The Dreams of an Everyday Housecat
The basic dream of every indoor cat is to become an outdoor cat. I can remember Shadow-cat sitting for hours by the patio door, gazing out, obviously fantasizing about hunting small game—or possibly even large game, being an ambitious cat. My two like to do the same, or to perch atop the bureau, gazing out the window, perhaps imagining that the swimming pool is actually a koi pond teeming with fat carp.
But lately they have been doing something about it.
Since the weather has turned cooler, the outdoors holds even more appeal for them. For some reason they don’t try to go out the patio door—perhaps because free-roaming neighborhood cats have marked it for their own—but they’ve been making a dash for it out the front door whenever possible. When I am trying to manage my cane, an armload of mail, trash going out, or groceries coming in, they have both time and space to pop out the door before I can grab them. They have even taken to tag-teaming me; Sethra dashes out; and when I grab her and open the door to pop her back in, Aliera pops out.
But I have finally outwitted them. Yes, I am proud to proclaim that I am smarter than two cats put together. As I mentioned in an earlier post, they are fascinated with the bathroom; so all I have to do is to leave the door open and Sethra strolls in. (Since Aliera perches atop a box by the front door when planning her dash for freedom, she’s easier to block; as long as Sethra is confined, I can manage her.) I then close the door and go for the mail, groceries, trash, whatever. It works perfectly, as long as I don’t grab a fluffy tail by mistake for the Charmin, and I remember to let her out again.
Perhaps as a form of protest, Aliera has decided to live more or less permanently under my bed. This is trickier than it sounds, because I have a captain’s bed, with drawers underneath, so there isn’t much space under there. I don’t know how a full-grown cat fits—perhaps she just hangs out under the headboard. I also have one of those SelectComfort inflatable Sleep Number mattresses, which means it rests directly on the board on top of the drawers, with no separate box spring. This in turn means that it tends to slide sideways—I am a restless sleeper—leaving a cat-sized gap in the right-hand top corner. When I look down there, I see this sweet little face peering out. Every so often she emerges for refreshments, a petting session, and (I devoutly hope) a visit to the litter box. Sethra occasionally drops by to poke her head and forepaws in to whop her sister a few times.
I imagine that she lives a very active fantasy life down there. Perhaps she imagines she’s a cloistered nun—a Little Sister of St. Bast Beneath-the-Bed—praying devoutly for world peace and fresh tuna. Perhaps she sees herself as someone more adventurous, from a Dumas novel—the Cat in the Iron Mask, or even the Cat of Monte Cristo—to emerge one day (when it’s warmer) to get revenge on all her foes (i.e., Sethra and me).
As for Sethra, I don’t think she has that much imagination, being the bimbo cat. And the only reading matter I plan to provide for her is a manual on Proper Tail Maintenance for Fluffy Cats.