Monday, July 28, 2008

The Cat and the Kitten

We have two cats. Cat appeared on our door step over 11 years ago. It was a cold winter day, and I heard a cat crying. I opened the door and looked outside, and there, sitting by the picnic table on the porch, was a little kitten. I asked him what he was doing, and he came running through the open door. We’d been chosen. Cat is a very affectionate neutered male, and other than some hairballs, is very easy and pleasant. He has mellowed with age, though he still likes playing through the spindles on the stairs when we go up or down.

Then there is Kitten. Kitten was Daughter’s graduation present. Cat and I weren’t thrilled. Kitten likes to wrestle with Cat. She’s been known to push him aside to get to the food first. There are times when she won’t share the cat bed in the window. She’s also young, energetic, and very curious. I don’t know how many times she’s gone exploring in the basement, which is behind a door that is generally closed. I have learned to ignore her escapes into the basement. She will come crying at the door at some point, and eventually I will let her out, though I don’t tend to be in a hurry about it.

As I was waking up on Sunday morning, I was aware of Cat sleeping contentedly at my feet. As I began to stir, he stayed still. (Kitten sees any movement as an invitation to attack and bite your feet.) Finally, I took off my cpap head gear and reached over and turned off the machine. Cat immediately came up and stood by my side, seeking to have his ears scratched. I complied, trying to figure out which of us had been trained—Cat, to wait until I was moving, or me, to scratch behind his ears. As I stood and headed for the bathroom, Cat trotted ahead of me, looking back once to make sure I was following. Once I entered the bathroom, he looked up at the counter. He wanted the water turned on to a slow drip. I complied.

I became aware of a meowing from somewhere, and realized that Kitten had not appeared to disrupt the quiet companionship that Cat and I were enjoying. Kitten had obviously gotten herself locked in somewhere. I opened the guest room door. Nothing. I opened Daughter’s closet door. No Kitten. I came downstairs and opened the basement door. Nothing. I realized that the noise was louder upstairs. I woke up Daughter and told her that Kitten had gotten herself in trouble again.

Daughter got out of bed and took up the search. I tried to help her figure out where she might be. I asked Daughter if she’d been in the attic on Saturday, but she hadn’t. Finally, she opened the linen cupboard. Our house is over 100 years old, and we have this beautiful old linen cupboard with two huge drawers on the bottom and shelves that go to the ceiling on top. The shelves are flush with the door, and somehow when Daughter had it open to get clean sheets for her bed, Kitten had jumped up into the cupboard. She’d been there for over 16 hours, trapped on one shelf. Today I’ll have to figure out which shelf is now full of cat hair.

Once freed, Kitten made a beeline to the kitchen for her food and water, and then literally bounced off the walls downstairs for a while. She had a wrestling match with the runner in the hall, chased a toy mouse, and was so rambunctious that Cat vanished to avoid being attacked by her. Once she had some of her energy out, she came in and perched herself on my desk in the study. She studied the revolving ceiling fan, trying to figure out how to attack it. Fortunately, she decided against it.

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