My roommate, Lily, has confessed to me that, as a child she had the habit of bringing home animals. Robins with broken wings, field mice, cockroaches, and even (when she lived briefly in Florida) a baby alligator. Knowing this, I should have been content that she only had a cat when I moved into the apartment.
Still, there was something wrong with the feline known as That Cat. I have never seen a cat less able to maintain control of it’s limbs. Last week That Cat displayed the multiple ways in which it is defective while it was sitting on the top of our entertainment center, watching as Lily worked on one of her paintings-- looking just as skeptical about her work as I felt:
1) As That Cat stood up, she immediately fell behind the entertainment center with a solid thwump. A normal cat, if it falls at all, at least has to be moving in order to do so.
2) The cat failed to get out of behind the entertainment center. At first we thought it was just comfortable there.We had entirely overestimated the animal’s capacity for survival. The four inch space between the wall and the entertainment center was just too small for That Cat to navigate.
3) The cat started chewing on the wires and made a small, smoldering fire in the carpet. Chewing wires may be a cat-like thing, but not running or crying at the sight and smell of the smoke indicates that That Cat may have an ancestor of some species so stupid it died out too soon to make the chronicles of history.
4) When we tried to get it out from behind the entertainment center, it finally got the idea that it might be in danger and panicked. When it panicked, it tried to burrow rather than climb or run. It tried to hide in the tangle of wires behind it. Which also happened to be where the fire was. I understood that cat’s like warm places and frequently chose to sleep near fireplaces and furnaces. Still, running into a fire seems like a severe deficiency for any animal.
Fortunately, we were able to move the entertainment center enough to wrestle the cat out of the wires before any real damage had taken place. Now that the danger was removed, That Cat scampered off to hide somewhere else.
I still don’t know whether That Cat is simply cursed with a horrendous genome, or had been dropped once too often as a kitten. All I know for certain is that, as if to remind us of her incapacity to survive on her own, That Cat continues to get herself stuck in wires around the house.