|zeborah (zeborah) wrote,|
@ 2010-09-14 10:59 pm UTC
|Entry tags:||cat, earthquake|
Some time during 4:36am on Saturday 4th, as I wedged myself into my safe space and my house rattled and roared in my ears, I saw a black shape moving on the other side of the room. I wondered what I had over there that could be falling down, and decided it must be some clothes flung off the A-frame clothes-drier.
Boots had been sleeping on my bed and I assumed she'd made a run for it before the earthquake started.
Half an hour or so later (after I'd ventured out to get radio and laptop and cellphone, and come back to keep in safety) Boots slunk out from the space between my bed and the wall and crawled into the wardrobe instead. I then pieced together that she must have woken at the same time as me, and the shape must have been her jumping off the bed to hide behind it.
She stayed in the wardrobe for five hours without moving a whisker. She might have been made of stone. I started moving tentatively around the house and was cleaning up glass in the living room when I saw her slinking out, belly low to the floor, and slip out the cat flap.
I didn't see her again until Sunday evening.
Normally she has two meals a day, but since then, she's only come back most (not even all) evenings for dinner. Normally she puts her head down in the bowl and gobbles and chomps on it until it's gone; now she makes sure she's safe, then darts in for one bit of kibble and swallows it (whole, I think; I can't hear her chewing) and scouts around again before going back for another piece.
I have her dish at the moment right by the door - normally I keep it further in, against ants. But enticing her further in isn't easy. I have to sit in my room and wait patiently while she comes in a bit further, looks around warily, advances a bit more, and so forth. Any creak makes her start back towards the exit. If I'm merely at the dining table (right near the hall that's her exit) she may sit down by my arm. But if I'm in a bedroom and she has to come all through the house to reach me, she won't settle down at all. And when I go to bed and switch off the light she turns and leaves. She knows now what this house is capable of while we sleep.
This Saturday night she stood on my lap (usually she sits, curls, and goes to sleep with her head on my wrist) and licked my nose (she rarely licks me so I don't think I'm anthropomorphising when I take this as a particular mark of affection). She got down again, and up and down once more. Then she started chewing on the straps of my go-bag and I was just starting to think she was feeling a little more secure when bang! there was another aftershock. I scrambled for my corner, and Boots donned her jetpack and shot out the door.
I didn't see her all Sunday.
She came back Monday evening, even more skittish than usual. I tried walking ahead of her into the bedroom, stopping and looking back to get her to follow; she wouldn't come in past the kitchen. When I gave up, she led me in the same manner back to the door, and down our driveway, and up the neighbour's driveway. I stopped there, having more fear of trespassing than a cat, but it gave me a better idea where she's been hiding in the day. Later in the evening she briefly visited me in my bedroom before leaving the house again. And later on, just as I'd gone to sleep, she came back in and nosed around my bed for a minute, but didn't stay.
Today I came home and found the food dish empty, so she must have visited while I was out: that's reassuring, and reassuring that she's moving back to a twice-daily meal schedule. She returned for dinner before I had to rush off to choir practice, too, and tried to convince me to give her some of my own chicken. (Okay, so she may have succeeded at that.) And when I came back from choir she was inside waiting for me and poking at things a bit more again, though certainly isn't settling yet.
So I'm not worried-worried. Most of us humans remain skittish to some degree (you should have seen the lecture theatre we were in during a staff forum this morning when a 4.3 struck. Is the scent of fear a real thing that humans can really be affected by, albeit subconsciously? I could believe it: the aftershock gave me the familiar start, but a minute later my anxiety started growing rather than receding. Or it could just be my imagination, who knows.) So it'd be unreasonable to expect a cat not to be. I'm hearing stories of independent cats hanging by their humans' heel, and cats who hate each other snuggling together, and cats everywhere hiding from their houses, and cats slowly regaining their wonted confidence.
I expect Boots will be the same. So I'm just doing what I can to keep our normal routine running for her to slot into as she feels comfortable with it. But in the meantime I miss her, and when she does visit she's so nervous, so like and unlike herself, it makes me sad to see.