When I got up in the morning a week or so ago and went to the back door to get a look at the Waterfalls of Tremmelbach, I was greeted with a very quiet "mew". Looking around and not seeing a cat anywhere I continued to gaze at wonderment at the sight before me - those magnificent falls. Again I heard that tiny "mew". This time coming from under the rear deck. I went down the 4 steps to the ground and lo and behold, there was a very young kitten that looked to be on its last legs. I wondered if it's mother had come upon an accident of some kind or whether the kitten was just lost. In either case, I picked up the kitten and took it back into the house. Watching the kitten eat, clean itself, explore its surroundings and finally, lay down at the foot of my recliner; I began to think of all the other stray cats in the world and how few are fortunate to find homes, let alone on their own. Those that find their way into a "family" must have some sort of special gift or instinct that allows them to accomplish this. That got me to thinking on HOW that is accomplished and what follows is how I think it happens - with a few details changed from cat to cat, location to location, and family to family - including me.
When I was a very young kitten my mother had an unfortunate encounter with a car and I found myself alone in the world. I was not unduly disturbed or upset as I was intelligent and resourceful. However, after a couple of weeks living on a diet of revolting grub worms and insects, I came to the conclusion that the life I was more suited to was that of a house cat, so I set off on my search for the perfect house and family that I could take over.
After some diligent searching, and following my plan to the letter, I singled out a nice house that seemed to be inhabited by a man living alone as I observed no other humans in the immediate area, nor had I in the last couple of days I had cased the joint. This was the perfect set-up for a tiny, cute little female kitten with charm and beauty to burn. Upon further investigation, I saw that the man had a rather nice car in the garage. The garage was clean and tidy and the car was clean and polished. This man was obviously a person of some affluence. I then and there decided that this was the place for me. If a stray cat wants to take over a poor family living in a shack, that's their business, not mine. I had found the fabled city of El Dorado as far as I was concerned. Now to gain entry and become the queen of all I survey, knowing full well it would take all my feminine wiles to accomplish this feat.
I took up my position on the bottom step of the deck and waited patiently for the sound of footsteps coming to the door. In a flash, I bounded off the step and under the deck I went, there to roll around in the dirt a little to make myself as pathetic looking as possible without losing a gram of dignity. Upon hearing the man come out onto the deck, I let go with my most sorrowful voice. "Mew". "Hmmm, no response. Let's try that again", I thought. After an even more sorrowful mew, the man came down the steps and saw me. "Victory", I thought. The man pick me up very gently and carried me into MY house. "This is way too easy", I thought. "This guy doesn't stand a chance", I purred. The man set me down on the kitchen floor, took a small bowl from the cupboard, opened a can of tuna fish, emptied it into the bowl and set it down in front of me. "You've got to be kidding!", I thought. "Tuna for a stray cat? Have I ever fallen into a bed of roses!". After eating myself almost to the point of losing the tuna, I decided to explore my new kingdom. "Not bad at all", I thought. "Yep, this will do very nicely" and then and there decided that this was for me - a life of spoiled leisure.
A little later in the day, a woman, who I was later to learn was the wife of the man's close friend came into the house and saw me laying at the foot of MY man's chair. She made some remark about having a scruffy kitten in the house and how the man had always said he didn't want a pet and that cats would ruin the furniture and on and on ad nauseum. That got my attention really quick. "Maybe I have underestimated this guy", I thought. At about that time, one of those miserable (to a kitten out in the open) spring cloud bursts that plague the high alpine meadows this time of year, came roaring down on the landscape. The lady from next door picked me up and headed for the back door, panic welling up inside me. "Save me, save me", I thought to the man as the door opened and the lady prepared to drop me into the deluge. "Hold on just a minute", the man said as he took me from the evil clutches of the wicked witch. "You can't throw that poor creature out into that weather", he said. "Look how the poor thing is shaking with fright", he said. Actually, I was shaking to keep from laughing out loud.
One of the most important things a kitten or cat must master if it is to be successful in taking over a home is the right attitude to use at the proper time and place. This will ensure the total subjugation and domination of everything in the kingdom, humans and objects alike. Poses, expressions, play of the body and features are all orchrastrated into a finely tuned manner in which you remain at all times alluring, fascinating, charming, pleasing, lovely and sweet. This is critical if you are to rule instead of being ruled. For instance, I can't tell you how effective the innocent "meow" can be when combined with the wide blue eyes and the perfectly poised sitting posture can be for breaking down human resistance. The effect is staggering! The human appears shaken to the core and will give you practically anything, for it creates a sense of helplessness that goes directly to the heart of the man. A word of warning is in order here. Do Not use this technique to excess. Reserve it for those times when you want to reestablish your dominance, like after you have been in trouble for some perceived "crime against the slave or slaves, i.e. humans in the house. Actually, any appeal to his vanity as god-like givers of things to small, so-called "helpless" creatures such as myself may be rewarded with larger portions and nicer "rewards". It also helps if you can keep them from seeing the scenario in its true light, namely, the extent to which I have utterly dominated my "man servant".
There are times, at the beginning of the subjugation, that you will invaribly find yourself in a battle over "property rights". This not only includes all the furniture and other objects d' art, but the very person of the man in the house. The first night in the house, I deciced to test thew theory of said rights and climbed up onto the recliner, leaving minute claw marks on my ascent. The next morning the man came down and saw me laying in his favorite chair. He got his morning beverage and sat down on the loveseat next to the chair. From that moment on the recliner was mine.
So that's how it goes, folks. let one of those devious little creatures into your house and heart and you have any number of years ahead of you - full of laughs, curses, hairballs and litterboxes to clean. But in the end it is always worth it, at least to me and that sorry looking kitten that took over my house in less than a day.