Death, destruction and deprivation: A lesson in cat-sitting
Three times I've poked the cat to make sure he's dead. But every time, he manages to revive himself. Initially, I was worried because he appeared to be falling into bits, like the doomed goldfish I had when I was five, but now I'm finding swirling, autonomous clumps of him all over the house, like mogwai spawn. Gremlins. I have gremlins and I fear for my life.
I'm kitten-sitting for friends, while they bask in the sun on a beach in North Carolina, and it's not as easy as I thought it would be, what with all the death, destruction and sleep deprivation involved. The long-haired mini-beast appears comatose all day long, upside-down on the sofa, spawning more mogwai even while exhausted from meowing and playing cat hockey all night, every night.
He arrived with the promise to rid me of any mice I might have, and indeed I've witnessed his homicidal tendencies. A born killer, he sees every beating heart as a challenge to his reputation, and I find it quite unsettling that he watches me sleep. Every time I open my eyes, he's there. The way he looks at me, his dilated cat pupils could very well be the portals to Hell. I can't shake the feeling that if he had opposable thumbs, I'd be dead by now.
We didn't get off to a good start, and I guess that set the tone. I'd let him out of his box to sniff around, and gone to retrieve the rest of his rations from the car, for the term he's serving with me. When I returned, that long-haired, sadistic beast was ready and waiting, and within seconds, and without losing eye contact, he produced a foul grey mass from his throat, and all but gave me the finger. While I cleaned it up, he circled around, produced another and walked off. He'd only been an inmate for five minutes and already I knew he was trouble.
Day 5: I've accepted that there's been a one-cat mutiny, and relinquished control. He's beaten me down psychologically, with the gradual destruction of everything I care about. On Day 2, he pushed a ceramic pot from the window sill, smashing it and revealing to me its ridiculous contents (an anatomically incorrect bobble-head lobster, a dollar-store spaceman action figure, poker chips, an antenna adapter from the Eighties, craft scissors and a beer cozy). Gathering it all together under his watchful eye, I was forced to examine my lifestyle. On Day 3, he attacked the only remaining living thing in my apartment other than me, my starter basil plant. Next, he went to work on some electrical cords, and I was tempted to let him.
Diligently, he guards the windows, preventing my escape, stopping only to refuel so he can create increasingly vile gastro-concoctions for me, as I'm on latrine duty. And worst of all, he can't keep his filthy paws off me.
Perhaps the approach of the full moon has wakened his feral beast within, as I hear happens in asylums, because last night I got no sleep at all. For hours, he tore around the house, the sound of his terrible claws scratching the wood floor as he rounded corners in crazed pursuit of any one of a hundred objects he'd found.
Laying very still and quiet as to not encourage him further, I prayed for the madness to end, and I was very nearly able to retreat to the happy place that is my unconscious, until the big bang. Having survived the terror which ensued, I investigated the sound and I'm still not sure what caused it, if it elicited the attack, or simply served as a warning. Either way, upon hearing it, I opened my eyes and turned my head in time to see the airborne cat's silhouette, in full Halloween arch, flying at me. I barely had time to pull the covers over my head in defense and scream "Jeeeeeeeeeeeeezus!" before impact. "You've got to be kidding me!" was the next thing I said, with a pounding heart.
It's clear now, he truly wishes me dead. He should know, the feeling is mutual.