I’ve got to admit this here and now. It’s serious if I’m putting it in writing.

I’ve got to admit this here and now. It’s serious if I’m putting it in writing.

This newest feline has me challenged.

Through the years I have always loved black cats, and Cleopawtra, my $50 cat from Wags and Whiskers, is the sixth one to inhabit the Heymen household. There was Clarence, the girl, who came from the streets of St. Augustine — Cordova Street to be more accurate. Then came Phydeaux, also a girl. We called her Dodi. After that was Purrcee, born in Vilano Beach and brother to my friend Dotty’s cat, Domino.

When Purrcee went to kitty heaven, enter Dawgie. After Dawgie there was Sweet Tea, a Palatka girl of the streets. Alas Sweet Tea — who lived up to her name and was by far the sweetest cat I’d ever known, had her life cut short with a horrible illness.

Egad. The Heymen household was down to one feline — HowLing, the 90 percent Siamese. The hunt was on for a playmate for Howie. Enter Cleo — and I do mean ENTER!!

This feline will be the death of me. There is no training her. She’s on the kitchen counter, she’s on the dining room table. She’s everywhere and she never learns. The other night she was locked in the laundry room for a little over three hours because I went into said room to secure a plastic bag, didn’t see her streak in, closed the door and left home from about 6:30 to 9 p.m. It was around 10 when I realized Howie was the only feline prowling around the living room. After checking all the rooms and dining room chairs, I opened the laundry room door and what streaks out but a nine-pound black cat.

This isn’t the first time she’s been incarcerated in said room. The pantry is another great place to dash into without being seen and then find one’s self languishing in said location for hours.

And there are her attempts at cooking — spreading dried split peas around the kitchen floor, finding Granola and walnuts in plastic bags and spreading them around the floor as well. Add that to flour, baking soda and baking powder spread across the kitchen table, and one wonders just what she plans to create.

Then there was the recent incident. A new roof was installed, and Cleo found a fascinating hiding place — a tiny space between the dish washer and the sink. I don’t know how she fit in there, let alone turned around. But she did. However, that secure location will soon be blocked. If Cleo puts on a pound or two we’d probably have to remove the dishwasher to extract her from said location.

Yes, she is a challenge, but when she hops on my lap, bats those big gold eyes at me, purrs and snuggles up, you can’t help but love her.

Darn it anyway! I’m hooked.

Anne C. Heymen was associated with The St. Augustine Record for 49 years in total before retiring in February 2014 as features editor. Her column runs in The Record on alternate Saturdays.