We’re not sure how many cats we have.
We thought we only rescued two kittens from the animal shelter. Two sisters, Katie, the gray tiger, and Zoe, the black and white. They were only a few weeks old when they came to live with us, too small to move beyond the bedroom door. But once they were older and did venture into that big world known as the rest of the house, a very strange thing happened.
The number of cats in our house multiplied.
The chaos and mayhem that has ensued over the last year has convinced us that we have more than two cats. It would defy all the laws of physics for two small cats to cause such commotion. Our evidence for this belief? The shredded curtains, the damaged blinds, the smashed glassware. The disconnected, well-chewed phone cord. The removal and shredding of all pieces of paper in our waste baskets. The sight of cats racing at a speed so fast they are just a blur, making it impossible to determine how many of them have just flown by.
We speculate that these cats come up through the drains. They creep in the open windows. They slither under the doors. The cat food bowls are always empty, the litter boxes always full. We are paying for far more cat food than two cats could ever eat. And as for litter box duties… Talk about job security!
Katie and Zoe deny any knowledge of the other cats. They stare at us with wide, innocent eyes when we make inquiries, as if they do not know what we are talking about. Sometimes they yawn, clearly indicating the questions are not important. And sometimes they casually saunter away, intending, we are sure, to warn the other cats to lie low because the food providers/box cleaners are getting suspicious. Then we laugh at ourselves. There cannot possibly be more than two cats in our house. Right?
We carry this false security to bed with us. We lie still in the night, listening to the sounds of thundering paws racing around the house, sounding like a herd of stampeding buffalo. To get up and investigate is dangerous. In the dark, a little, furry assassin will crack-block your ankles and then disappear, leaving you bruised and swearing on the floor. So we merely listen to the galloping, mentally calculating how many cats it would take to make that thundering noise. Calculating how much cat food we will have to buy. Calculating how many times we will have to scoop the litter boxes. We eventually fall into an uneasy sleep, each hoping that the rampaging hordes will not trample us in the night.