Herding the cat

Until Wednesday morning, the larger world for Cuddles, our cat of tender years, was the garage. Every once in a while, she would follow Nancy out there, where she would pretend to be content without us. It wasn't always possible to capture her and return her to the kitchen, but there were ways to entice her. Sometimes, the sound of dry cat food rattling in her dish would bring her back. If that didn't work, shunning her usually did. Cuddles, you see, has no problem ignoring us, but she will not be ignored.

On Wednesday, though, Cuddles, for the first time, walked out the front door into the cool morning air. Nancy, who was about to leave for work, attempted unsuccessfully to get the frisky feline back in the house. Needing to be on her way, however, Nancy called out the posse - Aaron. Cuddles huddled under the ramp for several minutes and then made a few quick forays into the neighbor's yard before Aaron snagged her and returned her to the safety of our humble home.

This weighed on my mind yesterday as I was about to leave for my writing class, but Cuddles was upstairs with Aaron watching the World Cup. Well, she was until I was about to yell upstairs to let Aaron I was going. As I was approaching the stairs, Cuddles was coming down. Curses!!! She laid down a few feet from me and let me, with the aid of my three-wheeled walker, get close to her. Why she even let me bend down and reach out to her to grab her. Then, just before I had her in my grasp, she moved another few feet from me. This happened three or four times. But I am a biped, and she, while cuter and more agile, is a mere quadruped. Using my walker to cut off a number of possible escape routes, she was forced to frustrate my attempts by moving closer and closer to the basement steps. Of course, she thought she was drawing me into her own little strategic ploy. When she got to the steps, she hurried down to the bottom, looked up to the ambulationally challenged fellow at the top of the stairs and said without a trace of humility, "Game, set, match!!!!" I shut the basement door, smiled a gloating smile and went on my way.

Pulling my legs into the car, I realized the monumental nature of what had happened: I had herded a cat. It was such an exciting moment, and I kept replaying the scene in my mind as I headed out Route 20 to Conneaut. Somewhere in North Kingsville I returned to reality for a moment and noticed a light on the dashboard. I looked again and realized it was the seat-belt light. In my exhilarated state, I had neglected to put on my seat belt. An unwise thing to do, but understandable given the circumstance: it's not often one can bend a cat's will to his.

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