Wednesday, March 20, 2013

In Which Bif Scares the Living Crap Out of Me

Bif greets me at the door every night... and by that I mean every night. He's either at the door when I come in, or bounding at me as fast as his (not so little, any more) kitty paws can carry him. He immediately starts yowling in what I believe is both relief and scolding me for leaving him alone all day. He and I have a call-and-reply relationship: if either of us lets loose with a "Meow!" the other responds in turn.

So last night, I walked in the door and... no Bif. "Meow!?" Nada. "Meow!?" Nothing. Uh-oh. My heart froze. Then I thought I heard a muffled, piteous cry, but I wasn't really sure. "Is he trapped in the sofa?" I wondered. Walked over and gave a tentative call. No response. Lord. He's gone through a screen, and got out, or he's strangled himself. I was convinced I'd lost him.

As a reminder, he's spent a total of ten minutes of his life outdoors and I was keeping a pretty close eye on him, until a jay dive-bombed him, squawking loudly. He dove under a car, and I lost track of him. By the time I thought to look, he'd vanished. When I finally gave up looking, and went back to the apartment to get a book, planning to come back out and read while waiting for him to reappear, he was pawing madly at my door, trying to get back in.

You'd think that experience with the big, scary, outdoors was enough. You'd be wrong. It's still a game every morning to try to dodge through Lockwood's legs without being caught. He's succeeded quite a number of times, but he's almost always distracted by a new scent before he gets more than a few feet from the door. So he gets caught.

So I went out to the parking lot in back, and called. Nothing. Walked around the edges, calling. Nothing. Walked up to the front, steeling myself to walk the curb and finding his mangled body. Nothing. Called... and wait! There's that piteous howl again! Front door, and there he is, cowering on the basement landing (I'm on the midlevel). He shied away as I started down the stairs, but came bounding at me when he saw who it was. He has a habit of hugging when he's been frightened or feeling particularly affectionate, normally one of my arms. He's never wrapped his legs around my neck and hugged like he did last night. Once we got indoors, he didn't seem terribly traumatized, but he sure acted that way until we got him back into familiar territory.

So my guess is that, for the first time, he won his little game yesterday. And he increased the total of his time spent outdoors by a factor of 42, much to my dismay. You'd think that was enough. You'd be wrong. This morning he seemed especially excited to make a run for it.

He got a foot in his face- not kicked, but a very firm stop. Two things: a squirt bottle to keep by the door, and a harness and tether for extensive walks in the rain.

He's an eminently trainable cat, for a cat, and my heart can't take this game any more.

No comments: