Friday, September 13, 2013

Black Cats and Friday the 13th

Some very moderate swearing in this post; I think you’ll find it warranted, though.


This is what happens when you forget the date, and don’t keep your guard up.

My day started early.  Too early.  McKenna woke me a little after 4:30 am by jumping up on the bed, running across my legs and heading straight for my nightstand.  Among other tippable items thereupon, my small lamp has a feather butterfly on the shade that she thinks is prey.  So I woke myself enough to haul her little kitty ass off the nightstand, pulling her back next to me on the bed.  She sat purring for a few minutes, but eventually crept away, and I drifted back to sleep.

By the fourth time I had to pull her off the nightstand, I was irritatedly tossing her to the floor.  Finally, I went ahead and admitted sleep was a lost cause, giving up the last precious half an hour I was due.  Leaving Miss Chef slumbering away, I shuffled groggily into the bathroom.

Now keep in mind, the bathroom door is about four feet from Mss Chef’s side of the bed.  While I was in there getting ready to shower, McKenna was playing outside the door with a hair tie, sticking her little paws underneath and occasionally slamming her body against the door.  Worried she might wake Miss Chef, I turned off the brightest lights, and opened the door a tad to let the cat in.  This is a regular routine; normally she’ll come in, play on the floor and meow at me when I come out of the shower.  Not today.  After she’d come through the doorway and it started to close behind her, she turned around and squeezed back out into the bedroom.

Fine, I thought.  I’m quite happy to shower alone, thank you very much.  So I proceeded to get cleaned up and dressed, before heading back through the bedroom, closely accompanied by both dog and cat. 

As I came into the living room, my nose picked up a distinctly unpleasant odor.  Great, somebody had left us a fecal deposit somewhere, sometime in the night.  But Rosie was doing her desperate dancing, snorting, I-get-to-pee routine, so I took her outside first, into the twilight of a half hour’s lost sleep.

Since McKenna is always trying to sneak out the door, I went all the way outside with Rosie, standing on our little concrete pathway in my bare feet while she decided on this morning’s toilet area.  When we headed back in, I performed my usual bend-over-the-dog-with-a-hand-out maneuver, but the doorway was so dark, and our pets are so black, McKenna was able to shoot out past both of us and trot alertly into the yard.

She had done this a few times before, so I was not surprised to see her turn right and scoot under the cars in the driveway.  I followed her, crouching down and calling her name.  She came toward me, trilling in her endearingly friendly way, and then cruised right on by, to the very bottom of the driveway.

“Shit!” I said to myself, as I jogged to follow after her in the shallow gutter along the edge of the road.   In fact, I said it several times, because McKenna just kept going.  Past our neighbor Linda’s driveway, she continued her swivel-headed explorations.  At some point it dawned on me that I was running barefoot down the street with no idea where I was headed.  I hesitated, wondering if I should go get some shoes, but I’d gotten this far without stepping on anything painful and I didn’t want to lose sight of the damn cat. I said a little prayer of thanks that our neighborhood is so clean, and considered myself committed to the chase.

A minute later, I found myself in the driveway of the next neighbor over—whom I’ve never met—crouching down behind their car parked next to the garage.  Finally, FINALLY, the godamn cat stopped to investigate a clump of something that looked like dried grass, but might have been a desiccated bird for all I know.  Carefully, slowly, I reached out and grabbed her by the collar, a little disappointed that she didn’t even react to my stealthy attack. 

Thanking providence that I only had two houses’ worth of terrain to cross in my bare feet, I clutched a compliant McKenna in my arms and began the march back home.  I considered that the prisoner might begin to struggle as she realized she was headed back indoors, but I was resolved to withstand any amount of scratching to avoid a repeat of that morning’s run.  Fortunately, McKenna decided that the morning’s outing was sufficient entertainment for the moment, and there was minimal scuffling as I struggled to open the door and get past Rosie with both arms still firmly grasping my furry prize. 

I would like to point out that I resisted tossing her into the middle of the living room, and instead dropped her easily on the back of the armchair near the door.

Now I could focus on the next hunt, the one for the source of that foul odor I had noticed earlier.  Following my nose, I soon discovered that at some point McKenna had decided to retry a bathroom area she’d used over the weekend, behind a small love seat in our office.  Fortunately, having learned from Rosie that “once a toilet, always a toilet,” we’d left a garbage bag laid out there just in case.  Thank goodness, because I was rapidly running through that extra half hour I’d been gifted.

I opened the front hall closet to get a plastic bag to stuff the whole mess in, and McKenna, ever ready for adventure, climbed in over the toolbox.  “Oh, you want to go in there now?  Okay, stay in there,” I taunted her, and closed the door.  She didn’t make a peep as I bagged up her deposit, headed out to the trash can, and came back in to feed the dog.  As I scraped food into Rosie’s bowl, I heard a few plaintive meows, but I was too busy and pissed off to care. 

By the time Rosie was slurping happily away—without a cat attacking her tail for once—the meowing had paused.  I walked calmly to the closet door and opened it, to find McKenna standing adroitly atop the box of various tape rolls.  She looked at me curiously, poked her nose out the door, then stepped back in, taking another look around in case she might have missed something.  “Fine,” I said, closed the door again and walked away. 

It felt good.

Really good. 

How often do you get the better of a goddamn pain in the ass cat?

Don’t worry, I went back a minute later and let her out.  But it’s a good thing that when I finally gathered my things and headed out the door for work, she didn’t try to leave with me.  My usual gentle shove of the foot might have involved a bit more force than necessary.

Update:  Thanks to Miriam for the link she shared in the comments to my last post.  It is even more applicable to this post!  Click here to watch.


  1. Comparatively my morning was a walk in the park. Can't wait to hear how Saturday goes!

    1. It started early, but I let the dog out the back door to confuse McKenna. I suspect that trick won't last long.

  2. My kitty used to know when I opened a door, cabinet or otherwise no matter where she was. Zoom, right into the closet/cabinet she'd go. Boy did it irk me.

    1. Usually if I wander into another room, curiosity will compel her to follow. But if she's happy locked up in a closet, I'm not about to complain!

  3. I have to say that I read this with a smile on my face. So you decided to exercice before going to work??? It takes a lot of patience with cats.

    Hope the rest of your day went OK!

  4. I feel your pain . . . times four ...

    Little hint for Missy there - if you have a room with a door near your outside door (for us it's our half-bath), stick her in there while you let Rosie in and out.

    If you don't have a suitable room, I have no other advice, sorry :) Just try to see the cuteness in it and know that the expression "it's like trying to herd cats" - meaning something is well nigh impossible - is truly based in fact.

    1. That closet is right next to the door. I might try it on Monday!

    2. Another useful tip - if you let her in there (or put her in), remember to let her out ... nothing quite like kitty pee in carpet, or any flooring for that matter where there are crevices, and/or a starving cat at the end of the day. Don't ask me how I know about the kitty pee. Use your imagination.


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