Have you ever noticed that the cat who is going to the vet or to the groomer is nowhere to be found when it’s time to go? I might stop and stroke a cat as she lay curled up on my bed many times throughout the day, except for the day she’s scheduled for a vet visit. Then the cat darts under bed and shrinks back into the darkest depths. How do they know? Maybe this true story will shed some light on that mystery.
It was not on Daisy’s agenda that hot summer day to see the groomer. She, no doubt, planned a day of lolling on the linoleum floor, changing position only to find a cooler spot and occasionally sauntering over to the closest window to watch the sparrows and blue jays feed. She didn’t know that I’d made changes to her perfectly coordinated schedule—she was going to the groomer for a bath and a flea dip. Or maybe she did know. She’d certainly made herself scarce all morning.
This was in the 1980s, before Advantage and Flea Busters, and Daisy was supporting a good number of California’s enormous flea population. This was also the time of year when her long calico fur began to mat—her winter shed tangling with her summer coat.
I lugged the heavy wire cat carrier from the garage and discreetly placed it just outside the back door. Rule number one: Don’t let the cat see the carrier or you’ll never get her near it. Make sure she doesn’t even hear evidence that you are preparing to put her in the car.
“Oh, there you are, girl. Come to Mama,” I crooned as I casually walked into the back bedroom toward her.
She looked up at me with sheer terror in her eyes and quickly disappeared under the bed. “How does she know?” I wondered. I probed the darkness with my hands where only dust bunnies and frightened cats go. But Daisy avoided capture as skillfully as any cat burglar.
When she thought the coast was clear, she crept out from under the far side of the bed and slunk down the hallway toward the kitchen. The gig was up—there was no place outside the bedroom where she could hide out of my range. This is going to be easy, I thought. But, in true feline style, the cagey cat outsmarted me again. Hugging her belly to the floor, she scurried into the living room. I knew better than to chase her, but I followed her just in time to see her silky tail disappear under a corner table. I scratched my head in disbelief. The little scamp had managed to position herself a scant few inches from my longest reach.
Obviously, this wasn’t working. And I knew full well that a cat that doesn’t want to be caught is usually a cat that won’t have to go to the groomer. Then I remembered something I’d read recently about using mind talk with animals. Could I communicate with Daisy through thoughts like J. Allen Boone had done with a dog and even ants and a gnat in his book, Kinship With All Life? Could I actually convince her to adopt my point of view? My options were few. What did I have to lose except, perhaps, a measure of dignity?
After bringing the wire carrier in, setting it in plain sight and opening the little door, I implemented my plan. I sprawled out tummy down on the floor and looked through the dimness under the table into Daisy’s large sea-green eyes. She stared back and I immediately began creating mind pictures. I visualized the plump calico standing up and walking toward the carrier, which sat empty a few feet away from me. I envisioned her stepping into the carrier, and then me closing the door and latching it behind her. I pictured the two of us going by car to the groomer where she would be lavished with attention. And then I created images of picking her up from the groomer and bringing her home flea-free, mat-free and just feeling wonderfully comfortable.
To my amazement, the moment I completed this mind-video, Daisy stood up, walked over to the carrier and, without hesitation, stepped inside. I lay there stunned—in disbelief—as she moved to the back of the carrier and turned around until her tail was free of the little wooden door. Then she sat down and looked at me as if to say, “Well, close the door and let’s get on with it.”
I closed the door, as she seemed to indicate and off we went to see the groomer—me still in a state of shock and Daisy sitting silently by my side. I began to wonder whose idea this was, anyway. Had I been in charge of the foregoing scenario or was this some little game Daisy conjured up to amuse herself? Was she the puppeteer and I her puppet? Did I detect a slight chortle from inside the carrier?
In fact, that’s another curiosity about the situation. This was the first car trip I ever remember taking with Daisy that she didn’t sing at the top of her lungs the entire distance.
One has to wonder if this amazing moment would set a precedent for future outings with Daisy. In a word, no. The cat carrier caper was never repeated.
Can cats read our minds? It sure seems like it. Just watch your cat when you start thinking about feeding them, giving them a treat, or doing another daily ritual they enjoy. Do they react even before you react sometimes? Do they cower and hide even before you grab the flea treatment, for example?
Make it a game, visualize something they enjoy—a favorite toy, a game the two of you play, or a visitor they particularly like—and watch your cat’s reaction. She may just surprise you and you may just have to start watching out what you think
Blog Tour for Klepto Cat Mystery Series
This is the big week for the Klepto Cat Mystery Blog Tour. Tomorrow be sure to join us at Miki’s Hope. http://www.mikishope.com for my guest post. I’ll talk about why I write and what happened when I thought I would no longer be able to write—how I overcame obstacles. Our story today features the thought process and it was a change of mind and way of thinking that helped me to stay on the writing path. I think you’ll find my guest blog at Miki’s Hope interesting. Plus, you’ll have a chance to win a free ebook for your Kindle.