Life in a Cat house

Stan Johnson - Life in a Cat House




Early one morning last week, I was awake but still in bed, reading a book.

Suddenly, the quiet of pre-dawn was broken by a loud bump, bump, bump followed by a thump. I knew without looking what it was, but I looked anyway because I always do. Our cat Skittles was bounding across the bedroom floor for about 10 feet and then making a high leap to pounce on her prey. Upon landing, she would spin around and do it again in the opposite direction. She must have made a dozen or more trips in each direction.

What always puzzles me when she does that is there is nothing for her to be jumping on. At least nothing I can see. Her target is only visible, and apparently only exists, in her little kitty mind.

Our other cat, Ozrow, does the same thing occasionally, but he is more prone to slink down on his tummy and slither toward his objective, making a final short leap at the end. He usually has something to stalk, although it may be no more than a piece of lint on the floor. The only time he doesn’t have something in sight is when he stalks monsters in the floor vents. Even then, it’s possible there is a bug or something in the duct work.

That’s not the only way they differ. Ozrow sits motionless and stares at one spot, sometimes for minutes at a time. He especially does that when he is outside, sitting in the yard. He’ll lock in on something far away. I have read that cats don’t see well at a distance, so maybe he is trying to figure out what something is that is beyond his vision.

On days he is indoors, if the sun is out but it’s too cold to leave the house, he will look out a window the same way. He normally has a short attention span and those are usually the only times he doesn’t quickly forget what he was doing.

Skittles seldom zeros in on one object for more than a few seconds. Most of the time, her head is constantly turning, scanning the room indoors or the woods and surrounding area if she is outside. She is afraid of almost everything and I think she is trying to be sure nothing is sneaking up on her.

When they wake up in the morning, Ozrow has to stop and stretch and sort of gear up for the day. Skittles often hits the floor running. It’s chasing after Skittles that often gets Ozrow moving. Once awake, he is more active than she is; it just takes him a while to build up to movement beyond a stroll to the food dish or to the door to be let outside.

Just like people, cats come with a variety of personalities, quirks, habits and lifestyles. Living with cats would not be nearly as much fun for people if cats were all alike. In some ways they are alike, but all of them are different, too. It’s all those differences that make cats unique and interesting to be around.

When you take in a tiny kitten, you never know what you will have when the kitten becomes an adult cat. All you can know for sure is it will grow into something different than any you have ever known.



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