My house key nestles snuggly into its corresponding lock and twists with the pert snap of my wrist. I know the second I push my shoulder into the door to nudge it open, my cat, Chloe, will be lazily walking into the foyer. Dropping my keys and purse onto the kitchen counter, I’ll turn my head just in time to see her flop over on her back, stretching tiredly as if she has had the same full day I have. Next, she will inevitably yawn, her jaws seemingly unhinging widely like that of a snake as she rolls from side to side before finally looking up at me expectantly.
She knows I will drop to my knees and bury my face in her soft fur, murmuring “Hello, little kitten; was your day so very rough?”
This is only one routine of many we have down pat. On my busiest, most harried days, I possess an impractical jealousy of her easygoing life that makes me want to switch places with her – just for a day. Last night, I began thinking about what our routines would be like if we did briefly trade lives. Without a doubt, it’d go something like this:
7:45 a.m. The alarm clock has gone off three times. I strut into the bedroom and shake my collar loudly. What does “annoying” mean? Gosh, Cassie says that a lot. Better shake my collar again. “Hey! Hey, Cassie! Hey! Rise and shine; you gotta get to work and, well, quite frankly, I wanna lay in your bed!” (“Meeeeeooooow-rawr-rawr!!!”)
Side note: The way Chloe looks at me sometimes makes me fairly certain she would, in fact, say “quite frankly.”
7:47 a.m. I see Cassie is FINALLY getting up, so I instantly fall to the floor on my side and stretch innocently, as if it wasn’t my intention to wake her up at all. I then get tripped over. RUDE! Nothing like a little impromptu ankle biting to get our day off to a running start. (Cassie’s not the only one who can dominate a pun)
7:49 a.m. I race Cassie into the bathroom and attempt to jump onto the countertop, only to realize – WHOOPS – I’m not totally up, either (Just call me Pun Master). After crashing into the side of the counter face first, I am! Hah; she didn’t even know it was a race! I beat her good!
7:59 a.m. Lying in the sink is the best. Wait! No! Sitting in my chair by the window is the best! “Cassie! Watch what I can do!” I dig my paws repeatedly into the counter to get a good grip before jumping five feet across the bathroom, landing in the hallway. I am skilled.
8 a.m. Cassie applauds me with a slow clap that gets faster and faster. There. At least someone acknowledges my talents. Seemed a bit sarcastic though.
8:08 a.m. My curiosity gets the best of me. Back to the bathroom! Cassie is putting her hair into a side braid. AGAIN! She says her hair’s too long to mess with before work, but all I know is that you dress for the job you want and a side braid doesn’t exactly scream promotion. Looks like no cat food upgrade for me in the near future.
8:10 a.m. THIRSTY, THIRSTY, THIRSTY!!! Why conveniently drink water from my bowl when I can lick from the bottom of the bathtub spigot at an awkward angle? Brings me back to my gutter cat days. I may be living the life now, but I’ll never forget the streets where I came from – or take handouts! Cassie turned on the sink for me. Act like you don’t care. It doesn’t change your situation at all. You don’t need that fancy water. I turn back to the spigot, then make a dash for the sink. I express my gratitude by ignoring her as I try to lick water droplets slowly leaking from the faucet. I lick between droplets, missing a drink every time. It is, sadly, not the lowest point of my day.
8:15 a.m. Cassie’s finally gone. I poop in the dining room. (Ah, there it is) Oh, she’s gonna love this – I put a lot of heart into that one.
8:16 a.m. I race around the apartment with newfound speed and lightness. I am the epitome of the phrase, “quick as a cat.”
9:30 a.m. Actually, I am kind of exhausted. Nap time. I dive under the covers on the bed, making sure to clean all the kitty litter from my paws while I’m under there. MORE GIFTS!
11:58 a.m. I wake up from a nap, sensing it’s almost noon. I decide to look out the patio door windows and dutifully watch for rabbits in the garden to make up for lost time. Except…there are the rabbits. Where is the garden?
Noon: Foyer. Flop over. Stretch. Petted. This is the life.
12:05 p.m. I hide sneakily behind the bathroom door as Cassie discovers her present – surprises are always the best. Sometimes she gets so excited that she chases me around the apartment to give me hugs. At least, I think she wants to give me hugs. I’m certain she does. Yes, definitely. She says if I don’t watch it, I’ll be heading outside into the bitter cold of winter. Ooh! An outing!
12:10 p.m. Time to practice stalking. (As if I need to) I see Cassie’s terror from here when she notices I’m intently watching her. My eyes get wide as saucers, and she nervously darts hers away. She’s clearly never won a staring contest before. Ducking down, I set my sights on an arm dangling from the side of the couch. Dig into the carpet repeatedly. Once I hit attack mode, you can’t even see me coming.
12:11 p.m. I wonder for the umpteenth time what the upstairs neighbor thinks every time she hears Cassie roar, “CHLOE!” at the top of her lungs. Very lion-like. I approve.
12:15 p.m. I chase after a rolly-polly but quickly lose interest. Like miniature armadillos, they are. I then watch a spider meander its way into the bedroom and decide to let it be. Cassie loves spiders. I hear her yelling in excitement every time she sees one. Just another surprise.
1 p.m. She’s gone again. I head back to the bedroom to keep the bed warm while she’s gone. The things I do for that girl.
5:05 p.m. Foyer. Yawn. Belly rub. Life is still good.
6 p.m. Cassie’s working out. I decide to hide under the rug. Ha, she doesn’t even see me! Man, I’m shifty! For doing bar method every day, she is anything but graceful, I can’t help thinking as she nearly trips over me on her way outside to water the plants. I’m too good at hiding. I wonder how she feels being mediocre in the midst of superiority.
7 p.m. Maybe if I get even closer to her sandwich, I can snag a bit. Closer. Closer. I haven’t eaten in five minutes. FIVE WHOLE MINUTES! I might die at any moment from starvation. Cassie shoves me off the table and I retaliate with the snap of my teeth and a half-hearted “mrooowww!” We glare at each other for a minute straight as she takes a bit of her sandwich without even blinking or looking away. Touché.
7:15 p.m. Turkey, turkey, turkey! She holds out a piece and I snag it from her grip and let it fall to the floor. Half an hour later, I’m still stalking it as I bat, roll and lick it into the kitchen. Mmm…nothing like carpet hair and dust to add some flava! I get so excited that I race around the apartment, turning on a dime before smashing my head against the living room wall. Yikes. I hope no one saw that. See what no front claws have reduced me to!?! I’m an animal!!!
Oh, right. I am an animal. Stop worrying; everything’s OK.
7:20 p.m. Cassie’s lying on the couch looking super relaxed, so I have to do something – I know she hates not being busy. I promptly throw up the turkey in five different locations. It’s like a scavenger hunt! I’m a good friend. And she could be a sailor with the way she’s talking right now. Halloween IS just weeks away.
7:45 p.m. I assume three standard yoga positions as I clean my legs and tail. Cassie’s trying to get me to do the “Mufasa” face (teeth bared, lips high above them), but that only happens when I lick my tush and I already did that while lying on the bathroom counter earlier. And again on the couch. And once more on that blanket she’s huddling under. We surely are the cleanest animals, aren’t we? I think supremely.
8 p.m. Cassie and I watch TV on the couch. We’re best buds! She sighs and pets me until I nip at her fingers, lovingly, of course. She says she hates me and points threatening to the door. I think that means she really loves me; what she really hates is showing her real feelings. I nudge my head further under her chin. She sighs again, shakes her head and continues to pet me. Win.
10 p.m. I sit behind the shower curtain as Cassie showers, biting holes through the clear plastic so I can lick water through it. Although clearly a genius, I keep it real. The cool cats back home would be proud! I proceed to lose my balance and almost fall into the tub on three different occasions. Balance regained, I sharply meow at Cassie because this is all clearly her fault.
10:05 p.m. to 11 p.m. I decide to take a nap in the sink. The structure of the sink is conducive to a great cat curl. Ergonomic, even.
11:15 p.m. Guarding Clayton’s shoes diligently. I lay down on them and stick my face in each for minutes on end. Everything checks out.
11:45 p.m. Time for a rousing game of tag! I end up scaring the daylights out of Cassie as she attempts to hide behind a rocking gamer chair. I go soaring right over the top, front legs batting wildly like that of a jungle cat. I know she’s just a girl, but is all the screaming necessary?
12 a.m. Cassie takes off my collar. Oh, no. How am I going to wake her up tomorrow?! New game plan. Scratch the hell out of the hamper in her bedroom. It has a nice, scraping sound. Very loud. Very “annoying” as she put it earlier. Puuurrrfect replacement!
12:05 a.m. Bed time. I curl up on top of the computer chair and drift to sleep, dreaming of knocking over water glasses and stuff on shelves.