Kitty Tag

The midnight adventures of my three felines

Photo by Julian Guttzeit on Unsplash

I have three cats. They like to hang out on the couch with me or by the windows to watch birds in the trees nearby. That may seem calm and serene, but trust me, they are crazy active at night. It shouldn’t be a surprise. Cats, as a species, tend to hunt in the evenings. It’s in their DNA to be active at night. After all, kittens learn to hunt by playing with each other. For these characters, it seems that instinct never diminished.

Most afternoons, my cats tend to nap like college students at the end of finals week. They don’t fool me though. I know they are resting up for the games that will follow once the sun goes down and I’m ready for bed.

As I drift off to sleep around midnight, I hear the not-so-gentle scraping of paws on the mirror attached to my bedroom door. It’s my blind kitten, Scout. She’s recently picked up this habit. I have no idea why. “It’s okay, Scout,” I call to her. After a few minutes, She stops scraping her paws. I watch her silhouette as she scampers off in the darkness.

It’s quiet again. I roll over on my side and close my eyes. This time, as I’m about to drift off, I hear tiny bells clang against the linoleum in the hall. It’s Scout again. She’s at the other end of the condo playing with a little ball that has bells inside it. Since she’s blind, I thought it would be a good idea to find toys that make noise so she can find them when she’s playing. I never considered what that would mean to my sleep routine. The clanging becomes louder and more frequent. Two are better than one, right? I bought a two-pack of those balls. She’s found the second one and is playing with both of them. Sleep is not going to happen, not yet anyway.

Soon the clanging of little bells is replaced with the sounds of paws stomping across the living room floor. A rather raucous game of tag has broken out. Hermione and Harper, two littermates and best friends, are engaged in a late-night game of tag. They chase each other down the hall and back. And over every chair and table in the condo. They pause only to change direction — the chaser becoming the chased. There are several rounds of this game.

I guess I’ve gotten used to the constant galloping of little paws, as I can feel myself about to fall asleep. Suddenly, I hear a loud banging sound. It’s consistent with the sound of a cat or two running full speed into the vertical blinds. That sound is followed by a series of hissing sounds. Only one of my three cats hisses like that. It’s got to be Harper. She hisses whenever Scout’s within swiping distance. That means one thing. Scout is attempting to join the game of tag in a way only she knows how — by pouncing at Harper while she’s hiding from Hermione. I’ve witnessed it before. Harper and Scout probably crashed into the vertical blinds in the living room as Harper was trying to escape.

I’m now wide awake and contemplating if my downstairs neighbors are as well.

Time will tell… After a few minutes, it’s quiet again.

But only for a moment.

I hear the sounds of paws scampering across the floor. This time, there’s a THUMP, followed by a low growl. I recognize the sound. It’s Hermione. She growls at Scout when they are play-fighting. I’m still trying to figure out if she’s mad or if she’s playing. I sometimes wonder if she’s figured out that Scout can’t see, and is doing her best to include her. That growl could be Hermione’s way of telling Scout where she is. I like to think my cats only have good intentions.

This latest play-fight now includes all three cats. Soon, Harper bows out before Scout gets too aggressive. But there are more growls and I hear a hissing sound. That means one of them is playing too rough. I suspect little kitty feelings are getting bruised. I was so close to getting to sleep too.

I get out of bed and attempt to soothe the kitty psyches. Hermione is sitting in a chair with Scout below her ready to pounce.

Harper is running away from both of them. I catch Scout in mid-pounce and hold her baby style. She lets out a few purrs, but her calm demeanor is short-lived. She squirms and I place her back on the floor. I go over and pet Harper, who weaves her body between my legs a few times. I can tell the hissing came from her. I pick her up and attempt to soothe her. Harper starts squirming so I place her on the couch. Hermione and Scout are now in the middle of a stare-down.

At this point, I’m not sure if I’ll ever get any sleep tonight. I put some food in their bowls as a last-ditch effort to calm them down. I’m hoping the midnight snack will lead to a midnight food coma. They scamper over to the food and quiet overtakes the condo. I make tracks for my bed and slowly drift off to sleep.

The next morning, I wake up — bleary-eyed. Hermione, Harper, and Scout stare at me from the foot of the bed, ready for another day.

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