Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Okay, it REALLY can't get any worse

Ursula was starting to get used to the yarn lady's new home.  From her base under the tall four-poster bed, she made forays into the living room where the yarn lady was knitting or using her computer.  She'd pad into the living room, twine herself around the yarn lady's legs and check out another corner of the room.  From time to time she'd look in on Tatum, who was still under the couch.  "Are you going to stay there all week?  This place isn't half bad, you know."  No reply - Tatum's eyes were as big as saucers, and Ursula figured he was suffering from the cat version of PTSD.  In her mind, he just needed to relax. 

After exploring the living room, Ursula stood in the doorway to the kitchen, tail lashing.  Why was the floor different in there?  She loved the dark red wood floors in the bedrooms and living room.  If she ran a bit, she could slide if she stopped suddenly.  It was like the new tile floor in the kitchen at home, except this stuff was even slipperier.  But that kitchen floor, she wasn't sure about that.  She took a step on it, but backed up quickly, and sniffed at the flooring.  Did it smell funny?  Was it that it wasn't wood like the other floor?  She wasn't sure, but she didn't like it.  Ursula poked at the floor a bit.  It supported the yarn lady's weight, so she was pretty sure it wouldn't collapse.  It wasn't sticky, or ouchy.  Then the sun came out from behind a cloud and a bright ray of sun hit the kitchen floor.  That was it!  It was too shiny.  It almost hurt her eyes where it reflected the sun.  She carefully sidestepped the sunbeam and did a perimeter search of the kitchen.  No mouse holes.  Good.  Washer/dryer - nice for the yarn lady, irrelevant to her.  Stove, sink, dishwasher.  Ursula figured the yarn lady probably didn't use this one any more than she had at home.  Daddy and the noisy girl were perfectly happy to use dishwashers, but not the yarn lady. 

Having completed her inspection of the kitchen she returned to report on all her findings to Tatum, hoping to reassure him.  She found the yarn lady lying on the floor talking to him.  He was still just staring, not answering.  He was obviously breathing, but just too terrified to do anything.  After a while the yarn lady tried to entice him out with water, food and then even poked him with the dustmop handle.  She stared at him a bit more and picked up her phone.  "Val, I think I have a problem.  I think Tatum is stuck under the couch.  Can you help me get him out?" 

Ursula went over to Tatum.  "Are you stuck?  Is *that* the problem?" 

Tatum didn't even blink.  Ursula shook her head, and went back in the bedroom.  She just didn't understand him sometimes.  If he needed help he should just ask. 

Val arrived within a few minutes.  The yarn lady was lucky to have her for a friend.  She just picked up the end of the couch, and Tatum scooted out.  Then he found his voice.   "It took you long enough to figure out I was stuck!  Can you imagine me, a claustrophobic cat, stuck under a couch, for days, weeks even?  How long were you going to leave me there?  I'm surprised I'm not dead - I haven't eaten in I don't know how long.  I couldn't even tell you - I was smooshed so bad that I couldn't even cry out for help!  What kind of cat mommy are you?"  Then to his dismay, Val picked him up and tried to calm him down.  He barely *knew* this lady, and she's picking him up??  The yarn lady took him from Val and brought him into the bedroom, where he squirmed and ran into a closet.  No more low spaces for him. 

Ursula looked in and said, "Chill, Tatum.  It wasn't weeks, or even days.  You were under there for maybe a day, and how were we supposed to know you were in trouble?  You didn't tell us.  And the yarn lady is a great cat mommy.  She figured out there was a problem and fixed it."  She stalked off and plopped on the rug next to the bed. 

After Val had gone home, Tatum calmed down.  He prowled the room, swatted at Ursula, just for form's sake and jumped up on the bed, where the yarn lady lay reading.  "I'm sorry I yelled at you.  I know you were trying to help me, and I do appreciate it."  He lay down pressed against her and purred his best purr.  She'd understand that, even if she didn't understand his words.

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