Ever have one of those days? You know the type. You wake in the morning and that little voice whispers, “Go back to bed. Go back to bed or you’ll be soorrryyy.” Let me tell you of a recent experience of mine. I woke up from my peaceful slumber and forgot that I had fallen asleep atop the bookcase. I stretched my back legs out, then reached my front paws up and back. And fell off the bookcase. That thing about cats always landing on their feet? Mostly true. Landed on my feet, but also landed on my stomach. And my face. Got up, shook myself off, licked a few errant hairs back into place and walked to my food bowl.
Now, as you know, I am a cat of sophisticated tastes. I enjoy a nice fillet of salmon, or a lightly grilled ahi tuna steak. Baked chicken with the skin nice and crisp, veggies sauteed slightly. Yummm-mmeee! However, in my bowl, to my dismay…nothing. And it is Saturday morning. No Sarah until Monday. No Dr Deb until Monday. No anybody until Monday. Now, before you get too upset with my girls, there is a bowl of kibble in the small dog ward. However, that would require me to walk all the way back there, then jump up onto the counter, and finally up onto the bank of kennels. Not something I am interested in doing. Unless I must.
I wandered over to the water dish. It was full, thankfully. I drank a bit and then curled up in a pile of clean laundry that had been left, neatly folded in the basket. It smelled delightful. And so soft. And low to the ground, so no fear of falling off or out. I was just about to drift off when my ears heard a faint scritching noise. I lifted my head and looked toward the x-ray development room. The noise stopped. I lowered my head again and curled my tail around my nose. Sighed deeply and contentedly.
“scritch, scritch, scratch”
Again? Ugh. Now, I need to go investigate. Once is my imagination, but twice? Any self-respecting curiosity curator knows that twice is too much to bear. I sat up in my basket and cocked my head toward the sound. I sniffed the air and detected a faint eau ‘de souris. Then it faded. A quandry. Twice, the scritching noise. But only once the aroma. Countered by the temptation of remaining warm and comfortable in the bed of my own making. I sighed. It was cold and raining outside my window. It was warm and dim in my room. Even warmer ensconced within the blankets. Once more I lowered my head onto my paws and curled my tail around. Finally I was able to sleep.
Twitching. Sniffling. Scritching. Tickling.
What on earth! I startled awake, rudely drawn from my slumber by the sensation of a feather beneath my nose. I raised my head and stared straight into the face of a marauding creature, who dared breach the top of my pannier. We stared at one another for a moment. Then, quick as a flash, he was gone.
“Oh, no you don’t”, I thought to myself as I sprang from the pile of laundry. I lept over the side of the basket and was brought up short. My front paws barely touched the floor. One hind leg scrabbled for purchase in the air, the other tightly held by the truss of blankets wrapped around my extremity. I pulled and stretched myself forward.
And found myself at the bottom of a very large, somewhat heavy pile of blankets. My leg was free however, and so I wormed my way out from under the pile. Into the side of the basket. Which had turned upside down in my struggle to unhitch myself. And now held me captive within its plastic boundary. I tapped it with my paw. I pushed at it with the top of my head. It moved ever so slightly. I pushed again. It slid a few centimeters across the floor. I began working my way around the perimeter, looking for weakness.
Ah-HA! I spied a break in the imprisoning wall. Some of the blankets had piled up as it tipped and the edge of the basket was cocked up at the slightest of angles. With cat-like precision, I aimed for the center of the pile and managed to wriggle free. I breathed the clean air of freedom, shook off the shackles of imprisonment, and smoothed the ruffled edges of my fur.
As I finished with my impromptu bath, a shadow danced in the corner. Suddenly, it all came back to me. The twitching, the sniffling, the scritching, the marauding. The creature. Small and lithe, its beady little eyes stared at me from the corner, shadowed beneath the storage shelves. Sinister being, be gone! I growled at it. It stared back, nose twitching, eyes darting back and forth, otherwise not moving.
I took a small step forward. Stillness from the corner. Another step. A slight twitch from my opponent. Yet another step, with a low murmur of a growl. Cheeky little thing continued to stare at me from the corner. Only his whiskers moved. I tensed, coiled, ready to strike. I breathed in, out, in…and lept through the air, covering the last few feet between myself and my nemesis. And, true to the day I was having, crashed face-first into the corner, having misjudged the distance between my foe and myself.
I shook my head to clear it. Looked down. Gone.
Slowly I turned. There, beneath the table, crouching under the edge of the cabinet below. Cowering. Or laughing? No, cowering, most certainly.
“I have you now”, I growled. Slung low to the ground I crept forward, barely moving.
I watched my opponent, gauging both the distance between us and his reaction as I approached. Anticipating the direction in which he would attempt to escape. Slowly, inch by inch, I closed the gap between us. I stopped, mere millimeters separating us. I tensed, coiled, ready to strike. A twitch from beneath the cabinet. A slight scritch. I readied myself for the attack. With a mighty growl, I launched myself across the floor.
And landed in a heap at the base of the bookshelf atop which I had been sleeping.
I shook myself, from head to tail, trying to clear my mind. I blinked slowly as I took in my surroundings. I shook my head again, realizing it had been a dream. A crazy dream. I breathed a sigh of relief. And let out a small laugh as I saw my bowl was full of my most favorite food. I crouched, coiled, ready to strike.
That bowl of food never knew what hit it.