The Power of the Cat
I usually avoid blogging about my cats (Claire and Sylvia). I introduced them in New Beginnings, and shared a couple of anecdotes about them (in Oh, To Be a Cat and My Precious Ponies), but I don’t want to bore people with endless stories about how adorable, wonderful, and full of surprises they are. After all, this isn’t a blog about cats, it’s a blog about (my) life on the other side of 55. But I’m going to make an exception this week because one of the little darlings did something the other day that both astounded and impressed me, and I feel compelled to share it!
We have a ‘perfect’ family of dogs in our living room (papa Narf, mama Santana, baby Floyd). They don’t bark, shed, or need to be walked – because they’re stuffed (there’s a whole story behind how and why we have a family of stuffed dogs in our living room, but I’m not going to go into that here). The cats have generally ignored the dogs, since they don’t ‘smell’ like real dogs and, therefore, aren’t perceived as being any kind of threat; they treat them pretty much like just another piece of ‘furniture’. But then this past week Claire suddenly took an interest in the ‘mother’ dog, Santana. She’s a ‘floppy’ dog, about two feet long, and quite soft; the cat apparently decided she’d make a nice sleeping companion. She pushed her way in between the tight-knit little family of dogs, curled up beside Santana, had a little wash, and went to sleep. Naturally (because it was so adorable), I took pictures:
The next day, she pushed Santana a little farther away from the rest of her family, and spent the entire afternoon snuggled up next to her. By Thursday, she had the dog halfway across the living room, and was not only sleeping beside her, but on top of her as well. I mean, how cute is that?
Then, on Friday morning, I came out to make my tea and discovered that Santana was missing. She wasn’t where Claire (and I) had left her the night before (sprawled in the middle of the living room), she wasn’t behind the coffee table or under my desk (which is in the adjacent dining room), or pushed into a corner somewhere. She was GONE. I asked my husband what he’d done with her. He denied having touched the dog. I was flummoxed – where had she gone? Then a small, niggling possibility came to mind.
When I brought the cats home from the shelter (back in November), I let them out of their cages in the ‘bonus’ room in the basement (we’ve always called it ‘the exercise room’ because it’s where my treadmill and stationary bike are located – although there isn’t a lot of exercising that goes on down there). For almost two weeks, the kittens stayed in that room – not because they weren’t allowed out (the door was open and they had full access to both the downstairs family room and the entire upper level of the house), but because to them it must have seemed like the biggest space in the world (having spent the first 5 months of their lives in a cage, you can just imagine how enormous a 25’ x 16’ room – plus the curtained off crawlspace under the stairs that we dubbed ‘Claire and Sylvia’s Playroom’ – must have seemed). Even after they ventured out – and now that the whole house is their ‘playground’ – they still spend a lot of time in that room. Their litter boxes are at one end, their food and water dishes at the other; there’s a wicker couch and chair for sleeping on; there’s lot of nooks and crannies to explore (especially under the stairs); there’s a scratching post and a whole basket full of cat toys for their enjoyment. Over the past few months they’ve gotten into the habit of taking their toys down to ‘their’ room during the night (I select a half dozen or so each day to bring back upstairs; inevitably, they’re back in the basement by the next morning).
Could Claire possibly have taken Santana downstairs during the night? To have accomplished such a feat would have meant she’d dragged the dog (that’s more than twice her size, and about 20% of her weight) approximately 20 feet along the upstairs hall, down 6 steps (into the front foyer), around a 90 degree turn, down another 8 steps (to the family room), around another 90 degree+ turn, and 16 or so feet down the basement hall and into ‘their’ room. I didn’t believe it was possible, but clearly there was only one way to find out. Down I went (camera in hand – just in case). Sure enough – there was Santana, lying upside down a couple of feet inside the doorway to ‘the cat’s room’. Claire obviously had ‘claimed’ the dog as her own and taken her to ‘her’ room. (I have since returned the dog to the living room and am considering installing surveillance cameras in case she does it again! I really would like to see how she managed it.)
As I get older, there are times when I begin to think I’ve just about seen it all. Then something like this happens and I realize I’ve only just begun to experience life on … the other side of 55.