A Cat’s Eye View of Quarantine
I’m hungry, and beyond the shield through which I can see but cannot go, birds taunt me. Their round, delicious bodies flutter from branch to branch, their gleeful songs grating upon my ears. They are feasts dressed in feathers if only I were granted liberty. It is all Human’s fault. I jump, my body fluid muscle, the picture of grace, and land on the soft place where it sleeps.
For a second, I am nearly distracted from my task by the caress of fuzzy blankets beneath my paws. A purr rumbles in my noble chest, but I tamp it down. Now is not the time for weakness. There is much work to be done. I stare at Human, unblinking for what seems an eternity, but it does not move. I walk up its body, making sure to step on the squishy middle bit; it grunts and pushes a hand at me, which I consider biting.
When I reach the top of its body, I poke at its eye with one paw; no claws, I’m not a monster; not yet, anyway. Though who can say what will happen if this hunger lasts much longer. No response from Human. What has happened to the screeching thing that usually rouses Human from its bed? I could always rely on that to have Human from the bed and ready to feed me. Clearly, the job has fallen to me. I must not fail, for starvation awaits me, and it would surely be a cruel death. I am too beautiful a creature to succumb to the boniness of emaciation.
The time has come for decisive actions. I plunge my nose into the crevice of Human’s ear and snuffle. To my relief, its eyes fly open, and it emits a squeal. I top it off with a loud and breathy meow directed straight at Human’s nose. Human rolls over, seeking to seize me in its arms, but I am fast and narrowly escape. Its feet hit the floor with a thump. I channel the speed of my courageous cousin, the Cheetah, and race to show Human where it left my bowl, in case it has forgotten.
Human fills my bowl with brown pellets I sniff, then ignore. I will hold fast to my disdain until Human turns its back, then I will be free to eat. I gobble the pellets once it shuffles away to the noisy machine that spits brown liquid. I eat too quickly, it would seem, for then I feel sick and regurgitate them, making sure to do so on the only carpeted spot Human has provided me with. I would like a nap. I spent much of the night stalking our home in search of prey. I only found a few spiders, but I believe Human to be grateful for my prowess as a hunter. I am weary. Alas, I can find no respite from the noise of its constant presence.
Human is always here, pacing from room to room, making me nervous with its strange energy. I watch from the safety of my cat tree. Human stands beside me, staring out the shield, and I wonder if it also plots to catch those pesky birds. Oh, how they taunt me with their chirping. Human scratches my head, and for now, that’s alright, but I must remain cautious. Since Human stopped leaving the house, it has taken to capturing me in spontaneous bouts of hugging. It doesn’t seem to understand this is unacceptable, no matter how much I grumble. They are obtuse creatures, humans. It is high time I paced the house and meowed, but Human is still scratching behind my ears, causing me to purr against my will and disturbing my schedule.
I reminisce on the days of quiet when Human would fill my bowl and then leave me to my musings in peace. All day, I could sit in the silence, napping and crafting my plans for domination. Now, the hours stretch on, filled with the Human’s sighing and the creaking of the floor beneath its restless feet. Sometimes it lets out long bouts of sound and wiggles its body about in an undignified way before flopping down upon the couch. I wish I had those nifty hands with which to cover my ears.
Human lays a mat of rubbery material on the floor, into which I can not resist sinking my claws. Human does not like when I do this and chases me off before stretching its body like a cat. Of course, it can not rival me for grace, but I do feel closer to Human in these moments. Not all is lost, Human indulges in treats more frequently and shares its tasty morsels with me occasionally.
Human is on the couch once more, and it has laid out the blanket for which I am particularly fond. What can it hurt to lay upon it for a few moments? Uncoiling my muscles, I launch myself upwards and onto the couch, startling Human, who is staring at the noisy square on the wall. I am careful to lay just past the reach of its fingertips and close my eyes. Indifference is essential; if Human thinks I am interested, it will initiate contact.
When Human turns off the noisy box, I find myself scooped into its arms before I can protest. It carries me in an unseemly fashion down the hallway, and as ashamed as I am at this treatment, the trip seems to take an eternity. Human gets into its bed, still clutching me, and it is making strange noises now that make concern rise in me, despite my longing for freedom. For a second, I allow Human to hold me, for it seems to be sad. Sad Human stays in bed longer, and it must feed me on time, so I shall see if I can change the tide of its wild emotions. We cats do have a few tricks when the need arises.
I knead Human with my paws and allow myself to relax. Salty water drips from Human’s cheeks, and I lick some away. When I do this, human makes a funny noise, a happier sound than the one it made before. A sound that does not make me wish for hands to cover my ears. Human puts its face into my fur, and I cringe, thinking how it will muss my hard work. I will have to lick it all again and develop another hairball, but its fingers scratch under my chin. I can never resist a chin scratch, and Human knowing this, uses my weakness to its advantage. And though it is not the dark hours of the morning, which is when I prefer my affection given to me, a purr rumbles up and out, and I let it.
The sound seems to soothe Human. It strokes a hand over my long, magnificent coat, and soon it is asleep. I could slip free from its grasp, but I find I am tired after such a strenuous day; the constant presence of Human is draining. I close my eyes and purr. There could be little harm in remaining for a few moments longer. Human seems to need me, and the spiders can wait.