Mad as a cat

Jill Pertler

She was mad – one might even describe it as cataclysmically livid. She focused her ire at the entire family and made us aware of her displeasure with a decidedly cold shoulder and stiff whiskers. We all knew the cause of her chagrin and weren’t about to give in to her demands. She gave us a silent, loathing stare with piercing green eyes, while standing expectantly by the back door. Her intense gaze was unrelenting. As were we.

None of us was about to back down, despite the death wishes she was throwing our way via her highly-evolved extrasensory perceptive skills.

As I alluded earlier, the reason for her fury was no mystery. Her backyard privileges had been nixed due to a persistent and unwavering habitual pattern of behavior we found unacceptable and downright murderous. Simply put, we refused to let her chase birds in hopes of killing them via a game she calls “play.”

That got her goat. Boy, did it ever. She loves chasing birds – is practically passionate about the practice. That’s only the start. She displays the same morbid behavior with mice, snakes and even the occasional common housefly. She acts like it’s in her DNA or something.

I suppose it’s to be expected. She is a cat. Birds and cats are mortal enemies, with cats typically being at the higher end of the food chain, giving her the definite upper hand – or outstretched claw as the case may be.

Still, when not hunting, she’s so refined. So postured and polished. So proper in the way she holds her tail. So dainty in the manner she nibbles her cat treats. So sophisticated in the way she jumps up on the TV table to block our view. Even when sleeping, she exhibits a certain amount of elegance. Like that of royalty.

When her fixed gaze failed to bore a hole through any of our skulls, she relented to naughtiness, clawing at the wooden door, the carpet, couch and anything else she could reach. She can be a sassy frass that way.

We told her she was being naughty. She disagreed, telepathically, of course.

Then, still furious and fuming, she picked herself up on her delicate cat paws and sashayed out of the room. I figured she had in mind to go upstairs and poop on our bed. It’s what I would have done, had I been an angry cat. But cats are too neat for public pooping. She had something much more powerful in mind.

She was going to ignore us. Oh, the pain.

Cats are so smart.

I noticed her un-presence with the familial group the rest of the evening. She came down for her nightly treat, but otherwise remained in an undeterred reject-human mode. Then the sun set and it was time for bed and she was still AWOL. We aren’t sure where she spent the night, but it wasn’t with us. Maybe she was hunting inside – for spider webs and dust bunnies.

We’ll never know. The next morning she was back to her loving and royal self. Rubbing up against our legs, flipping her tail in a cat dance and standing by the back door, expectantly. We pretended not to notice her lust for the hunt.

She’s full of surprises, this tiny, sometimes angry, cat of ours. It seems like she’d be more comfortable wearing a tiara, not using a pair of razor-sharp claws. Then again, I suppose princesses have been known to hunt. And get mad – mad as a cat. And now I know what that looks like. Categorically.


Jill Pertler is an award-winning syndicated columnist, published playwright, author and member of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists. Don’t miss a slice; follow the Slices of Life page on Facebook.