Back in October I got a laser pen, one of those things bright young lieutenants use to point out strategic spots on enemy-territory wall maps to the four-star generals they’re briefing. Presumably, they used a laser pen like mine to point out Tora Bora just before the president butted in and changed the mission so the bad guys got away.
Laser pens. Cool technology. Reminds me of The Jetsons. Weren’t they fun? I loved the flying cars and the robot housekeeper. Astro was a hoot…
Right. Laser pen. Mine is just for the cats. They chase the little, bright red dot it makes like it’s a yummy mouse.
At least, that was the idea. When I tried it, Kitty and Emma gave half-hearted chase a few times, then stopped. The disdainful looks they gave me just before they stalked off clearly said “what, you think we’re stupid?”
So I put the laser pen down on the table next to the recliner and went on with my life.
Fast-forward to a week ago. It was one of those days when my hips were so sore that walking was the kind of challenge that requires careful planning beforehand. I was flopped in the recliner, bored, trying not to think about my achy parts when my gaze fell on the laser pen. Hmmm. Maybe Mouse would like to chase the Light. Maybe she wouldn’t be insulted like those little snobs. Maybe she’d enjoy it for what it was: an excuse to play like a kitten.
Mouse loved it. Pretty soon she was tearing around, chasing the Light for all she was worth, obviously having a ball. Kitty and Emma watched, interested, their heads turning as the Light went this way then that, Mouse hot on the trail.
Suddenly Kitty–black, tail-less, lithe as a panther–leapt into the fray. Mouse backed off (Kitty is the alpha cat) and let her take over. It was beautiful, the way she stalked and pounced, turning on a hair, never taking her eyes off the Light. Emma joined in, far less competent but game (since Kitty was). Mouse, who’s in the omega spot, being the newest member of the little pack, backed off and tended to her grooming, content.
We played Chase the Light for about 20 minutes, until pressing the tiny button on the pen made my fingers and hand hurt too much. (Sheesh, ya know??) And since then we’ve played the game frequently. Kitty, in particular, seems to have forgotten that she thought it was Stupid at first.
In fact, as I write this, Kitty is meatloafed, facing me on the floor a couple of feet away. She’s perfectly still and staring at me, willing me to pick up the laser pen and make The Light appear so she can hunt. Understand: Kitty is and always has been standoffish. She prefers not to be petted. She feels lap-curling-up-in is for the rabble. She makes demands: “You! Open that door! I wish to explore The Porch.” To amuse herself, she opens kitchen cabinets and dresser drawers and doesn’t bother closing them. If she had opposable thumbs she’d be terrifying.
Until the lowly Mouse showed her the benefits of Catch the Light, I might as well not have existed in Kitty’s world.
Heh. Now I am the Holder of the Pen and Maker of the Light. She’s always within a couple of feet of me when I’m in the recliner. Sometimes she hops up onto the table, sits up tall like one of those Egyptian cat statues, and gazes at me with her dangerous amber eyes. She transmits urgency. “The Light. Pick up the Light. Make it Appear! Do it now, servant! Don’t forget I have claws like tiny curved scimitars …”
I’ve created a monster.