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My boyfriend's cat did this when I first came to stay with him as well, and there's actually quite a thick layer of fur on the top now, accumulating whenever it comes out and somehow not rubbing off inside the airplane. The suitcase has caused us to develop the Theory of Cat-Shaped Objects.

It goes as follows: Cats like sitting on things that are approximately their size and shape, maybe a little larger for snuggling in but not too much bigger.

Objects found cat-shaped and desireable by test subject Angelique:

Cat bed (duh)
Scratching post on floor
TiVo (not connected--no heat)
TiVo packaging (on top of and inside)
single piece of white paper
plastic shopping bag, empty
length of hallway wall that is angelique's length
chair (all)
file box
Playstation 2 (old model w/hard drive bay)

This is hardly an exhaustive list, and her willingness to occupy an object at great length seems to be correlated with how much she can snooze on it. ie, she just sits on the subwoofer and glowers, but she can curl up on the shopping bag. She will usually migrate to a new cat-shaped object within minutes of placement within her reach, and occupy it for a period of time regardless of added comfort benefits (piece of white paper).

I would be interested to see if your test subject has similar inclinations.

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