[Humorous] A thief has hit my studio - repeatedly

For the last several nights, my studio (which is sort of under my
house), has been hit by a thief! I get up in the morning, and there
is a trail of jumprings, french wire, head pins, tape, bead
containers - and this morning cabs and some stained glass work I was
going to try and fix! It really is pretty funny - the “thief” is
about 5" high, about 10" long (not including her tail), and black
and white - her name is Mugsy. What the silly cat plans to DO with
all of her booty I have no clue! When she started hauling cabs up
this morning I really got tickled. What on earth does a cat want
with cabs???

Has anyone else had a cat thief (she does cat naps down there too

I’ve gone and purchased another storage container for all of the
odds and ends she has been appropriating. So far it has not been
anything valuable, and she hasn’t broken anything, but I want to be
sure and keep it that way. Funny cat.

Beth in hot and humid SC

My cat has run off with earrings right off my bench. She normally
carries little trolls around the house (the tiny plastic dolls with
brightly colored hair that stands straight up). She carries the
trolls around, plays fetch with them and drops them here and there. I
heard her drop something one day that definately sounded metallic.
And it was in fact a large earring she had carried from one end of
the house to the other. She also likes to paw at all my spools of

But on a safety note: I only let my cat in my work space when I am
there to supervise. I keep my water bowl covered where I quench and
rinse after pickling. And I try to cover up my soldering board and
wipe down my soldering table. The boric acid residue from my flux is
something I don’t want her getting into. Also you should keep any
string or threadlike materials contained. If kitty swallows anything
like that, it would hurt. Always good to be extra careful if you
have pets nearby.-

Carrie Nunes

Just be glad you don’t own a ferret. Friend of mine has two, and the
larger one can carry away anything up to the size of a large

Talia in sticky Kansas

What the silly cat plans to DO with all of her booty I have no

Beth, Maybe she’s picking out the components for a necklace she
wants you to make for her!

Out of curiosity, do any of you make jewelry for your own pets?

Carol, Mom to 2 cats who so far haven’t snitched anything from the
workshop!From: “Karen Bahr” rocklady@nucleus.com

Hi Beth

My cat seems to think he is part retriever, bringing home odd
gloves, hats and a nerf football as big as he is, all over a 6foot
fence. When that failed to get him the attention he wanted he started
to retrieve various wires and parts to projects off my bench so
eventually I had to make sure no small tools or parts were laying
out. He has now grown up enough and had enough pillows thrown and
water squirted at him that he does leave my bench alone now, and I
have finally recovered the last of the parts stolen and played with
until lost under various furniture. He does still once and a while
come home with miscellaneous clothing or an odd toy though. I don’t
remember reading in the description that 10 lb. Bengal cats were the
retrieving type. I imagine there are a few frustrated people missing
one glove/mitt though. :slight_smile:

Karen Bahr “the Rocklady” (rocklady@nucleus.com)
K.I.S. Creations
May your gems always sparkle.

From: Mary Beth Mudgett emailmb@mac.com

Hello All -

My computer had a little trouble this morning, (emails vanishing…)
and I wanted to reply to the recent posting that had not yet made it
to the archives - This was about a person who has a cat that is
moving items from the workshop to another area in the home - sort of
pack-rat type behavior.

My husband has worked extensively with animals and in animal
shelters. He tells me this is very common behavior for cats who are
pregnant. Sort of a nesting instinct. I don’t have your posting here,
so I could not see if you mentioned the gender of your little thief.
But if you have an un-fixed girl cat, it could be one possible
motivator. Or maybe kitty just likes the feel of those smooth cabs
in the mouth?. :o)

Cats are indeed funny - so many little odd things that they do keep
us entertained AND on our toes - especially the latter when we have
workshops! One of mine loves to swallow any string or cording whole,
no matter the length. (OH DEAR!!) And I’ve heard of a few that like
to eat pins.

Best to you and kitty,
Mary Beth

From: “mswearingen@juno.commswearingen@juno.com

Beth - I can totally relate to this one! I have to hang my earrings
where my cat can’t get to them, she has been known to carry them all
over the house. I thought I was losing my mind, and losing the items
myself until I caught her one day running down the hallway with an
earring hanging out of her mouth. I never found the mate to it
either. Good luck with your four footed thief! Mona in Hayward, CA

From: lorilochner mindbird@earthlink.net

My black and white female kitty whupper also has a collection
problem. She will seek out her prize in the studio (beads, earrings,
pony tail holders) and slink out of the room at a guilty trot to her
secret nest. She has put it together in her little mind that these
pieces I pour over in the studio must be precious!! Cute anecdote; I
had finished tumbling some pieces and was getting ready to patina
them, so they were laying on a paper towel in a heap by the sink. I
stepped out of the room and when I returned she was nesting the heap
of precious objects like a mother hen and chicks. She also enjoys
nesting my glasses on the sink while I take a shower. Apparently she
feels it is her job to contain and protect the “precious items”
while I am not able to. (cute) lori

From: Marilyn Smith mmsmith@internetmyway.com

I had a Siamese cat who liked to snooze on a pillow on a corner of
my bench. When he wanted attention, he would get up, put his ears
back and step over to the block that held my needle files. He would
daintily take one in his teeth, walk back to his cushion and drop
this over the side. This would be repeated until he was petted. I
miss him a great deal.

Marilyn Smith

Hi all,

This reminds me of a story my good friend from college told me, who
loves animals in a way that is more intense then most. Luckily, she
married a veterinarian and after several years of marriage and
dozens of animals later, she wanted a monkey! She got one from her
sweet animal loving husband, maybe a spider monkey. After several
months it, the monkey, gathered up a very large percentage of her
gold jewelry and anything with I guess they like shiny
objects, and it proceeded to hide everything somewhere where no human
could find it. Unfortunately, she has to this day found none of her
jewelry. In perspective, the cat isn’t so bad!

I have a cat, very tiny, 16 yrs old. She looks like a kitten and is
named Bete Noir. Yes, she is totally black and sports a red collar.
Although she doesn’t retrieve items, she does go upstairs and raises
havoc, running back and forth. When I tear upstairs to see what she
has done, I find her languishing on her cat condo, with one forearm
extended, like she hasn’t moved. The Bete (monster in French) is
completely appropriate.

When I had my studio in my basement, she used to come down an sit on
her chair and watch me work. Cats are like that. They sleep
soundly…with one eye open.


Karen Christians
50 Guinan St.
Waltham, MA 02451
Ph. 781/891-3854 Fax 3857
Jewelry/Metalarts School & Cooperative Studio

One of mine [cat] loves to swallow any string or cording whole, no
matter the length. 

To all who love their pets–PLEASE KEEP THREAD, STRING, AND CORDING
AWAY FROM THEM. We lost a beautiful cat because it ate thread. The
thread wrapped itself around inside the intestine and strangulated
it. Our vet treated the cat for all sorts of things, including renal
failure, and finally discovered that the thread was the culprit
behind her rapidly declining health. It was too late. The cat died
and we were left with vet bills of over a thousand dollars. We also
have a minature schnauzer dog. The dog got a quicker diagnosis and
was saved from death when it ate cording. It cost $1,500 in vet
fees, but at least we still have the dog.

Del Pearson of Designs of Eagle Creek in Beautiful South Texas,
where an unexpected storm tore up a few things yesterday, and we are
back to sunshine today.

Meet Rudy the Chain King, a fourteen-year-old orange Tom of
considerable size and affectionate disposition, whose larcenous
career began when he was teething as a kitten.

At the time, I was into chainmaking and had completed a particularly
good foxtail chain;nice,even links, good clasp, excellent
finish…Well, I hung it up on a peg above my bench overnight so
I could look at it in the harsh light of morning and see if it was
as good as I thought it was.

The following morning, the chain was gone! Vanished! Disappeared!
Nothing else was disturbed, and nobody at home professed any
knowledge of it. Two days later, it turned up in the
bathtub…mangled. My chagrin could only be expressed unprintably.
Holding the mutilated masterpiece at arms length I carried it back
to the bench to attempt a salvage operation. No sooner had the
chain hit the bench than an orange furball leaped up and seized it
in its teeth. Mystery solved.

It took days of work with modified dental tools and a drawplate to
make the chain wearable again, but it was never the same. However,
Rudy’s taste for silver had been born. From that day forward, if
anyone wearing a silver chain picked the cat up, he would try to
chew on the chain. Not gold, not white base metal…only silver.
Fortunately, maturity has helped him to understand what ‘no’ means,
and arthritis is inhibiting his leaping ability. But we still advise
overnight guests not to leave silver chains lying around.


It is really funny what cats will do. I have three, and only the
little girl is the thief. Mom and brother could care less! Now
brother is with me almost every time I’m on the computer - he is
overseeing what I’m doing right now. He is my “computer cat”, and
sends e-mails and creates bizarre translations with his paws. Really
quite odd. Mother just gets up on whatever the highest possible
surface is and oversees all of her underlings (which include the
humans in the family).

Thanks for the concern on liquids and string - I don’t leave either
out, so that is not a problem. But I have been leaving packets of
findings, or a cabs, etc., lying around for years - and the silly cat
has only now started stealing them! So I obviously have to re-do
both my storage and work environment and habits! I keep thinking I
have it all safely stowed, but every morning there is a new trail of
"goodies" up from the studio.

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Best wishes to all.
Beth in SC, being supervised by the computer cat

I have a Shih T’zu who is into petty larceny. I have some nice
pliers with teeth marks on the handles, he loves tools! I have to be
very careful in my basement studio because he’s always searching for
things to “borrow”. I had my dapping tool box out and open and had a
2" diameter steel bearing in the box; found it in the middle of the
family room. My previous Shih T’zu liked to hang out whenever a
repairman came to the house, he would steal small parts, nuts &
bolts and rubber gaskets.

My thief is the SIZE of a small cat, so maybe I can sneak this story
in :-} Tucker is my Norwich Terrier who’s been coming to the shop
with me since he was a pup. Several years ago I was sitting with an
older customer designing something for her with her old ring. She
had one of those oversize handbags which she placed on the floor,
with her ring box inside it. A little while later I noticed Tucker
moving v-e-r-y slowly away from us, head hung low… his tiny mouth
was filled with the ring box! The little sneak, I told the customer
that I hadn’t gotten him trained right yet - he’s supposed to take
the box with the jewelry IN it! We had a good laugh, but his days of
crime are over.


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One further note regarding the thread about cats in the studio, I
have had cats close at hand as studio mates my whole working career
(34 years). These years have been lucky, only one feline injury. A
little tuff of tail hair pulled out by the flex shaft. The most
remarkable feline studio assistant was Slick Rick. He grew up going
to the studio every morning and he had the routine down pat. I start
work at 6:00am. On some mornings I would be a little late, right at
6:00am Slick Rick would run repeatedly from the studio to the kitchen
where I was finishing breakfast and look at me in a panic as if to
say, “Hurry up momma we are late to work”. As soon as I walked down
stairs and picked up the tools he would find a spot to lie down to
rest and supervise.

Blessings to all of you,
Cathy Wheless

Hello Orchids,

I can only call what I am about to tell you “serendipitous”. I have
been reading (and giggling) the thread concerning pets in the studio
“collecting” things. I am a conservation biologist in real life,
and my office is often home to anything from squirrels, to small
primates, to cats. About three years ago I re-habbed a baby screech
owl–one of the best experiences of my life. Anyway, he flew free in
my office for almost a year, and when he was fully grown, adult, and
healthy, we released him. He often collected things from my desk and
work space–pens, film canisters, loose change, etc. Yesterday I was
cleaning out a bookshelf in my office and discovered my bead reamer
carefully hidded in the spin of a book on the top shelf–the book was
leaning, and the pages were loose. I drove myself nuts looking for
that thing when I assumed I had misplaced it two years ago. Now I
know exactly what happened. I also found hemostats and a wind up
plastic cat toy on the top shelf. I laughed until I cried.


Karen McGovern
Rare Species Conservatory Foundation


Nice story Cathy
Keeping up with the story of cats and jewelery, I had a customer in
one of the stores I worked in that came in to buy a single one carat
diamond stud to replace a “lost” piece. Seems her cat got ahold of
it and hid it. She would see the black cat come up from the basement
with the diamond sparkiling in its mouth. As soon as she or her
husband would get up to catch the thief the cat would dart away to
its hidding place. All attempts to catch the critter or find the
secret place have failed. She purchased the replacement in 1999 and
I saw her recently and the chase is still going on.


I don’t know if I should even tell this story but here goes.

You think that a cat stealing the odd diamond is a big problem? Ha!

I had a studio/ wood & metal shop in the boonies of British Columbia
about 32 years ago - It was not very fancy - a temporary venue until
I got the Real Thing built. The studio was in a large-ish old
garage-sized building. Rough and ready. There were exposed studs and
joists, exposed paper-backed fibreglas insulation, wood stove for
heat etc, but it was what I had. I also had a pack rat in the attic.
Pack rats love shiny things like, for example, jeweler’s pliers and
other small tools. They also like salty things like, for example,
the wooden handles of hammers and whatever else has soaked up a bit
of perspiration. And they like fibreglas insulation which they
carefully strip away from the paper backing and transport to the
attic where they make hay bale-sized nests out of it, nicely
furnished with all the things a pack rat needs like, for example,
needle-nosed pliers etc.

The beast’s thieving antics, the isolation, and my un-evolved
spiritual development at the time was maybe all getting me a little
crazy. While I worked I could hear the rat’s wee footsies scratching
on the other side of the insulation between the ceiling joists. I
could actually see the paper wiggling as he cruised along just above
my head, separated from Justice by only the thickness of the paper
vapour barrier. Resentful of his thievery, of the droppings on my
workbench, of the degradation of my insulation, I used the time that
a more balanced person might take for coffee breaks and I stalked him
with various deadly implements, striking at or piercing the vapour
barrier where I saw him move - until it was full of holes- but all
to no avail. He got away every time. Nor could a trap catch the wily

Skip to some months later when I was about to build a full-sized,
permanent, respectable workshop onto the small shop and move out of
the temporary quarters. There was a very large cottonwood tree next
to the old shop which was a menace. At least 3 feet diameter at
breast height. These trees are not long-lived themselves and, even
while still standing, have a habit of dropping heavy branches in
windstorms,or just at a whim. It had to go before I could risk
building the new shop under it. To make things even trickier, the
tree was leaning the wrong way, towards the old shop. Some
engineering was required.

Block and tackle was rigged high up the trunk and secured to sturdy
fir tree nearby so as to pull in the right direction - away from the
shop and building site. A pocket cut into the base of the tree and
a hydraulic jack readied to be inserted under the back-cut so as to
push in the right direction. Numerous wedges etc. The pickup truck
standing by with engine running and hooked up via a snatch block to
the block and tackle, keeping a good tension on the line and safely
out of the planned trajectory of the fall. Earnest young man sitting
in the pickup, ready to hit the gas and give the big pull when I
hollered “GO!” All was ready. I revved up the chainsaw. I made
the undercut. I started the back cut. In went the wedges. I made the
back cut deeper. In went the jack and I pumped like mad until I
thought the cylinder would burst. I beat the wedges deeper and
deeper, following the chainsaw bar into the tree. Deeper and deeper.
That tree did not want to budge. Finally when there was hardly a
hinge left on the stump it started to move. “GO!” I hollered and my
trusty helper popped the clutch, stalled the engine, jumped out of
the truck and ran for his life as I watched the cable go slack and
the tree majestically fall sideways right across the ridge of the old
shop. There was an ENORMOUS crash filled with sounds that the best
Hollywood sound-effects man would have a hard time orchestrating.
Breaking glass, splintering wood, the clatter of innumerable objects
within the shop falling and breaking. A great cloud of dust arose and
my poor wife came rushing out of the house, about 200 feet away,
sure that I must be dead. No such luck. I was untouched, if a bit
stunned, and I stepped into her line of sight to reassure her. The
trunk of the cottonwood fell across the shop roof, neatly separating
it along the ridge and each half of the roof had slid down off its
respective wall onto the ground. The crown of the tree reached
across and beyond the shop and, like a giant hand swatting a
mosquito, had utterly flattened my very new woodshed, so new that I
hadn’t even put any wood into it. Its aluminum roof, quite
expensive, was crumpled like an aluminum foil sandwich wrapper -
after lunch.

I slowly walked around the disaster, surveying the wreckage, and
there, thrown clear of it all, lying on his back, with a single
ruby-like drop of blood oozing out the corner of his mouth, lay the
pack rat - stone dead. " I GOT YOU, YOU #$%^&*&^%$ !" I hollered.
“I finally got you!” I never laughed so hard in my life.

Let me say that I and my shop and all my collection within it
survived better than I could have hoped for in those first moments of
shock. The new shop was built in good order and all was well in the
end. The only lingering after-effects of the disaster was that some
country wag had put the story about the Valley that I was some kind
of an expert at rodent control and so every once in a while some
victim of their wit would call me up to inquire innocently if I could
come and help them get rid of some mice, rats,or whatever. I learned
to ask whether they had a good chainsaw handy or should I bring my

By the way - I have 5 cats but I don’t let them in my shop. They
have their own drawbacks in the shop deportment department.

Marty in Victoria BC - where I still laugh.

Dear Marty, What a wonderful story and the way you told it reminded
me of an old time yarn spinner.

I was in Victoria last week and was hoping to meet other
silversmiths. I only met one and didn’t see a lot of jewelry. I don’t
know if we’ll be successful but my husband and I would like to move
to Victoria, or nearby. We’ve had flirtations with Canada before and
always seem to get “cold feet” - probably because we were considering
Toronto. Anyway, I’m wondering if there is any kind of jewelry
community there in Victoria? Are there classes or workshops? I have
only been doing this a couple of years and am just beginning to
assemble my workshop but wonder if there will be many obstacles for a
semi-beginner like myself. Obstacles might mean difficulty getting
supplies, problems with the exchange rate, and things I just can’t
imagine. If you have any advice, I would certainly appreciate
hearing it.

Thank you,