Many years ago, I wrote the saga of Moochie, a white kitten who was adopted by my big black tomcat, Mo-Man (although then he was known as Maurice).


Many years ago, I wrote the saga of Moochie, a white kitten who was adopted by my big black tomcat, Mo-Man (although then he was known as Maurice).

Of three toms I had at the time, Moochie was the first one to run inside for the supper dish and the last to leave. While he was a big believer in the supper dish, he was a non-believer in human contact.

For about two years, Moochie lived with Mo-Man, my dappled tom Piebald, and was mothered by Piebald’s sister, a female tabby we, oddly enough, called Sister. Then he was claimed by kidney disease.

Fast forward to now, and Mo-Man has adopted another mostly white kitten. We call this one, a tabby-point Siamese, Clyde.

Like Mo-Man, Clyde has had a close encounter with a force much larger than himself, a speeding car, at a very young age. Like Mo-Man, he suffered a broken leg and cracked hip in the mishap. Like Mo-Man, he was brought indoors to recuperate. Like Mo-Man, he now has a limp but is fine otherwise.

There the similarities to Maurice end and the ones to Moochie begin. Like Moochie, Clyde loves the supper dish, often wolfing down his can of tuna, then nosing into Mo-Man’s. Being an older cat of almost 10, a half can is about Mo-Man’s fill, so Clyde finishes the rest, then waddles into the living room.

But don’t think that because he’s well fed, he’s content to let people pet him or even touch him. Oh no. Clyde likes human contact on his terms. This involves using a nearby shin or knee-cap as a tree trunk to climb up the person to see what she or he is doing. A hand dangling limply beside a recliner as the owner has gone to sleep is the impetus for attack, in Clyde’s eyes. Like Muhammad Ali, Clyde bobs and weaves, looking for the best opportunity to smack an unwary finger with a paw.

Clyde also loves nothing better than to wrestle Mo-Man, who glumly tolerates being boxed, scratched, bitten and kicked for several minutes before bending his ears back, hissing and striking out with a paw. Sometimes, if Clyde knocks Mo-Man onto his back, the kitten is greeted with a headlock with Mo-Man’s front paws and several boots to the head by his hind ones. Like Ali, Mo-Man is a campaigner extremely knowledgeable in the technique of rope-a-dope. (For those not into boxing, that’s when a fighter will let his opponent get him on the ropes, assume a defensive crouch and take a nice little rest while the other fighter wails away on him. When the opponent is tired and winded, the ropee comes out of the crouch to wail away on the opponent and, often, finish the bout in a knockout).

A few seconds of this treatment, and Clyde decides to let sleeping cats lie. He struggles free of Mo-Man’s grip, jumps off the bed and then starts bothering me for food.

He’s also known as “Klepto Kitty” because of his stealing ways. Like Clyde Barrow, Clyde Kitty will steal anything not nailed down. Usually, this just means pilfering things from the trash — a piece of paper from a wastebasket, a cardboard butter package from the kitchen — but sometimes, it involves more important items.

For instance, the other day Clyde was batting something about on the floor, and I went to investigate what it was. Of course, he quickly ran away to avoid all human contact not involving food, letting me bend down to pick the items up. They were two $20 money orders I’d put on a desk to send on a bill. I guess I’m just lucky he hasn’t figured out how to a) sign my name and b) drive my truck or he would have cashed them in and bought all kinds of snacks and toys.
In California, there’s a cat also known as Klepto who has taken items from neighbors. According to a YouTube video, in three years, that cat has stolen 600 items. Like Clyde, Klepto is a Siamese.

I worry about the future of Clyde. Will he change his stealing ways and go on the straight and narrow? Will he end up a cat burglar?

I fear he’s escalated his act. The other day, we found a strange washcloth on our doorstep. Later, we noticed a yellow glove. So if you’re missing something from your clothesline, you might give me a call. Clyde might have performed his cat burglar act.

John Ford is managing editor of the Daily News.