Many cats have an evil glint in their eye but his is Epic-sized
I should start this by pointing out that I am not a cat person. I like them, don’t get me wrong. We had feline family pets when I was growing up, and again when my kids were growing up, and they were beloved by all including me.
But I am a dog person. I always have been.
People change. Times change. Pets change. Now I have have cats. Plural, as in more than one cat. Zero dogs, and multiple cats. I think that makes me an honorary cat person. Or perhaps a better term would be “Indentured Cat Person”, in that it was not at all voluntary and yet is apparently a life sentence.
My cats have actual names but we figure those are their Human names, useful when dealing with us particularly at meal time, but in their internal cat-only communications they think of each other as Cat and Othercat. Or Othercat and Cat, depending on which is doing the thinking.
Cat and Othercat. Me and my Gamer Girl. Together we make four, and life is good.
My Gamer Girl and I are revamping our office. We live in a 200-year old plantation farm house with fourteen-foot ceilings, lovely unique woodwork, and generally antiquated infrastructure and accoutrements.
Part of the revamping process involved the removal and replacement of our HVAC return grates. For a few days there were holes where the grates go. My Gamer Girl was concerned: “can a cat get in there?” I gave things a cursory examination: there was a bunch of wood blocking my line of sight just inside the vent hole. Oh sure, I could have reached in and felt around to see if there was a way around the wood but I had wires to wire and many things to paint. I am a busy guy. “No, we’re good, no way for a cat to get in there”.
I sounded confident. But you already know what was going to happen, right?
Two nights ago my Gamer Girl and I are unwinding in front of a Netflix’d episode of something or other when we hear three loud “BAMs”. Really loud. What the? My Gamer Girl thinks someone is shooting guns nearby (this does happen a lot, I live in a very rural area), but it is late and dark and besides, the BAMs sounded sort of metallic?
BOOM BOOM BAM
It keeps going. I run outside, but now the booms are muted. I try the back of the house: BAM BAM. I am close but cannot see the source. My Gamer Girl is similarly running about and also similarly confused.
BOOM BOOM. BOOM BAM BAM BOOM!
Suddenly realization dawns: the sound is coming from beneath us; it is under the house. It is definitely metallic; it sounds like sheet metal flexing. Specifically like HVAC sheet metal. Like a duct.
Our eyes meet. We both know. “You said they couldn’t get in there!”
My cat is in the floor. I am busted.
It may not look like much but this is the gateway to Big Adventure
We knew which cat it was of course, one is dainty and pretty and likes to sit around looking cute. The other is an Adventure Cat, always looking for trouble except for those few moments where he is actively involved in being in trouble. Cat is asleep somewhere. Othercat is in the floor.
BOOM BAM BAM
I am at the grate. I can’t see anything, there is wood in the way. It is dark. I call him.
BAM BOOM BOOM
He comes when called, I believe this is unusual for a cat but he generally does. So does Othercat. Maybe they are both unusual? But regardless, he comes, and cat paws flit about in the bottom of the grate. He swats at my hand. He pokes his head up, looks me in the eye, then disappears back into the grate. He is playing.
BAM BAM, BOOM BOOM
It must have been scary for him at first. The noise is very loud (loud enough to mistake for gunfire!) and must be even louder inside the ductwork. But clearly he has gotten past that.
He is quickly at the other end of the house. He is running from one end of the duct to the other and back. Not in a panic. It is deliberate.
He is having a big adventure.
He is Walking Like Thunder.
BOOM BOOM. BAM BOOM BAM.
This goes on for awhile. I am contemplating just leaving out a plate of his food and going to bed; he’ll come out when he is ready. But my Gamer Girl is upset; he could run into nails or something in the dark. Or get stuck. Or some other bad thing could happen.
And it is my fault he is down there in the first place.
Cat no longer responds to my call, he is too busy Adventuring. He does come running when I dangle one of his cat toys down into the duct and jingle it about. More fun for him! But no luck coaxing him out.
Experimenting, I learn that I can get part of my arm and hand about a foot into the duct if I lay flat on the floor, on my back, and work it in. It is horribly uncomfortable, but I am able to feel Cat; he brushes against my hand playfully and then is off again.
BAM BAM BAM – another lap on the Thundercat Raceway.
I have the bright idea of holding a cat treat in my hand – he comes running again, but doesn’t take the treat. I accidentally drop it and he goes for it; I am able to take advantage of the momentary stability in Cat Posture to get a grip on the scruff of his neck.
Foiled! Or more accurately, screened! No Big Adventure today
He doesn’t easily fit on the way out; I am not sure he could have made it on his own. It is awkward and I have to grab him in places he normally does not like being grabbed. Nonetheless he remains limply cooperative and soon his Big Adventure is over. He is spent, and I am too. We lay there, me on my back on the floor, Cat strung limply across my chest. But he is out of the floor.
So this is life with cats. I miss my Shaggydog, I remain a dog person. But this is interesting too.
Different. But interesting. I could do a lot worse.
🙂 😀 🙂