of counter-measures (pun intended) to reduce his prospects of success. A coin can scares him, so that works much of the time. Also, I started using a smaller counter where I could use my body to block the space on the floor he would use to leap up onto the counter.

That brings us to today. It had been maybe two months since Hershey had last tasted success with his maneuvers. I brought out a hamburger roll, and in a moment of weakness I placed it on the broader kitchen counter for a moment, while I turned to grab something else. In that moment, Hershey leapt up and in one motion grabbed the top half of the roll and landed back on the floor, without even landing on the kitchen counter. He then ran into the dining room, growling his triumphant little growl. I went after him at first, but, to be honest, I was so impressed by his prowess in outwitting me yet again that I decided to let him be this once, though I was definitely mad at him. At that moment I thought of the polar bear. Just like the polar bear, Hershey watched me day after day, looking for an angle he could exploit to grab the roll. And sure enough, today he found it, and he struck like lightning and off he went.

I know our cats have amazing abilities, but those well-honed survival skills are something to behold. I think he has a lot in common with polar bears and other members of the animal kingdom that are obligate carnivores--or in his case, a Hamburglar. I am in awe of his ability to outwit me, even when my defenses are on high alert, or so I think. It only took a moment, and Hershey was victorious, yet again.
 

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You tell a great story, NRD!! Love your writing, I can picture every move, even with the polar bear.

I'm not surprised by Hershey's antics, he stole my heart quite some time ago.
 

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Thanks much, Marie. I am flattered. As for Hersh, I'll tell him he has a small fan club. He'll appreciate that, because while he's larger than life, he doesn't have a big ego.

Sometime soon, if I can summon the spirit, I will tell a less nice story about how Blizzy and Hershey managed to knock a large and heavy, freestanding oak bookshelf of the wall of my family room last month, taking out a few of my sculptures, while I was standing helplessly about 10 feet away. It could have been much worse, and no one was hurt, fortunately. For another day, though.

Oh, and by the way, Animal House has podcasts, through NPR or by Googling The Animal House.
 

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Oh, dear! We all have those "broken things" stories, but that sounds much worse than any of my experiences. :(

I think Hershey's fan club is larger than you think!
 

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You tell a great story, NRD!! Love your writing, I can picture every move, even with the polar bear.
I agree! Animals know what they want (or in the polar bear's case, need to survive) and they will get it eventually. They are much more clever than many people give them credit for.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Hershey sounds very Ninja like in his determination! Love that!
Hershey and Ninja probably have a number of things in common. Here is a picture from a few months ago, of Hersh with Little Hersh. Look familiar?

 
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