Plummeting Pussy Cat

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Cats are fairly agile, gracefully maneuvering their way through the human world. It’s said they always land on their feet. I’ve watched them walk on narrow rails, leap great distances, and swerve to miss furniture during high-speed chases. The word pussyfoot comes from the cat’s delicate, careful tread.

But I have also caught my cats in some really awkward, clumsy moves that are huge fails. The most amusing faux pas (you can pronounce that fo paws…funny, huh?) are those in which the cat doesn’t calculate the distance:oomph ratio properly, makes a jump and misses the mark. The front paws make a landing, but the rear doesn’t quite arrive on deck, and the cat slowly slides or falls to the next level down, sometimes doing a little backflip, as if trying to stick the landing coming off of the uneven parallel bars.

Immediately, the kitty rights herself, then quickly looks around to see if anyone saw what just happened. When you’ve got a word named after your agility, you can’t afford to have anyone see you make that kind of mistake. Kitty slinks off, embarrassed, and waits until she has mustered up enough courage to try the classy move again. It happens.

But the other night, I witnessed the worst of kitty mishaps. One I’ve long feared would happen. I have a beautiful open stairway that turns direction partway up, and then there is a landing at the top of the stairs, with a railing all around the landing area. It sort of forms two sides of a square at the top of the stairs. From that railing to the floor below is maybe 13 feet or so. The kitties like to walk on that railing, and it makes me crazy when I see them do it. How can they be that brave?? When I’m vacuuming up there, and come close to that railing, I imagine losing my balance and tumbling over it to my certain death below. Yet they cruise along it as if they are walking on the floor.

So, my friend and I were sitting on the couch in the living room, watching TV and chatting. The cats were doing their thing…chasing around, napping…whatever cats do. Suddenly, a furry blur plummeted from the stairway railing, bouncing off of the piano below, and finally landing on the floor. I was sure this cat must be dead from the sound of the thud on the piano, let alone the final thud on the floor. She did NOT land on her feet. She did NOT exhibit any grace.

In the time it took us to say, “Uh-oh!” the rest of the cats and the dog had all rushed to the scene. They looked on in amazement, as kitty righted herself, gave that sort of panicky, embarrassed look about, and then hunkered down and slunk off to the kitchen in a big hurry. The rest of the animals just stood there, looking from the spot she had landed, to each other, to us, and back again, as if to say, “Did you SEE that?” Even though I was worried that kitty had injured herself, I couldn’t help but chuckle at the reaction of the rest of the crew.

I went to find her, and she was in the litter box. Apparently, the fall had scared the poop out of her! I checked her out, and she was fine, except for her bruised pride. She seems unscathed by the episode, as she went right back up the steps, ready to do it all again! The funniest thing is that my oldest cat was sitting on my lap on the couch the night after this happened, and she seemed to be watching the area near the piano, and alternately looking up the stairway. I think she was watching to see if it was going to happen again!

 

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