The official uglY cOUsin cat, Chauncey, suffered a great trauma this week, leaving a trail hair, one slightly askew tray, and lingering guilt.  It began, as they say in poorly written stories, on a normal summer evening. The TV projected easy to ignore cooking competitions as I and L sat staring at phones and thinking about slumber.  Chauncey lay next to L on his designated blanket, already nodded off, luxuriating in a way only cats can.  It had been a long, hard day for the cat.  He had sat outside staring at things and napping for nearly nine hours.

L decided to pet the cat, which is a hobby of hers.  She is no longer able to crochet.  As she ran her hand along Chauncey’s back, he flew upward, as if his body had become an angry spring.  His eyes opened slightly farther than is possible.  His hair stood up so far, it appeared to be launching tiny missiles from his body.   Alert Russians thousands of miles away considered a counter-attack. His sprung body twisted as it bolted upward, a move that must have inspired the Tasmanian Devil.  On the way down, part of him hit the ottoman, part the tray on the ottoman, and part L’s legs.  He hit the floor already paddling at thirty miles an hour.

Bam, he was in the parlor.  Yes, we have a parlor, though I only call it that when writing news stories about the cat.

L went to comfort him and brought him back to the couch in her arms.  As soon, as he got near the blanket, he became a spring again.  He became an electric explosion of hair, claws, teeth, and confusion.  Once again, after cutting his way out of L’s arms, he landed on the ottoman, knocked the tray, and flew into the parlor.  His claws on the rug sounded like forty kids wadding up newspaper.  I have to say, that as far as defense mechanisms go, the cat method is pretty solid.  If I were actually attacking a cat and he got all crazy like that, I would think twice about pursuing.

For two days so far, the cat has been skittish and has avoided the room where the incident occurred–only skirting its edges with caution en route to his food bowl.  Fresh catnip brought him back temporarily near the scene of the crime, but it seems that the blanket is still haunted.  We may have to summon a cat exorcist.

We have speculated that the cat was having some sort of intense danger dream and that the gentle hand proffered became a claw of death in the confusing transition between sleep and wakefulness.  Who really knows what evil lurks in the sleeping minds of cats?  We have generally thought that cats have happy dreams about catching things and rolling in nip.  When the cat’s paw twitches, we imagine he is dreaming of a victorious pursuit.  Apparently, we are mistaken.  L, of course, feels guilty about the part her hand played in all of this.  I will try to reassure her that she was not at fault as soon as I fully trust that hand of hers.  It does look a little suspicious.

How long will the monsters on the blanket linger?  Maybe long enough that we start to worry that the cat knows something we don’t.  Are we safe sitting there mindlessly watching chefs race around grocery stores for cash prizes?  Should we sell the couch?  Move?  Only time will tell.  We will keep all of you updated on the situation as continues to unfold.