Greetings, WYMOP readers!
I just spent a week in Colorado, visiting someone. Now I hadn’t been to visit in a while, and since I’d last been out there had been a little addition to the family. Little Cat—not her name, but close enough—was just that: a little cat. There are other cats about (it is a five feline family), including Big Cat. Also not his name, but also close enough. Big Cat had always been a little bit of a bully, stalking and casually terrorizing the others: Jumpy Cat, Happy Cat, and Jet Black Cat.
No. Not their names. Are we seeing trend?
Anyway, that had always been the social pyramid: Big Cat on top, everyone else—including any humans, resident or visitor—piled higgledy-piggledy below. And then . . .
I hadn’t been there ten minutes—just time to say hi to all the feline folk living in the house—when I heard the rolling thunder of a tiny stampede. I looked up just in time to see Big Cat come rumbling down the hall under a full head of steam, eyes a bit wild. Loping easily along after him came Little Cat, looking just a bit like Pepé Le Pew skipping after his reluctant amour.
What the hell? I thought, then was shocked to see a scene straight out of Animal Planet: the smaller, quicker hunter reached out with two little paws to grip the larger prey’s haunches and give a quick twist, turning flight into a fall, retreat into a roll, and a tear into a tumble. In an instant, the chase degenerated into a ball of hissing, spitting, feline fury—with Big Cat on his back, trying to defend himself from the flurry of lightning-fast slaps Little Cat was raining down like the other fuzzball had called her mother a rude name!
They separated after about a second and a half of faster fighting than I could make out with the naked eye, and I realized that the noise—the aforementioned hissing and spitting—had all come from Big Cat. Little Cat had gone about the beatdown with an intimidating amount of silent intensity. Big Cat sat there making a low rumble you never hear cats make in cartoons—think panther in a 1940’s Tarzan flick—while Little Cat simply stared back from a foot and a half away, unfazed, unimpressed, and definitely unintimidated.
“What the hell, Big Cat,” I said, managing to get their attention off each other for the moment. “You’re like four times her size. Why don’t you just swat her down?”
His only response was to stalk slowly away, head and tail high—the latter, undoubtedly, to show me exactly what he thought of me. Little Cat just stared up at me, her great big kitten eyes offering a “Who, me?” expression that almost convinced me I‘d been mistaken and hadn’t seen what I thought I’d seen.
“What the hell?” I said again.
The next morning I was cleaning up after breakfast, and collected all the cat dishes from the floor to give them a good washing: five ceramic salvers in one short stack. The stack clanked with each new addition, and as I straightened to take them to the kitchen I saw Little Cat coming at a trot. Obviously responding to the sound of food, her eyes were fixed on the plates in my hands.
“No second breakfast today,” I said, and stepped across the hall to the kitchen.
At least, that was my intention.
“No second breakfast tod—” I said, as Little Cat, deciding instead to swerve right past me, darted under my foot in a gray-and-white blur. I saw where she was going and tried to compensate, just as she saw where I was stepping and tried to duck. Individually we may have been right, but together we were very wrong: my bare foot came down on a warm, squishy package with all of my weight.
There was a squeal of pain as I tried to shift my weight from that foot, lifting it before the other was planted and staggering sideways. It is a scientific fact that repeatedly shouting the F-word helps in this situations, and believe me, I took full advantage of that help. I fetched my elbow a sharp whack against the counter, then used said counter to brace myself as the stagger tried to upgrade to a sprawl. I managed to get the plate stack onto the counter . . . then looked at my foot.
“Oh, what the . . .”
It turned out that squeal of pain I mentioned above had been all mine as Little Cat somehow managed, in much less than a second, to claw my foot open from ankle to toe. As I squatted in the kitchen, trying to clean my new wound and wipe the blood off the floor, Little Cat strolled into the doorway and took a seat, offering me the now-familiar “Who, me?” expression.
“What the hell, Little Cat?” I said, then caught a pair of eyes watching me from over her shoulder. Behind her, just as prim and proper as you please, sat Big Cat, and he wore an expression that gave me pause. You see, I’m more of a dog person. Dogs may smile, and dogs may look ashamed, and some may even have a “Who, me?” expression to rival that of the tiny terror sitting innocently before me; but no one—and I mean no one—can look as smug as a cat.
Talk to you later!