Autumn walked into my office.
“Hey!” she said loudly.
“Hey!” she said again.
“Hey, I noticed that there was no wet food in my bowl so… yeah. Maybe you could make that happen?” she asked me.
“There’s no food in your bowl because you don’t get wet food for another four hours,” I replied, not looking away from my laptop. “6 p.m. every night. You know that.”
“So does that mean now?” she asked. “Cats aren’t really good with time.”
I sighed heavily. “So I’ve noticed,” I replied looking down at her. “No, that does not mean now. It means later than now.”
“Why do you always speak in riddles?” she asked, looking annoyed.
“I suppose if you were an outdoor cat, you could just go catch a mouse or something,” I said distracted by the piece I was writing.
“Why would I do that?” she asked.
“Because, cats chase and eat mice,” I remarked. “It’s just… what cats do, I suppose.”
“Have you ever eaten a mouse?” she asked me.
I stopped typing. “Well… no, I haven’t,” I said thoughtfully. “But why does that matter? I’m not a cat.”
“Mice are disgusting,” she said. “They’re fun to play with, scurrying around and trying to hide like we can’t catch them. But I ate one once when I was a kitten. They’re all mushy and smelly on the inside. I like wet food.”
“You’re spoiled,” I said, turning back to my laptop.
“I’m spoiled because I don’t want to put something gross into my mouth?” she asked incredulously.
“Autumn, why would you care what you put into your mouth. You lick your own butt.”
She looked at me in shock. “Of COURSE I lick my own butt!” she exclaimed. “What are you trying to say? That I’m not clean? I lick my butt several times a day, thank you very much!”
“Well yeah, that’s kind of…” I started.
“And maybe it’s not my place to say,” she said reproachfully, “but I’ve noticed that you don’t lick your butt. I mean… ewwww!” Autumn made a disgusted face. (Which is not easy for a cat to do)
“Hey now,” I started again. “It’s not like that. I just don’t…”
“And since we’re talking about being clean, I’ve noticed that you haven’t been cleaning my litter box as often as you usually do. May I ask why?” she looked at me accusingly.
“Um…” I stammered. “I uh, I’ve been busy lately.”
“That’s strange,” she said in a sarcastic tone. “I see you sitting next to your big box, staring at your little window all day long. And since you’ve made it clear that you are not staring at birds with that thing, I can’t imagine how busy you could be.”
I sighed. “Ok, you’re right. I’ve been slacking off. I promise, I’ll clean your litter box today.”
“Does that mean now?” she asked, looking directly at me.
“It means later,” I said.
There was a short pause before I responded. “Yes, ok. Now.” I stood up to go clean her litter box. Autumn followed me.
“You know, lots of cats say humans can’t be trained, but I disagree,” she said proudly.
“Sometimes I think a rabid opossum would make a better pet than a cat,” I thought. This was not the first or last time this thought would cross my mind.