Thursday, November 03, 2005

The Ghost Cat

When I posted about my spirit visitor the other day, I mentioned a ghost cat, intending to save the story for another time, but Becky, Caity, and Elle wanted to hear more, so I'll tell it now instead of waiting for another Halloween. Consider this a post-Halloween dessert or something! First you have to know some background. When we first moved here, we had two cats. Our senior cat was Itchy and our junior cat was EDKSky. They had a rocky relationship sometimes, but they also loved to play with each other. Well, ok, EDKSky loved to play and Itchy would sometimes condescend to tolerate his games and then end up enjoying them in spite of herself. One of their favorite games was to stalk each other. Sky would usually start it. Itchy would be laying around somewhere, minding her own business and Sky would sneak up on her, crouching and tail twitching, and then he'd pounce! She'd hiss or yowl and jump up and take off running with Sky chasing her. Then at some point she'd whip around the corner of a room or a piece of furniture, out of his sight. She'd peek out at him, tail twitching, and when he came into view, it would be her turn to pounce and chase. Then they'd switch again. They could keep it up for ages! Here's a photo of them together when we were in the process of building our current house: EvilDemonKittySky and ItchyPussy (J was responsible for naming her, not me!) One day a few years ago, Itchy disappeared. We'd gone out of town to J's dad's funeral and had a neighbor stopping in every day to check on the furkids and refill their food and water. The first day he came by, he opened the door and Itchy made a break for it and we never saw her again. I think coyotes probably got her, but I have no way to know for sure. But I still dream about her pretty often - more often than any other pet I've lost in fact, even my favorite-ever dog, Rebel. And one day, not all that long after she disappeared, I noticed that Sky was playing "their" game, apparently all by himself. He crouched, tail twitching, watching a seemingly empty spot on the couch. Then he pounced and started chasing...well...nothing (to my eyes) all through the house, before stopping and looking like he was stalking something again and then he jumped and hissed and started running, like something was chasing him. I still saw only Sky. He kept it up for a while though, just like when he and Itchy used to play the Stalk the Kitty game. And that wasn't the only time he's done this, merely the first time. A few times a year I'll see him enthusiastically playing the hunting game he played with Itchy, apparently solo. That isn't the kicker though. The kicker is that summer before last J and I had a house guest who is known for being a bit psychic. We had a pleasant first-day's visit, including introducing him to EDKSky and all the dogs. The next morning, when he wandered out of the guest room, one of the first things he said to me was "Why didn't you introduce me to the other cat?" Me (looking confused): "Huh?" Him (looking a bit confused now too): "Don't you have another cat?" Me: "Uuuuhh...no, not right now. Why? Did you see another cat?" Him: "It jumped up on my bed last night and curled up down by my feet and laid there and purred while I talked to it." Me: "Are you sure it wasn't Sky?" Him: "This cat was striped." Me: "...." So now when I see EDKSky playing Stalk the Kitty all by himself, I say hi to Itchy, just in case she can hear me.

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