Episode 19: In Which a Cat Takes a Licking
Sometimes I think I’m a magnet for misadventure. I mind my own business, and I find that so often events are thrust upon me like the sky on the shoulders of Atlas. Take the other day, for example. I was sitting in my window ledge bed, enjoying the summer sunshine and drifting in and out of meditation, when suddenly a great ruckus outside my window ripped me from my state of reverie. I opened my eyes and found my view of the yard almost entirely obstructed by a large mass of fluff. This creature stared back at me and smiled, tongue lolling and open mouth showing of rows of large, white teeth. I could hear its muffled excitement through the glass. “Hello! Hello! Hey, you cat! I see you!” it barked at me. Dogs are so rude.
Often, my colleagues will bring their canine companions to stay for the day while they work. Dogs can’t be trusted to stay at home alone all day; they make too much mischief. Sometimes my human friends set up the big kennels in my room, lining them with big, fluffy blankets and leaving enormous bowls of water. Yesterday, one of my friends took her dog out in the middle of the day, and I found the empty kennel in their absence. The fluffiest blankets. The clearest, biggest bowl of water. Just sitting there, unused. How could I resist? I made myself at home; after all, these dogs are guests in my house. They should be happy to share. So comfortable was I that I didn’t realize how quickly time was passing, and before I knew it, my friend and her dog had returned. She asked me to vacate the commandeered space, and I refused, hissing at the dog. She became insistent, and still I resisted. Why should I have to move? Finders, keepers.
Unfortunately, I tried her patience beyond its limits, and she reached into the kennel and pulled me out by my scruff, in spite of my vocal protestations. As she was pulling me out, I noticed that I was simultaneously moving closer to the dog, a great, black thing with bright eyes and shining teeth. My friend, wrangling both myself and her dog, did not realize how near we were getting to one another. Its eyes held an eager gleam as I moved closer to it. I was unable to escape my friend’s firm grasp, and my limbs would not respond properly under the spell of scruffing. All I could do was watch in horror as the dog’s huge head loomed over me in our ever-shrinking proximity. Wagging tail and quickened breath revealed its anticipation. And then I was within reach. It stretched its neck and opened its jaws wide. I gave one last hiss and squeezed my eyes shut, preparing for agony. I felt the pointed teeth housed in those massive jaws touching my left arm, and waited for them to tighten and close. But there was no tightening, no crunching of bone and tearing of fur and flesh; instead, there was only a long, wet tongue. It licked me from elbow to paw in one drawn-out motion, leaving my fur thick with drool. Disgusting.
My friend released me and deposited the dog in the kennel, where it happily lapped up mouthfuls of water and then nestled into the fluffy blankets, having the loveliest day of its life. I scowled at it and stalked by, and I could swear I saw the subtlest tail wag, and its eye held a curiously friendly invitation. Dogs aren’t evil. Just rude.