Thursday, August 20, 2015
The Kitten on the Roof
Every day, my daughter and I take turns, sometimes one of us and sometimes the other, feeding the kitten in the barn. We feed it in the barn, because that's where we want it to live. But the kitten has other ideas. The kitten has discovered our house, it knows that we live there, and if we do not allow it to live in the house, it has decided to live on the house.
It all began a couple of days ago, right before the last round of rainstorms. It was fairly hot and sunny, and I was merrily taking pictures of butterflies and hummingbird moths.
The hummingbird moth would not sit still, and the yellow butterfly led me on a merry chase.
And as I was chasing the butterfly, I thought I heard a faint meowing in the background. I could not tell where it was coming from. My daughter came home from school and found me in the front yard filming the yellow butterfly, and when she went to feed the kitten in the barn that day, the kitten was nowhere in sight. She had to go looking for the kitten and made it follow her to the barn where the cat dishes are. That evening we drove to the post office, and when we returned, I saw the kitten curled up on the roof, under the eaves of the extension on the house.
That night it rained. I was sure that the kitten could not possibly have stayed up there all night. Surely, it would have had sense enough to come down and take shelter in he barn. But yesterday afternoon, when I went out momentarily, the cat meowed at my very plaintively. Could the cat have stayed there all night long? Might it be unable to get down on its own?
I was almost ready to go back inside to get the ladder, when I saw that it was slithering down the small maple tree to the ground.
So, clearly, not a helpless little kitten at all. I stopped worrying about it at once, and when I went to feed it in the barn after dinner, I did not worry that the kitten did not appear for its supper. I went for a nice stroll down the path to the twin pines, and still there was no sign of the kitten. Reporting on this to my daughter on my return to the house, I heard this: "The kitten doesn't know where the food is. You have to show her that the food is in the barn." And my daughter went out to find the kitten and lead it to the barn,
We feed the kitten in the same spot at the same time every day. You expect me to believe that the kitten doesn't know where the food is? It was probably on the roof that whole time, with a bird's-eye view of me walking to the barn with the cat food in my hand.
That reminds me of a student at Rice who was enrolled in my class, but hardly ever attended. One day, during the class period, he went to the linguistics office to ask where I was, because he wanted to discuss his grade with me. The secretary told him that I was just then in class, since this was the regular period for when the class that he was enrolled in met every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. He was totally surprised to learn this. There is stupid, and then there is feigned stupid. The kitten knows.
A few days ago, Bow shared with me one of his random thoughts. החתול רשע. "The cat is evil." I asked him why he thought the cat was evil. (It was before the kitten was seen on the roof.) He replied: אל תשאלי. "Don't ask."