You don’t need ghosts or demons to wish you had video of what happens in your home while you’re asleep. Cats turn out to excel at generating a sense that unexplainable forces are at work.
Oh sure, for the most part their nocturnal doings are limited to the strategic planting of hairballs or a rambunctious game of poop hockey. Once in a great while there’s a mysterious odor that’s eventually traced to a grisly trophy stash. Every now and then though, the furry devils really put themselves out in order to sow human confusion and uneasiness.
One morning last winter we came downstairs to discover that the fish had weathered an eventful night. The end of their water filter had fallen to the bottom of the tank, exposing any passing fish to the full force of the filter’s suction. Sure enough, Wendi found one of them dead in the filter. We were two fish low though. Weird.
Then another fish vanished.
We thought of the cats, of course. We know they’re not trustworthy; they’re bored, overfed predators. There just didn’t seem to be any way for them to manage it. There were no convenient perches at the fishing hole, and no tell-tale splashes of water. If they had tiny fishing poles they were kept well concealed. It was a mystery.
Then the weekend came, and Wendi saw Ling curled up asleep on top of the fish tank. Suddenly everything made horrible sense. Ling must have climbed onto the tank because it was warm. Being all of about 6 pounds tops, she could sit on the lid with no problems. The choose-your-own sushi bar was a bonus.
All access to the tank was barricaded, and our two remaining fish continued to remain. We returned to the usual nighttime protocols: poop and puke.
Until a few weeks ago.
I’ve written about my weekday morning routine. I staggered into the kitchen as usual, Ling yelling at me for not feeding her quickly enough. Waving at her to quiet down, I went to get a fresh cat dish… and stopped.
It took a few moments to process what my bleary eyes were reporting. There was a plastic container on the floor, on its side, and there were things nearby spilling out of it. Little brown things. The kibble bin had fallen. The kibble was wet. There was water on the floor. Probably from the broken glass.
My puzzled gaze tracked up to the counter directly above the mess. Coffee maker. Pill bottle on its side. Fish tank.
Ling sat in the middle of the mess, impatiently reminding me of my duties. Everything came together, and I realized that Ling had tried to climb onto the food bin in order to do some night fishing.
“Bad kitty,” I told her.
“MAOOW!” she insisted.
So I fed her.