Saturday, October 07, 2006

Hide & Seek

I toss the cats outside every morning before I leave for work. I do this for two reasons. First, I don’t want them tripping the motion detectors and setting off the alarm system, and also, if they stay inside and sleep all day then they’re bouncing off the walls all night.

Most of the time this is not a big deal. They both enjoy being outside and it’s not uncommon for them to be standing by the door when I leave. When the weather turns cold and wet though, they are a little more reluctant. Last winter, Mortimer, the big black one, started hiding in the house on rainy mornings when it was time to leave.

The house is big, but I could almost always find him. The times I couldn’t find him I was sure he was in the attic. The attic has a stair well leading up to it with no door. Once up in the attic there are a zillion places to hide. The poor lighting and numerous gables make searching difficult. He learned quickly to keep quiet while I stumbled around through the dimly lit space.

Mortimer sleeps on the bed every night and the way it usually works is I get up with the alarm and head in to the bathroom to shave and brush my teeth. Five minutes later I’m back in the bedroom getting dressed. When I’m finished I gather him off the bed, carry him downstairs, and toss him out the front door.

This week we had are first rain of the season. On Wednesday and Thursday Mort was already off the bed when I got back from the bathroom. After I got dressed I headed for the attic and after a few minuets I would find him. The first morning he was crouching behind an old door leaning against the wall, and the next morning he was laying down in the top drawer of a stack of old dresser drawers. Both times I scooped him up and out the door he went.

On Friday though, he tried something different. Friday morning I was awoken to the sound of a thud hitting the floor. It was Mortimer jumping off the bed. I rolled over and looked at the clock and it was 4 minutes before the alarm went off. I’m not sure if he has impeccable timing or if he’s learned to tell time. Regardless, seconds later I hear him softly climbing the attic stairs.

Four minutes later the alarm goes off and I get up and do my usually routine. The routine now includes a trip to the attic to get Mort. I’m up there looking and looking and I can’t find him any where. I head downstairs and check all the rooms and eventually make my way back up to the attic. I’m sure he’s in there some where.

There are two lights mounted on the ceiling but I also have one of those mechanics lights with the hook on the end. I plug it in and start shining it in every little nook and cranny of the attic. I’m kicking boxes and moving things around. He’s just no where to be found. I figure he has found a new hiding place and I decide I’d better get going before I’m even later to work than I already am.

I start to head down the stairs and I have to stop to unplug the mechanics light. The plug is close to the floor and near the stairs so I walk down three or four steps and then reach over and unplug the light. I then stop for a few seconds and take one last look around. I just know he’s up there some where. I can feel it. Then, just as I turn to head down I hear a rustling sound. There’s a small box laying on it’s side about 6-feet from the top of the stairs. The box has some bubble wrap sticking out of the front of it. I had kicked this box a few times.

I climb back up the stairs and get down on all fours to look inside the box. Sure enough, behind the bubble wrap, there’s a big black cat holding his breath. I figured I should get a shot of this before I scoop him out of there and toss him out the front door.


Joe said...

I like Mortimer. Mort's as smart as my dog, Scully.

SmilingJudy said...

Poor little guy. He's just getting old and wants to start living the easy life. Your post about 'adopting' Mort was likely the first of yours I read. Such a sweet, well-told story.

I think cats have an internal clock. I don't get up at the same time every day, but one of my cats is always there to wake me up at the correct time. They just know.

Trissa said...

They're smarter than we think! What a great cat. I hate playing the hide and seek game when it's time to get out of the door.

Patricia W said...

That is way too funny! I love cats.

RPneighbor said...

Mortimer's so smart. Too bad you can't train him to call the police if someone tries to break in. THen he could stay inside and no alarm system would be needed.

Animals are just so darn cute with things like this.

Debbie said...

I read this on my 15 minute break at work today... it had me laughing out loud in my office, by myself. Thank goodness no one walked in. haha

That is one smart cat!!