Clara Gets Tangled Up in Fun, Mischief

Clara with my Gasparilla beads
Clara with my Gasparilla beads

Clara is much like a child who always has one paw in the cookie jar and the other on the counter, the laptop keyboard, or just the spot where you don’t want it to be.

She races around the apartment every morning after her internal alarm clock wakes her up at 6 a.m. Sometimes I wonder if my apartment floors are lined with catnip, given how much she runs, jumps and chases imaginary mice (or more likely dust balls) on the floor.

She has a nose for finding what she’s not supposed to, like the beaded necklaces from Tampa’s Gasparilla pirate festival, which took place a few weeks ago. For as much mischief as she gets into, though, she’s a joy. She frequently cuddles with me, folding her paws and closing her eyes as though peacefully praying.

Tonight before she settled down on my lap, she spent 15 minutes playing with her food. She managed to take individual pieces of it out of her bowl and scatter them around the kitchen floor instead of eating them. Then she knocked over her entire bowl of water. I told her not to so wasteful, but I’m fairly certain she didn’t understand. …

I decided to let her have fun. She’s often alone for 10 to 12 hours a day while I’m at work/the gym, so I want her to enjoy her time with me. She needs to have her “kitten time,” while keeping in mind her limits — no getting on the counter or the table, no biting, no chewing the blinds.

As she played with her food, I read an article about a 93-year-old cook named Clara, who posts YouTube videos of herself cooking and talking about the Great Depression. Clara the cat and Clara the cook. Maybe Clara junior could be a guest star on Clara senior’s YouTube cooking shows … or just become a YouTube sensation on her own.

The theme of her videos would no doubt be: How to find “toys” you’re not supposed to have (i.e. Gasparilla beads), and how to make the ones you love smile.

Published by Mallary Tenore Tarpley

Mallary is a mom of two young kiddos -- Madelyn and Tucker. Mallary absolutely loves being a mom and often writes about the need to find harmony when juggling motherhood and work. Mallary is the Assistant Director of the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas at the University of Texas at Austin, where she manages the Center's various programs related to distance learning, freedom of expression, and digital journalism. Previously, she was Executive Director of Images & Voices of Hope and Managing Editor of The Poynter Institute’s media news site, Mallary grew up outside of Boston and graduated from Providence College in Rhode Island. In 2015, she received a certificate in nonprofit management from Duke University. She now lives in beautiful Austin, Texas, with her kids, husband Troy and cat Clara. She's working on a memoir, slowly but surely. You can reach her at

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