I didn’t turn the light on in the entryway. Soft light escaping from the kitchen and office let me to see enough. Louie, the cat with can-opener-claws wanted in. In the shadows, I could see Jonah, my grumpy tabby cat’s white bib as she crept along the wall.
Thinking I wasn’t coming, Louie impatiently fastened his claws into the office window screen and pulled, further damaging the wires. I threw open the door and yelled, “Louie, you jerk, stop it!”
Snow was falling and cold wind whistled into the house as Louie dashed in. I jeered, “You big baby! I knew you wouldn’t want to be out long on a night light this!” Glancing back at fat Jonah’s dark shadow, I asked, “Well, I know you like being outside more than Louie. Here’s your chance.”
Jonah crouched down and fearfully ran towards the door as if expecting me to kick her. She skidded to a stop at the threshold. Seeing the snow and feeling the cold wind, she backed away. Keeping as far away from me as possible, she returned to the shadows.
I slammed the door shut and locked it before returning to my office. Since Shadow and Louie were both in there, I left the door open so they could come and go as they pleased. After sitting at the desk for a few minutes, I saw Jonah wander into the room.
Shadow, the ten-month-old black and white kitten had been napping on the futon. He got up and approached Jonah. She hissed and made a low, humming growl. The kitten backed away and disappeared into the shadowy entryway.
With me sitting, Jonah felt safe. She came and sat down next to the office chair. Looking expectantly up at me, she meowed. I thought to myself once again, “What a loud, annoying meow this cat has!”
I should have known she was going to jump up onto my lap. Suddenly, the massive fifteen-pound cat was between me and the keyboard. Jonah is fearful when I am on my feet, but when I’m sitting, she is totally confident that I love her and want to hold her big, pushy bulk.
Jonah thrust her face into mine, trying to rub her cheeks against me. She stood and arched her back for petting, all the while meowing loudly. The minute I stopped stroking her back, Jonah frantically demanded more love.
I was saved by Ma Bell. When the phone rang, I tipped Jonah off my lap. She left the room so I stood to slam the door shut. My daughter was calling to tell how her day had gone and to complain about cleaning up her cat’s puke.
“My Daddy always said that cats were the puking-est creatures in this world,” I told her with a laugh, “but your cats exceed the norm!”
Tammie agreed, “But they never seem to feel sick when they do it.”
Thinking of my felines and their peculiarities, I commented, “I think cats are also prone to mental illnesses, too. Jonah is a prime example.”
My daughter asked, “What did she do now?”
“The usual stuff.” I said, “She cowers when I walk into the room. I hate that, but remember how she was abandoned along the road when she was six months old? I wonder if the people who abandoned her kicked her all the time because of her annoying meow. She likes to be petted though, so maybe there were small children in her first home who liked to play with her.”
“After being abandoned, Jonah accidentally got herself locked inside our big whale of a Quonset shed. She was in there almost three days. When we found her, she was skinny and half dead. Remembering her time of starvation probably makes her overeat. Now she’s so fat, visitors always ask if she’s pregnant!”
“You have some interesting theories,” Tammie mused. “but how do you explain her unusual penchant for continuing to get herself locked inside sheds?”
“Hum.” I pondered, “I think she equates being locked in a shed with happy things happening when she’s let out, since we took her in and treated her nicely.
I could hear the smile in Tammie’s voice when she playfully teased, “That’s good feline psychoanalysis, Mom. Good Job!”