Friday, March 7, 2014

Squeaking Jinx = Pet Me. Now.

For the past month or so, our mostly black fraidy-cat, Jinx, has developed a new little morning ritual. As soon as I turn off the water and step out of the shower stall, she enters the bathroom and squeaks at me. Vehemently. 

Jinx evidently missed Kitten 101 where kittens were taught how to meow.  So Jinx squeaks.

But I know what she’s saying to me.  It is Jinx-speak for, “Pet me. Pet me NOW.”

And then she jumps onto the edge of the tub and flops over. If I don’t immediately go to her and start petting her furry little head, she squeaks at me even louder.

I comply, of course. Partly because she so rarely seeks our attention and partly because I’m afraid her squeaking will wake up Vince who is still wringing out those last few minutes of shut-eye before his busy day begins.

I call Jinx our ghost-cat – not because she’s white like Casper the Friendly Ghost – but because she can vanish in an instant.  Jinx doesn’t like strangers and I am convinced she enters the Witness Protection Program every time the doorbell rings. 

Sometimes she gets skittish for no apparent reason and considers even me a stranger.

Those are the times she’ll magically disappear like the Cheshire cat in Alice in Wonderland.  Well, except that Jinx doesn’t leave behind a big ghostly grin. No amount of cajoling on my part will get her out from her hiding place, although shaking the Treats tin may persuade her if she hasn’t had a treat in a while, like, say, five minutes or so.

Nevertheless, you get my point that Jinx is not an overly friendly cat.  Twinklebelle, on the other hand, is our Greeter. If someone new arrives, she meets them at the door and sniffs their shoes to find out if they are cat or dog people. Then she
Not our actual cat as we can't capture her in this cute pose on film.
promptly flops on her back to let them know she’ll forgive them for being dog people as long as they give her a gentle belly rub.

If Jinx ever did this, I would be forced to conclude that her body had been taken over by alien felines who had come to dominate Planet Earth. Probably they’d be completely indifferent to humans, force us to feed and water them on demand, clean their litter boxes, and thank them whenever they yakked up a hairball on the white carpet. 

Oh…wait… Wait just a doggone minute here! They already have us doing this.  Was our planet taken over by alien cats and that little detail escaped our attention?  Egad!

Regardless, I am powerless against a squeaky Jinx. I pet her and she purrs loudly and I think she might actually love me for half a second. 

As a matter of fact, I risked life and limb – or at least toe – the other week when she squeaked at me and I hurried over to pet her. This is when I bashed my toe on the bathroom scale and ended up squeaking myself. In significant pain. Only my squeaks were accompanied by real tears and absolutely no purrs.

But I guess I was happy that Jinx had forgiven us for going on vacation and was thrilled that she remembered her morning ritual.  I didn’t think cats had much capacity for long term memory, but maybe I’m wrong.

All I know is that if this becomes a permanent habit, I will need to get up ten minutes earlier and add “Jinx-petting” to my morning schedule. I think I’d have a hard time explaining my tardiness to my boss every morning, “Well. You see…it’s like this. I have this ghost cat…”

But getting up earlier would be worth it.  I love hearing Jinx purr. 

Even if she IS an alien cat.

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