A couple of weeks ago Abigail, my Assistive Feline™, went missing. I was working in the back yard, and the basement door — which has a habit of not latching — had been blown open by the wind. Abigail saw her opportunity and strolled out.
She has done this before, but I’m generally around and spot her. She will go all OH NO YOU WILL NEVER CATCH ME HOOMAN I WILL WALK THREE FEET THIS WAY AND SIT DOWN WHERE YOU WILL NEVER WAIT WHY YOU ARE PICKING ME UP AND TAKING ME BACK INSIDE WHERE I’M SAFE CURSE YOU PURRR. In other words, she is not a wild beast yearning to be free.
This time, however, I was not around, and she had escaped. I checked all around the house and the adjoining shrubberies, but she was not there. It was worrisome.
Night came and she was still nowhere to be found. I (and my Lovely First Wife) were frantic. Abby has no survival skills that we know of, and it was easy to imagine some horrific fate befalling her. The next morning I plastered the immediate area with posters, and the next evening she showed up at the front door, utterly unconcerned.
Somewhere she had gotten snagged on a bush or something, because she was missing her purple halter, which I use to hook her up to a lead in the back yard so she can lounge in the sun and pretend to hunt chipmunks. Fine, I thought, you’re grounded anyway.
Then two nights ago she did it again, this time hopping down from the back porch, where she is allowed to go mean-mug the birds of a morning. This time I was not too worried; clearly she was able to hunker down somewhere and find her way home. And there she was the next morning at the back door, acting as if she were a big girl now and why was I all torqued even?
I decided to go buy her and Cecil, the Assistant Assistive Feline™, collars with nametags. That way if they were ever lost they’d be identifiable and returnable, and even more, as Cecil reaches his adult size, we could tell which tuxedo we were yelling at as they scampered away from the scene of the crime.
All of the preceding was background info.
Cecil has earned himself the nickname The Pest for his annoying behavior: pouncing on Abigail and gnawing on her; careening across the dining room table — while we are dining; the usual. Good thing he’s adorable. Abigail, in response, has become withdrawn, hiding from Cecil and often begging to be let onto the back porch to escape him.
So it was extremely interesting what happened when I put their new collars on them.
Cecil of course freaked out because there was this new sensation. He did the normal flippy thing trying to see it or get to it. Also there was now this tinkling noise that was always there right at his ear! Aieeeee!!!!
Abigail, being older and wiser, just nodded calmly at her new adornment.
That’s when it got interesting. Abigail was suddenly lounging out in the hall, or strolling around rooms where people were, being sociable. Cecil was in hiding up here in the study. When he emerged, he mostly tore around rooms, still jingling and completely unnerved. When he encountered Abby, he meekly walked up to her and stood and allowed her to groom him. When it was supper time, he didn’t do his usual adorable meowing as if he were starving. He was a completely changed cat.
We figure Abby is feeling secure again with the feeling of her collar, since she’s worn a halter all of her adult life. Cecil, on the other hand, is simply weirded out, and we’re assuming that’s only temporary until he gets use to hearing a jingle bell every move he makes. Then he’ll return to his regular goofball Pest persona.
And that’s a report on the state of the herd.