Sunday, July 1, 2012

The Cat Code of Secrecy

The yarn lady was confused by the variety of tabs she found open on her iPad.  She hadn’t used it since the night before, and unless she’d been surfing the web in her sleep *some*one else had been using the iPad.  The noisy girl had come over to drop off some bottled water, since her water wasn’t currently safe to drink, but if she’d used it there would be sites about anime or manga open, not historical sites about cats.  Had she been surfing in her sleep?  Did her unconscious want to visit far-off places?  Her conscious did, but certainly not Egypt.  She sat on the bed, wondering aloud who could have used the iPad.  Clementine, who was carefully grooming herself on the bed froze, and then casually looked at the ceiling.  The yarn lady followed her gaze, thinking that a bug must have flown in.  Then she looked at Clem, who wouldn’t meet her gaze. 

“Clem, were you using my iPad?”  Clem buried her head in the feather comforter.  She did that when she didn’t like something.  “It was you, wasn’t it?”  The yarn lady flipped the comforter up and Clem tried to give her a very innocent look.  It didn’t work; she looked guilty.  Not that it was wrong to use the iPad – the yarn lady let her play the fish catching game any time she wanted, but for her to know she could use it for more than a silly game that any baby could play…that was against the cat code of secrecy.   

Cats are secretive beings.  They don’t like humans to know what they are really thinking or doing.  All kittens master the ‘inscrutable’ look before they leave their mothers and head out into the world.  Adult cats work to develop a whole array of misdirection behaviors to hide their true actions and motives.  Humans see a cat lying in a sunbeam and think that cats like being warm.  The cats themselves know they are… well, I really can’t say, it’s a secret. 

The yarn lady was in the confidence of several cats who had broken that code.  She knew that Rudy and Peep could read and write, and had even helped both of them set up email accounts.  Now she wondered if her cat was also one who had learned to read, write and use a computer.  It could explain why she had been nearly arrested invaded last fall because of an email that threatened the President if folks didn’t stop killing turkeys for Thanksgiving.  Instead of some stranger hacking into her router, it had probably been her kitten who’d sent that email.  

Clem had burrowed under the covers again.  She’d slowly wormed her way until she was smack in the middle of the bed, under the largest lump of comforter.  Hopefully the yarn lady would figure Clem was asleep or in the bathroom closet, or perhaps had left for the moon.  Hands reached under the covers and gently lifted her.  The yarn lady lay back with Clem on her chest, which left the kitten nowhere to look other than the yarn lady’s face. 

The two stared at each other for a few moments, and then the yarn lady smiled.  “You know, it’s okay if you use my computer or the iPad and you don’t have to pretend you don’t know how.  You’re not the first cat I know who uses the internet, you know.  I helped Peep and Rudy set up their email, and I help them with other things from time to time.  Your secret is safe with me.”  She gently stroked Clem’s head and little by little Clem relaxed.  The yarn lady was right.  No one would find out her secret.  And even if they did, who’d believe it?  They’d think it was just some story, right?  

No comments: