June 8, 2004

Cat Tag

Basette

When Basette was a kitten, she used to play tag.

She’d sit under my chair and purr when that tail-twitching mood descended. Not a half-hearted purr-so-you’ll-put-me-down, but her full-throated, shake-the-floor-like-Granddad’s-snoring purr. It didn’t matter if I had to finish a paper for the next day’s class. She wanted to play, and she wanted to play now.

As her human, it was my obligation to fulfill her every whim. I could ignore her to my peril: sitting under my chair, her purr would vibrate the wooden chair. A clear indication she was plotting something. When I didn’t immediately pet her or get up to follow her, she would scrape her claws down the wall to create a bone-grating screech. Screaming her name only caused her to purr louder.

Once the chair slid back, she would bolt from the room and stop in the door way. Eyes dilated, crouching down in pre-pounce mode: time to play! As soon as I stood up, she would charge across the hall, down the stairs, and make the 90° turn into the living room. I’d run after her until I could tag her tail, or roll her over and rub her belly.

She’d swat at me–tag!–and it was my turn to be charging across the house, up the stairs, with the Little Black Wonder Cat(tm) close on my heels. Once I’d stop to catch my breath, she’d swat at me and take off again. I was “It” and the game was afoot!

Eventually she tired of the game and stopped following me back up the stairs. I’d walk downstairs to find her thwapping her tail on the carpet, and purring, as if to say, “Please, I’m more dignified then you silly humans with your games. You may pet me now.”

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