I have a cat; her name is Pandora. We met while I standing in a parking lot with a friend in Udine, Italy. A man in his 30s stumbled up to us looking completely shocked and uncomfortable, bleeding from his hand which held a tiny kitten.
“I just found this cat in the hood of my car but I’ve never had a cat I don’t know anything about them and I’m bleeding and I really need to go to a pharmacy because it scratched me really bad but what do I do with this cat?” he said.
“I guess I’ll take it,” I replied.
Little did I know, as I took that animal and caught a bus home with a frantically meowing purse, that my life had changed forever.
Since then, Pandora and I have been a family. I almost wrote “best buds” but that is absolutely not true because she can be incredibly annoying for months at a time (and I’m sure I get on her nerves) but we stick together.
Pandora is an Italian cat, but in our two and a half years together we have moved several times and currently we find ourselves in Virginia. She has adjusted very well and likes it here a lot.
In the mornings I go to work and she goes outside. When I pull up in the evenings, she comes running from wherever to greet me and then stays inside the rest of the night usually. She sleeps with me. During the week, this is all I know about her routine.
On the weekends, I can observe her for longer periods. There was a time when I expected some crazy revelation about what she does with her days – maybe she has a second family I don’t know about, or terrorizes bald eagles while I’m away.
As it is, she is either A) extremely good at throwing me off her trail, or B) a pretty boring cat. I’m inclined to think it’s option B, but then again Lois Lane never suspected Clark Kent was Superman, so I could be wrong.
Yesterday the weather was a shocking 70 degrees in February, so Pandora and I spent the majority of the day outside. My shocking report after hours on end of almost continuous observation is as follows: she does pretty much nothing. She goes outside and sits on the root of a tree for a good 15 minutes. Then she walks to the backyard and sits in a patch of weeds for another 10. She stalks some invisible prey, moving so impossibly slowly that my friend and I actually thought maybe there was some glitch in the matrix and Time itself had come close to stopping. She comes over to where I sit on the porch, a peppy spring in her step, as if she has been exerting herself more than usual for the past 45 minutes, and would now appreciate some recognition and perhaps a snack? Sadly, I have naught to offer but a tomato and Pandora, like many 2-year-olds, detests tomatoes. So she heads back out for the next item on her agenda: sitting on the roof of my friend’s car like some impractical gargoyle. This activity can take close to an hour to complete, barring any external interference. After that, she may sit at the top of a tree for a while, or hide under the porch and jump out at me whenever I walk by – it depends on how she’s feeling.
As far as I can tell, the only real excitement she ever experiences is when she gets attacked by a rival cat. To her long-term detriment, Pandora spent the first year of her life with my sister’s dog, Rudy.
Rudy is a German Shepherd-Husky-Greyhound mix, and when they lived together, was obsessed beyond reason with my cat and keeping her safe at all times. So Pandora never really learned to defend herself.
My resilient little kitten is, however, pretty good at avoiding death (except for that one time when she gorged herself on rat poison) and maiming, so I’m not too worried. Running for her life from cats who obviously were not the runt of their litter seems to be her only real cardio. And really she could use more of it, because she has gotten pretty chubby lately (the photos I used are a few months old – trust me, she has no chin anymore).
And in case anyone was worried, if fights with other cats get out of hand, I do intervene. As of this post, I am the reigning dominant cat in the neighborhood.