Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Cat Check!

It's 3:00 AM in the morning -- do you know where all of your Cats are?


I wake up worried. Taking Sammy out last night for his usual pre-bedtime business, I can't remember hearing the kitchen screen door latch behind me (it's like that, I've caught Lenny out the door when we came back one time). Did it do the same thing last night, or not? Maybe (I think), Lenny has gotten out along with one of the other cats for some kind of midnight skulking run. Maybe not. Maybe he's out stealing a car or something.

I know cats don't easily steal cars, but Lenny has been capable of some surprising feats of ingenuity. I clear my head. Now I know I'm losing it. Lenny really isn't capable of such things, he's pretty dumb, even for a cat. Still, maybe he's out under the wheels of a car in the street.

Now there's what I'm worried about. It's time for a 3:00 AM cat-spot-check. Hopefully I can count on my brain being able to count in a groggy fog.

First stop, the kitchen. There's Mister -- stray, God-knows how old. Tenacious. A fighter in a gentleman's smoking jacket. Orange. Tabby. He wouldn't mind if I fed him right now, he let's me know. There are some cans of food on the table there. How he does this without talking escapes me. I skip the urge to feed him -- not just because I'm worried about the other cats. I skip the urge mainly because canned food makes me want to barf. Besides, Mister is in the kitchen, which means he's not out hot-wiring the neighbors Malibu or worse, checking the tread under the right front tire...

One down, 4 more to go. I turn on the kitchen light.

I missed it stepping into the Kitchen -- I walked right over Jet. Jet -- black. Male. Spayed, yet somehow always attempting to hump things like blankets and other male cats in the household. Wild-eyed rat (another description of Jet, although I wouldn't rule rats out of the picture, if they emerge anywhere in this house, they're toast). Jet was sleeping on the step into the kitchen, and I walked right over him.

Two down, 3 more to go. I go back into the dining room. Lenny emerges, groggy, from under one of our covered chairs.

Lenny. Obese. Friendly. Afraid of his own shadow. This is the main reason I worry about him out on midnight car-stealing-or-tire-tread-checking runs. He's one of the few cats in the house with any kind of actual offensive gear. Lenny doesn't tend to claw things, so we left him with the front gear in-tact. He's not likely to claw much given the fact that when the decision if fight or flight, the former is always dropped for the latter.

For a fat guy, he's surprisingly quick -- and always the first one to blow outta the room at the slightest cause or hint of impending catastrophe. You know?, things like loud noises. Unexpected glass breakage. The dog breaking wind -- anything that might signal the end of the world, life as we know it, or impending cat-hair mussing. They all seem to have the same weight in his mind and the same effect on him. "Hey, it's worked so far"!, he seems to say. I suppress the urge to cough. If I cough now, Lenny might shoot out of the room and that would disturb the dogs' sleep.

Three down, 2 to go.

I go upstairs. Maybe one of the cats is in lurk-mode in Tim's old room. I find Squeak sitting in an easy chair.

Squeak. Version 1.0 naming had Squeak pegged for a "Lilly". Since holding her is akin to holding a ball of barbed wire that makes strange little high-pitched grunting noises, the name was dropped in favor of version 2.0 conventions. Squeak was the only thing that fit.

That's 4 out of 5. I go back downstairs when I'm sure Pretty-boy is not up there.

Pretty-boy is sitting groggy in the middle of the Living room floor looking disgusted. What am I doing up at 3 AM? Why must I disturb his sleep like this? Can I give him a back rub, at least? No? What kind of person am I?

Pretty-boy. Gray. Fluffy. The only cat that doesn't eat canned food in the house. Long-haired ... something. Pretty-boy (version 1.0 naming -- Starlight) gets the name from the fact that constant grooming and some kind of attention to detail project the persona of a guy that cannot have his fur mussed. Ever. Pretty-boy comes to me the most for attention in the house. I'm not sure why, but it makes me nervous. He's in the living room, which means he's not outside, which means that they're all present, and accounted for, which means I can get some sleep, finally. I go back to bed.

I dream of the police fishing my neighbors cat-wired Chevy out of a ditch somewhere. Lenny taking mug-shots at the local police station. Paw-prints in ink. The "you're allowed one phone call, pal" quote. The phone rings. It's the heat. My cat is in the slammer.

Okay, I did make that last part up. But the rest of it's true :) I swear.


ackmac said...

Is it me; while trying to remark about too many cats, the comment is rejected while using Firefox. You two better slow down on the stray cat adoption if it keeps you up all hours of night with worry! Alright, after reviewing the source and noticing nothing proprietary, I'm in with Firefox on the third try.

FeriCyde said...

I'm in FF right now -- seems ok, and your comment says yes, it works too :)

On the stray cat adoption, I have a strick house rule -- no more than 2 cats. Period.

So, we're at 250% capacity at the moment, and holding...