Cats and Quakes

We have cats in our house.  That’s not the same as saying “we have mice in our house”.  Some people, who don’t like cats, might think it is.  And, I understand their feeling.  After all, we do have quite a number of cats running around. 

 I’ve observed that critters have complex personalities.  Fish of course, but dogs too.  It may be less obvious, but I’ve met some very deep fish.   

 Cats, like humans, are better or worse at a whole range of activities.  Jumping, running and so on.  It’s difficult to predict when one will be better at one thing than another. 

 We have one cat named Brady.  He’s a small, yellow tabby.  Our daughter Cissy, who saved him when he was a kitten, said native intelligence is not his adaptive advantage. He’s somewhere in the middle of the pecking order probably due to the dimness of his bulb, his size and the customary cluelessness with which he leads his life.  I like him, though.  Don’t get me wrong.

 We humans are fairly certain of our place on nature’s ladder – the top rung.  We are forever in cynical disbelief, waiting for the “show me” moment to clear things up.  But, the truth is there are some things we just can’t see, hear, feel or smell.  Some of these very same things are those that our companion cats sense like a two ton elephant lounging in a bathtub. 

 I can tell you for sure, that earthquakes are one of them.  Maybe not all cats, because as I mentioned, not all house cats are constructed the same.  Although, it’s quite possible that where one says, “Gee the floor is trembling.  Hmmm.  I wonder if there’s any food in my bowl?” another might say, “OH MY GOD!  OH MY GOD! THE FLOOR IS TREMBLING!  I’M GOING TO DIE! I’M GOING TO DIE!”  I, myself, am not a good enough judge of character to predict which cat will be which.  But, here’s my story anyway:

 Usually, waking up in the morning in the middle of the week isn’t something I tuck away in my memory to dwell upon later.  I staggered over to let the cats in.  They tumbled across the threshold like cords of wood stacked-up against the door.  I beat a hasty retreat to the bathroom before they had the bright idea of joining me.  It’s a race that happens every morning.  If I’m just a little slow I have cats draped all over the bathroom peering at me with hungry, demanding eyes.  So, I shut myself in and went about my business.  When the last hair was plastered to my head I hung up the towel and opened the bathroom door.

 Poor Brady shot past me like he’d been catapulted from a sling shot.  Really, I’ve never seen a cat move so fast.  Several of the others were standing around looking puzzled. 

 “I don’t know?”, they shrugged. 

 “Huh!” I thought to myself.  What’s wrong with him? 

 I went downstairs to the kitchen.  “Hey, Kathleen.  Anything wrong with Brady?”  No?  Well…OK.

 After breakfast, I tried to find him.  It was as if he’d disappeared.  This worried me on two levels.  First, I was really worried for his safety.  What could ever have happened to him?  Second, seeing how I was the last to see him, my recollection ended about the time he zoomed by me.  It was as if a whole slice of memory had been erased.  Not good on a personal level.

 I have to admit, once I got thinking about it, I was a lot more worried about myself.  Which is selfish.  The associated guilt provoked me to look more carefully.  Eventually I found him under the bed.  After a little coaxing he emerged with no visible injury other than a pair of eyes rotating wildly in his head.

 Later that morning I read on the internet an earth quake had hit central Indiana.

 Wow.  That’s amazing!  I hadn’t felt a thing.  Nor had Kathleen.  Poor, dimwitted Brady, on the other hand, felt the jilt through every sinew of his body.  I wondered about the other cats, although, as mentioned, it’s pretty hard to tell who’s feeling what.  Certainly, in our household, only Brady felt enroute to kingdom come.

 But, I’ll bet Brady wasn’t the only one locked on the thought he was about to die.  I’ve heard that dogs and birds and deer and all other manner of wildlife and domestic creatures feel the inner rumblings of the earth.  We humans need to fall into a deep crack in the ground before believing Mother Nature is toying with us. 

 We’re just so dumb. 

 But, we think we’re so smart.

 Maybe not smarter than Brady.

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