Friday, 15 February 2008

Bravery vs. Boredom

Wick is our almost two-year-old tabby whose personality is unlike any other cat that has decided to accept me as their human.
With the cold of winter snapping its icy teeth at us, the Wickster can’t be bothered to go outside, except on the most necessary of occasions. But the boredom of self-imposed house confinement makes the deep, belly-rubbing snow look like it might be kind of fun to her. Add a little false-warming sunshine and Wick is outta the house to play.
When Wick steps out of the house, the first thing she does is shake the snow from her front paws. Then she licks them and puts them back on the icy ground. And then wonders why she can’t move.
Once she’s thawed her paws, she jumps off the patio to the snow below, staying close to the house where the snow isn’t so deep. But a fluttery leaf grabs her attention as it rolls across the stark white landscape towards the forest and she chases it, landing neck deep in the snow with each leap. She stops and starts stepping more carefully, as if realizing that her weight won’t sink so far in the snow if she doesn’t jump in it. Smart kitty.
Then a random woodpecker, at the very top of a 50-foot tree grabs Wick’s attention. Uh oh. I know our cat. She’s going for it.
She dives towards the trunk of the leafless tree, scrambling up about eight feet to do some reconnaissance from the roof of a bird house nailed to the side of the elm. She looks up – way up, and spots her plaything.
The woodpecker is oblivious, but can’t seem to get what he wants from the frozen tree. He jumps to another branch, and Wick climbs another 20 feet. Oy. That’s bravery.
Our cat is now at least 30 feet in the air and I’m having visions of firefighters dancing through my brain.
As she perches on a precarious-looking branch, I open the back door and ask her how she plans on getting down. She glances at me for just a moment before making a dangerous hop to another branch that bends despite her light weight. She looks skyward once more and finds her potential toy has flown away in search of less-frozen branches.
Now little Miss Wick has to get her furry behind down the tree, that too-tall, stick-straight tree where she is looking down from her 30-foot-high throne. Great. I call Peter and tell him to have a look. He wisely tells me not to worry – she got up there, she’ll get down.
And down she comes. Like she’s sliding down a fireman’s pole, using her claws as she backs herself down to the birdhouse perch that started the whole ascension into the sky. She jumps from the birdhouse to the ground, and comes leaping back to the warmth and safety of the house.
She meows at me a few times, as if asking if I saw her, what I thought, and too-bad-I-scared-you-but-I-would-do-it-again-you-gutless-human.
Sure, do it again, Wick. But wait until spring or summer when the leaves hide your bravery. Until then, please, kitty kat – you’re aging me. Stay bored! It’s much easier on us humans.