The cat was bored. She lay in front of the window, not looking out, not caring if a squirrel patroled the sill inches from her face. They were old enemies, and she wouldn’t let a mottled rodent distract her.
She’d ruffled the throw rug, turned up the corner so her people would know her displeasure or depression . . . angst . . . profound ennui. What was it exactly? Those tiny yarn balls they were forever rolling in front of her had no appeal. The catnip toy? Well, yuck was the only word for it. Just a marketing ploy. She’d never met a cat who liked catnip.
She stood up at that thought—leapt up actually. She’d never met a cat who . . . When was the last time she’d met a cat at all? There was that pitiful black thing in a collar with a bell that sometimes hung around the back door when her people went out—trying to get in—but it had never made it and never would. She was proud of her people—too smart for a collared cat—the collar a sign of its dog-like intelligence. Nobody would ever collar her or even try. Her people respected her too much.
But to know a real cat, somebody more substantial that that ephemeral apparition that appeared in the mirror when she patrolled the tops of the dressers—a handsome feline for sure, but without true originality—always copying her. Imitation the sincerest form of flattery, but still.
No. When had she known a real cat? She paced at the thought, walked through the kitchen, licked the corner of her dish, jumped on the counter—nobody was home so she could explore on her own—wiped clean with an offensive chemical smell—nothing of interest—jumped down, went into the bathroom also smelling faintly of some soap or poison, peered into the toilet. At least that was pure. She hated it when it turned blue. She continued her survey of the house: rearranged the balls of yarn in the knitting basket, teased out her favorite big red one, batted it around until the unraveling started, then expertly propelled it to the exact center of the room where it belonged. Where she could find it when she needed the exercise. She was forever tidying up after the people. They hid things: the balls, the bits of string she favored, the kibble. What kind of person would ration food? Smoothing the rugs, patting down the bed they shared until it was flat and hard—gave her purpose in life—yes—but she was bored with that too. Same thing day after day. She needed a companion.
A familiar sound stopped her pacing. She would never admit it, not even to herself, but she didn’t know what that sound was—something mechanical, outside the house, where she’d never been, but she knew she’d hear a far away door open and close, footsteps, the house door open and her people, one or both, would be there.
She walked, not ran—didn’t want to appear too eager—and was at the door when it opened and the woman—it was the woman, oh happy day—stepped in, “Oh, Lizzie,” the woman said and stretched out her hand.
The cat lay down, then rolled over so the woman could caress her. The woman needed to do that, and the cat was all about accommodation where her people were concerned. It was enough. Another cat would just complicate things. The boredom fled as that sound she called her internal motor started up—purr contentment.
© 2012 Kathleen Coskran