The Cat That Wasn't There

Living with cats brings with it many joys: a steady stream of vomit to clean up, little pink anuses in your face while you fall asleep and litterbox duty, to name a few of the more popular ones. Occasionally, though, I discover a new source of cat-related wonder. It is amazing, for example, just how many things around the house can easily be mistaken for a lurking feline.

This is a phenomenon abetted by my poor eyesight, which is bad enough that without correction, this text resembles ant trails on my screen. Another accomplice are my glasses, which, in the name of a snappy look, sacrifice peripheral vision. Glancing down shifts my field of vision into the uncorrected area, which is why I move my whole head to glance at the keys while I hunt & peck.

One common not-a-cat in our household is the stray pair of boots. I own a single pair, pictured here, but it's far more likely that the cat that won't answer in the half-light of the bedroom is one of Christina's many vastly more fashionable and less country-western pairs.



The smaller of our two critters is Smoke, a female who enjoys perching close to eye level. Our dresser is about the perfect height, and since she doesn't get in trouble for being there, she'll often hunker down there or sit up, begging for attention, which is what I thought was happening when I saw this instead:



Among the places the wee beasties aren't allowed are the kitchen counters, a policy I instituted when I entered their lives and put the kitchen to regular use, in order to cut down on my cat hair intake. When cooking one day, I saw this in the fuzzy periphery and yelled at it to get off the counter:



When Soot & Smoke play, there are two phases: the mad chase and the stalk. The chase ranges from one end of the house to the other, punctuated with clawless slap-fighting and interludes in which one seems to call time-out or quits the game while the other silently stalks and observes from a higher vantage point, or, as in this case, from around a corner:



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