Tripping Over Cats

le-mie-tigri-preferite-a-01Every night while it is still very dark, I get up and stumble toward the bathroom.

I could turn on a light but I choose not to. I could also face the terrible wrath of my wife for turning on a light but I choose not to.

So I stumble in the dark.

Even half asleep, I remember to swing wide around the cedar chest that waits in ambush at foot of the bed. Once clear of the chest, I veer left to avoid the dresser whose sharp edges hover at hip level.

If the hallway is bright with moonlight, I am home free but if it is dark, I trip over cats.

It is always the same. I trip over them because they refuse to sleep anywhere else and there is no way to avoid them.  If I stay to the right, they sprawl to the right.  If I feel my way along the left side of the hall, they have that covered too. If I take a middle tack, I nail both of them.

Either way, they yowl and I cuss.

It is not like they don’t see me coming. They do. They track my progress as I grope toward them in the dark. They know that I don’t see them, yet they lay there like landmines. They follow my every footfall until I step on them.

Then they savor their indignation.  For a cat, there is nothing more satisfying than being on the right side of a moral equation and having suffered for it. It’s better than catnip.

So why do they do that?

If I had an elephant for a pet, I surely wouldn’t lay in its path in the dark.  But at least for my cats, being tread upon provides just the right amount of leverage for household politics.

In the morning while I make breakfast, they pad into the kitchen and one after the other,  sit on their haunches to confront me. They know that I know what I did to them last night and they figure it ought to be worth something.

So I toss them a few scraps of bacon.

It is not enough.

I try to sooth their indignation by scratching between their ears, then I check their food dish, and their water, and their litter-box, and I keep doing little things for them – until I stop and ask myself why am I doing these things? Why am I allowing myself to be guilted by two cats who, night after night, deliberately sleep in the hall knowing that I will stumble over them?

Because it works.

The ranks of the aggrieved are always bursting with volunteers – at least in our house.  For every time a cat is trod upon – privilege follows.

But then they do as they always do – they take it too far.

While I am frying bacon in the pan, first one then the other will leap up onto the counter and gently tip-toe, taking one tentative step at a time, toward my plate of bacon.

That is when I stomp my feet hard enough to rattle the cupboards  – and they scatter, perhaps pondering, if only for a instant, what those feet are capable of.

Author: Almost Iowa

www.almostiowa.com

38 thoughts on “Tripping Over Cats”

  1. Oh, those devious felines. Our cats like to lay on the stairs at various times of the day and evening – my husband calls them the “murder pusses.”

  2. Until reading this, I had thought cats’ evil tripping ways were confined to stair-writhing. There is, apparently, nothing they won’t do to try to destroy us. You go ahead and keep trying to delay the inevitable with offerings of pig meat.

    I will miss your pieces when you’re gone, Greg. I don’t think the cats will be anywhere near so good at typing, nor half so funny.

      1. Blame those typos on the kitties!
        🙄
        Actually not a bad strategy. I blame my many oopses on lupus, high notebook turnover, the sun in my eyes, and that ding-danged voice recognition mushware. That I don’t use.

  3. I can see that you failed to take the course on cat etiquette. Need I remind you that there was a reason the Egyptians thought cats were gods. They had no choice. Just ask any cat. They will tell you that they are indeed gods. Being gods, they get to sleep wherever they please. When you get out of bed and choose not to turn on the light, it is not their fault that your feet don’t know where they are going. I would suggest that you instruct your feet to mind their manners. And never, ever use a pen laser to get the cats to move. No, no, no. If you continue this behavior, you will just have to suffer the consequences. Believe me, you do not want bad cat karma. I’m just saying.

    1. Cats are the root of all evil. Even the ancient Egyptians knew that (after the first time a cat stole their bacon). Bacon, on the other hand, is like duct tape. It can heal anything.

        1. I’ll have to turn down the Smithsonian offer. I have accepted a generous grant from a Nigerian prince. As soon as my generous acceptance fee clears the bank, I’ll be good to go. I wonder how he got my email address…. Oh well…

          1. I’m waiting on my check too. Soon I hope. I can really use the money. I have to pay off that loan I took out to go to Donald Trump’s School of Success. That didn’t work, of course. It’s not the Donald’s fault. I am just too dense. However I did get a nice combover out of the deal.

  4. For cats learn this trick from dogs or the other way around? Of course, our dogs always wanted a more instant reward for being downtrodden; specifically, they wanted my side of the bed.

  5. Well, I don’t know why I’m laughing until my teeth dry out. With four cats I have run into similar problems. It’s that trip to the bathroom, with all the hurdles you’ve mentioned, that is the most difficult. Then if they have been outside in the rain, they like to wrap my ankle in a furry embrace about two feet from the toilet. Not a good idea for any of us.

    1. My dog, Scooter, is the same way and I don’t know why but whenever he dives into a reeking drainage ditch or digs around in a pile of sheep manure, his first thought is to jump up on me and tell me all about it.

  6. Anyone who thinks cats don’t have it figured out hasn’t been around cats. Mine’s become a yowler rather than a layer. It’s much more efficient, really. She can lay anywhere in the house, and still wake me up at 4 a.m. Does she want food? water? Is she in pain? Lonely? I don’t think so. She’s just proving to herself she can assert her dominance anytime she wants, by waking me up, or getting me to come to where she is.

  7. Ah, yes, psychology is potent — whether practiced by humans or cats. Another great piece, Almost Iowa. Have you considered a flashlight? Works for me! 🙂

  8. My issue lies with the 100 lb lab who won’t get out of my way and sleeps in the middle of the room. When I step on him, he howls like a baby and gets sympathy from my wife. He’s not smart enough to go the cats route of leverage, though.

    1. Our dog, Scooter, doesn’t need leverage. He takes what he wants, no apologies, no regrets. If perchance I step on him, he gives me such a withering look that I take care not to do it again.

      1. Since the last dog snuffed it 2 years ago we are free at last to do what we want and travel where we want…the wife still misses Skipper the bastard Border Collie though!

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