Genetically programmed, the whole lot of us.
For the last few weeks our bathtub has contained a four-inch-high pond of standing water. A strange, industrial flower blooms from the southern edge of the tub. The base of the flower is a brilliant orange, built of a rubber lid opener and a washcloth. Two glossy green stalks rise halfway up the tub walls, economy-sized bottles of Garnier Fructis hair products. Our bath has a slowly leaking plug. This plastic flower arrangement is the only way to keep the water in the tub for more than an hour. It’s also the most effective cat deterrent we’ve yet designed in our war against the kitten.
Humans are made to battle, each other, their surroundings even themselves. I’ve listened to enough Radio Lab and attended enough therapy to understand our minds are built of warring part-selves. Each “self” screams or laughs or simply ignores its surroundings. Opinions are rampant. The loudest voice generally wins. However, for the last month, all that personal noise has been out-shouted by a orange-marmalade kitten.
A list of exciting kitten behavior follows. If we leave our bedroom door open, she toilets on our bed. If we take away the pile of stuff we’ve barricaded along the length of our fine Ikea sectional couch, she pees on it. If we leave the tub empty, she claims it as her liter box. We’ve talked to our vet and given her a course of antibiotics “just in case” it was a physical problem. We’ve even bought extra liter boxes and plastic containers of liter-box herbs guaranteed to attract this latest cat. Then, of course, there are all the sprays.
At the moment, we seem to have reached a truce of sorts. It feels like the Christmas-Day calm in the WWI trenches just before the fighting resumed. It is not going to last.
This could be just another “pet gone wrong” story, but I don’t think so. I can feel it pressing in on me. The nighttime baths after I’ve drained away the pet barricade. The BBC America DVDs of Being Human I watch half-submerged in water. That floaty feeling of transformation. It’s cyclical, the tumbling decay of memory brought on by too little sleep and too much pressure. I’m composing words while I drive, more throughout the corners of my day. Few of those words make it onto the page. That’s okay. In fact, it’s necessary. It’s time to take the everyday, the bathtub common and let all that pressure morph it into some sort of black-winged butterfly that hovers too close, feeding on the exhalations of my breath. It’s time to let the cat do her magic.