Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Xena, Feline Princess

One of my cats, Xena, just came home after being out in the world for about 36 hours. I've been calling for her night and day - the neighbors were probably ready to sic the local police on me for causing a public disturbance. The problem is, when cats go walkabout there's not really anything you can do. They're either on an adventure, in which case they'll come home when they're good and ready, or they've gotten locked in someone's garage, in which case the only thing you can do is walk around listening at garage doors, which will definitely have the neighbors calling 911, or they've gotten hurt and are hiding, in which case you're not going to find them anyway. Then there's the ultimate, awful possibility that they've had a fatal encounter with something. I resisted walking around the neighborhood looking for Xena because I knew that what I would have been doing is looking for a body. So all there is to do is call and wait - incredibly frustrating.

Xena got her name because when she was a kitten she was a fierce hunter. We had a cat door and every day she'd bring in grasshoppers, birds, butterflies, voles, mice, large beetles, and once a young rabbit that was almost as big as she was. She always brought them in alive and I almost always managed to catch them and release them before any real damage was done, but she was relentless. Also, her fur is a beautiful shiny black, like Xena's hair and she doesn't take crap from anyone. On the other hand, she's a total people coward. If anyone else is in the house, or even if she suspects anyone else might be in the house, she goes into hiding. And I don't mean "cute kitty behind the sofa with her tail sticking out" hiding, I mean "Weatherman going underground witness protection program" hiding.

She's home now, sitting here with that classic cat look on her face that says "What?" She's actually probably thinking "--------". Though I love my cats to distraction, I have no illusions about cat cognition. (If there weren't copyright issues, I'd insert a link to Gary Larson's great "What we say/What they hear" cartoons about cats and dogs. You'll just have to Google them yourselves.) But I've been honest from the beginning: I never said I loved her for her brains. Welcome home, Xena. I'll be right back with another serving of wet food.

By the way, here's the link to the Wikipedia definition of walkabout and to the fantastic movie of that name.

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