I hear the humans starting to move. It’s still dark outside, but maybe it’s time for them to get up. I’ve been waiting patiently for so long now. I’m hungry. Don’t they understand my needs? Again, they are moving. The Male gets out of bed and heads to do his elimination. I jump off the couch and come give him support. He finishes, but instead of feeding me he goes back to bed. I give a cry, “Whyyyyy.” No response. I am in hell. But wait, the Female is stirring. Surely she will get up and provide me with the nourishment I so desperately need. Yes, she is getting up and makes the click of the machine that helps them wake up. I don’t understand that contraption, but it does signal the imminent arrival of my special morning food. But wait, she goes and does her elimination. Why must I wait? Whyyyyyyyy? Finally, after what seems like an eternity, she finishes and heads to the place where my special glass bowl is. Yes. Now. Now. Nowwwwwww. Why doesn’t she move faster? Nowwwwwww. Now. The cold box is opened and she pulls out the can with the fishy water that is poured over my kibble. Nowwwwwww. She sets it down and I finally have my breakfast; a kibble, tuna water fusion. She goes back to bed. I eat my breakfast with relish, savoring every fishy tasting morsel. I get back onto the couch and proceed to clean my face. After a while the humans both start to stir again. The contraption on the counter is finished making its noise, and there is a distinctive aroma in the air. It calls to them, and they finally respond by getting out of bed. Again, I get off the couch and request more breakfast; Now, Noww, Nowwwwwww. But they ignore me. Will this torture never end? The Male takes his liquid from the contraption and goes down to his cave of solitude. The Female takes hers back to their bed. She starts playing with some flat plastic toy with a screen. If she taps on it long enough it warms up, but she won’t let me lay on it. I don’t understand this negligent behavior. But if I’m pushy enough she will let me lay on her arm. I curl up and and relax knowing she is right beside me.
I have recently discovered a new high place where I can go and look over my kingdom such as it is. The journey is arduous; I must jump on two pieces of furniture then onto the platform and over hills of black plastic. It makes a lot of noise which irritates the humans . . . I am pleased with this. I can tell the black plastic holds wool blankets inside. My keen nose tells me this. I paw at them to try to get in but this seems to incur censure from the Female. However, even if they are encased in plastic, I am still laying on wool blankets . . . life is looking up. I spend a great amount of time up here. It is warm, quiet, and the humans generally leave me alone so I can take care of my toilette in peace. The Female seems to think I should not give my tummy the attention I do. Now I can bathe it as much as I like. Now it’s time for a nap. Except I need a drink and possibly to relieve myself. So over the black hills and down onto the first piece of furniture. The Female is watching. She gets up and comes over, with her arms outstretched. If I let her, she will take me off the furniture and put me down. This is good. While it’s rather undignified, I don’t have to do so much work. Off to get a drink of water, but it’s not fresh; it’s been sitting for at least four hours. I take a couple sips and walk away disappointed. Oh yes, I need to relieve myself. The Female takes great interest in my elimination routine. Not sure why; it’s actually a little creepy. But she does groom the litter once a day so I won’t complain. I do wish it was warmer outside. It’s much nicer to take care of business in private. Well, back up to my platform of solitude.
After the humans have their breakfast, I like to go down with the Male to his cavern of solitude. I prefer to take my time gong down there. I like to sharpen my nails on a bench that seems to have been brought for my own particular use, but as it is cold outside and the door to the cave of solitude is outside, the Male doesn’t like to wait until I am ready. So, he leaves me behind many times. This treatment should not have to be tolerated. But I climb the ladder to the roof and CRY until the Female lets me back indoors. Then I wait at the door and she takes me down to the cave. It has a lot of boxes and stuff, but it has shelves high up that I like to get up on. It’s a little higher than my ability, but I have been able to make it clear to the Male that my desire is to be put up high in a cubby-hole so I can nap. He’s getting pretty good about figuring out my desire to go up, not so much for getting down. Many times I have been left up on the shelf and he leaves. How I put up with the abuse is beyond me. Sometimes I have to cry, and Cry, and CRYYYYYYY before he finally hears me. When he leaves me the Female will come to get me. But sometimes, when I’m still in the middle of a really good nap, she comes down and starts harassing me. I try to ignore her. It sometimes works, sometimes I just have to give in and let her take me off the shelf.
Evening comes and I really should try to get something accomplished. Since the cold weather arrived, the humans took down my cat door. I can’t say as I blame them. It made cabin cold and damp. But now if I want out I have to wait at the door or window for someone, usually the Female, to let me out. Of course if I have to wait too long, I’ll just turn away when she opens the door/window. I haven’t been hunting much. I did catch a little bird the other day, but as soon as I brought it inside, the Female said something, stepped outside for a moment, then the bird was gone. I think the Female knows magic. If it’s too cold, or I’m simply not in the mood to go outdoors, I will do battle with the “Yarn Snake”. It is a rather fun thing to play with, and the Female will sometimes help it move around the floor. I get bored with it though, and look to find something to eat. There is always kibble in my bowl, but I long for that fishy water to make it palatable. I have to wait again until it gets light outside. I think I’ll go back to my platform of solitude. At least until the humans go to bed. Then I’ll make a lot of noise getting down, go to the litter box, get a drink of water, and settle down on the couch.
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This pitiful human attempt at understanding the mind of a cat is in response to the Weekly Writing Challenge.
Get Comfortable, Take Your Shoes Off
In To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, Atticus Finch shares his take on a classic bit of advice:
If you can learn a simple trick, Scout, you’ll get along a lot better with all kinds of folks. You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view…until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.
For the purpose of this challenge, let’s skip the slightly eerie skin suit part, and just focus on the meaning. Atticus’ words are a reminder to shift perspectives in order to embrace compassion, build understanding, and see the many shades of truth.
This week, we’re asking you to consider things from a different point of view — to walk a mile in someone’s shoes. Leave your moccasins and bunny slippers at the door, and tell us a tale from a fully-immersed perspective that is not your own.
AND NOW FOR THE CHALLENGE
You can tackle this prompt from a million different directions, but the ultimate goal of every prompt is to write, so feel free to adapt the challenge as needed.
Here are some ideas to warm your muse’s bare feet:
- Pick a stranger, family member, or friend. Imagine a day in their life. Give us insight. Give us detail. Don’t just tell us about the other perspective, make us forget that you don’t live it every day. How does the homeless man on the street corner see you? What’s on your mother’s mind minutes before you visit? Does your boss like her office chair, or does the squeaking sound drive her crazy, too? Aim for two or three paragraphs.
- Split perspectives. For the fabulous flash fiction experts, let’s see all the angles of your story. Write a couple of paragraphs from one vantage point, and then turn the tables — and walk in the shoes of another character. Tell us the same story from their view.
- Go non-fictional. Most of us remember a time when we couldn’t imagine living the life we live now. Work? Marriage? Kids? School? Tattoos? Running five miles a day? A crush on someone who doesn’t have a mullet? Write a few paragraphs about a memory from your perspective, then, write about how someone else might remember that same event.
- Are you out of your mind? Take us back to a specific time or event in your past: how would 15-year-old-you perceive current-day-you? As a child, what did you imagine for the year 3000? What do you imagine now? Try to remember yourself standing at the end of the year 1999: how did you see yourself then? How do you see that 1999-version of yourself now? What changed your point of view — was it an unstoppable force, a conscious choice, or the gradual lull of time?