Molly Fisk: Cat Person

An hour ago I was awakened by the strangest noise. I’d blended it into a dream where sailboats at anchor left their sails up and they smacked against the masts. When I opened my eyes, I was facing the window and could see prayer flags lifting and falling. But they didn’t make any sound — the noise was coming from behind me.

I turned over and a movement caught my eye from inside the closet. A cat-type movement. Something darted at the small curtained window above my bureau and then retreated. As I approached, Sid looked me over briefly, then pounced again. He was attacking little squares of moonlight on the sill, which came through the lace at the curtain’s hem, and the slight starch in the fabric made a weird noise when he brushed against it.

As you may or may not know, moonlight is hard to bite. However, impossible tasks have never fazed a cat. I carried Sid into the living room. Gracie was lying stretched out on her side near a bookcase. The bookcase is the only piece of furniture she can’t fit under, and for two weeks she’s been lying on her back and reaching one leg in to scrabble around. She must have let a mouse or lizard escape under there. By now it’s a wizened skeleton, but she’s determined to nab it anyway. I’ve gotten so used to that noise it doesn’t wake me any more.

If you’re not a cat-person, you’re allowed to yawn. It takes a certain temperament to enjoy their deeply strange behavior. I love the way cats go nuts and leap on each other, tussle violently for 30 seconds, then separate and wash their paws, looking in different directions with attitudes of complete indifference.

Dogs are great, but they’re so predictable. You’re always rescuing them from something: skunks or abject loneliness. Cats rescue themselves. Even when Mia gets on the roof and cries piteously, it’s a game. Sometimes I play, coaxing her to the edge and then lifting her down. But it’s faster if I just go in the house and open a can of cat food.

I’ve never had the problem of aloofness in cats. Mine sleep on the router, the laptop, and the desk. One always greets me when I come home. And it’s Grand Central Station in the bathroom: Jack and Sid leap to the edge of the sink and wait for me to turn on the tap; Gracie sits on my left (never my right) knee to be patted; and India jumps up on the tank so he can attack the toilet paper as it comes off the roll.

Sometimes I complain to my friends about living alone, but as you can see, I don’t live alone: I live in the middle of a three-ring circus. Five out of five cats will tell you I’m not Master of Ceremonies, either.

I’m the resident clown: I pay the mortgage, build fires in the wood stove, and operate the can opener.

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  • Sally Bahner October 31, 2016 at 10:47 am

    Two of my three are on my desk in front of the picture window as we “speak.” My cats are my heart and soul.

  • Molly Fisk October 29, 2016 at 3:35 pm

    Ha! Wendl, that is hilarious. And yes, Jeanie, when they aren’t attacking something, they’re great, aren’t they? And so deeply strange. Makes me very happy to know them.

  • Jeanie October 29, 2016 at 10:22 am

    Cats are such wonderful, entertaining, comforting creatures. My favorite animal by far.

  • WendL in Manhattan October 29, 2016 at 8:08 am

    Years ago I awoke slowly one morning with a very strange bodily sensation….not unpleasant, but definitely….weird. It took a moment or two to realize my cat, Djuna, was deep under the covers and enthusiastically tugging at my tampon string.