Thursday, May 26, 2011

Cat space

[Note: I just got home for work. Thus I shall regale you with this tale rather than the regular programming you usually see here.]

You likely know about Sock Space, the mysterious place into which one sock of a pair of socks disappears, leaving lonesome socks cluttering your socks drawer waiting for a mate to re-appear from Sock Space. Well, this post is about something else entirely: Cat Space. Ah, “cat space”, that mysterious space into which cats disappear when they’re annoyed or just don’t feel like interacting with people.

When I moved from Arizona to California, I had everything all packed up in the U-Haul, and my pickup truck on the trailer behind the U-Haul. There was nothing left to do but put the cats into their carriers and put them in the cab of the U-Haul with me (separate carriers — Mencken gets rather annoyed if forced to spend too much time in close proximity with TMF, and fur tends to fly if he can’t move away and get some Mencken-space).

So TMF was easy enough. Remember, the house is empty other than their cat box, water bowl, and kitty carriers. I walked around, spotted TMF looking out the back window at the kitteh theater (the birds flittering around in the fruit trees in the back yard), grabbed him, and put him into his carrier (easier said than done but my technique — back him in by pushing on his nose — works fine with a bit of nudging of his hindquarters to guide them, cats don’t like humans pushing on their nose and back up to get away).

Okay one cat down. Now… where’s Mencken? I walked every single room of the house and looked into every closet, including up on the shelves. No Mencken. The house is empty, remember, other than the washer/dryer and the refrigerator. Next thing I wondered was whether I'd managed to close a kitchen cabinet door on him when I'd opened all the cabinets to make sure they were empty, then closed them again one by one. So I checked the kitchen cabinets *again*. No Mencken.

Okay, laundry room. Maybe he's behind the washer/dryer or even *in* them. I pulled them out and looked behind them, pounded on the back, heard no complaints from offended Mencken, so pushed them back in and opened up the front doors and looked inside. No cat.

I walk into the kitchen and pull out the refrigerator to see if he somehow managed to sneak behind or under it. No cat. I am baffled. Did he somehow sneak out the door while I was cleaning out the last few boxes of small stuff when I walked the house the last time? So I walk outside and walk the perimeter of the house, calling out "cat, cat, cat cat cat! Here kitty!" That had the same effect as calling him by name. I.e., none.

Baffled, I grab one of the last two cold sodas in the refrigerator and sit down on the steel folding chair that is the last piece of furniture left in the house. Where could Mencken be? It's been an hour since I started looking, and I was supposed to be on the road an hour ago! I sadly consider the thought of having to make up missing-cat posters and drive right back with them once I get my computer equipment plugged in at the new place so I can make them.

Bored and finished with my soda, I start checking the cabinets *again*, just to have something to do while pondering the horrible thought that Mencken escaped out the door and is never going to be seen again. I start opening kitchen cabinets again to verify a *second* time that I haven't left anything behind. I have every cabinet open except the cabinet over the refrigerator, the one too high to open without standing on something. I grab the steel folding chair and stand on it and open that cabinet. Mencken stares back at me.

I swear that he wasn’t there the first time I checked. I swear I closed the cabinet door after checking to see if that cabinet was empty. So where was he? Well, that's simple: he was hanging out in “cat space”. Sorta an alternate universe that cats can disappear into when they absolutely, positively don’t feel like being found.

-- Badtux the Cat-owned Penguin


  1. Cats

  2. Had Mencken been with you in a move before? Sounds like he liked the AZ house to me.

  3. Mencken had lived in that house ever since I adopted him from the Arizona Humane Society. He simply doesn't like change, and disappears into Cat Space if things get too disturbing for him.

    - Badtux the Cheshire-cat-owned Penguin

  4. Oh,no,no,no BadTux!

    Cats hide in TIME!
    Mencken just moved forward two hours - with the intention of shortening his journey time in the truck - and waited for you to CATch up.

    Had you driven off immediately, Mencken would have materialised 2 hours later in the truck!

  5. It's very stressful, moving cats. The only enjoyment to get out of such an awful day is watching them investigate the new digs. I had the joy of watching my two discover stairs for the first time in their lives.

    Cats like stairs. Particularly, carpeted ones.

    I'd hate to imagine a house designed by cats...

  6. Cats are the most massive particles which exhibit quantum behavior.

  7. Kittahs know some Tesslerian secret of disappearance.

  8. Interesting, and quite amusing.

    I think Stu either misunderestimates cats, or doesn't fully understand the space-time continuum.

    Cats, so far as I know, are unique in their ability to exploit all aspects of the chronosynclastic infundibulum.

    JzB who really doesn't give a rat's ass about cats

  9. Your story reminds me of our cat, Misty. We lived in the country, and there was all sorts of hazardous wildlife, so she was an indoor cat. One day, no Misty. We ransacked our trailer, all 12 by 60 feet of it. No Misty. I was terrified she had sneaked out, and we would never see her again. Now, Misty was "full figured". She was not a tiny kitty. There were only so many places she could hide. I did not reckon on Cat Space. Out of desperation, I climbed on a chair and looked down behind a bookcase. There was about 3" clearance between it and the wall, and less than that from the floor, yet in that tiny space was Misty, looking placidly up at me, as if to say, "What?" Obviously, she had travelled through Cat Space to get in there.

  10. Our late kitty Odetta, a 7-lb hellion, was adept at using Cat Space and did it on a daily basis. Her ability to appear in closed drawers was legendary. The only sure way of finding her was to wander about the house scraping a bowl with a spoon; that meant "ice cream" and she would appear spontaneously from Cat Space. There'd damn well better be a little ice cream in that bowl, however.

  11. Something similar happened to me once. Combed the house and yard for over an hour. Finally gave up and asked the soon to be ex neighbor to watch for her and when we got to the truck the cat was lying on the seat, having crawled in and staked out her space and (she thought) avoiding the carrier.

    Opened one eye and glared as if "Where the hell have YOU guys been?".


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