24 August 2010

Nightly Attacks

My cat has a bad habit.

Well, really, he has a number of bad habits, but he has one in particular that is life-threatening.

He's always been an ankle-biter. When he was a kitten, he would follow my roommates and I around our apartment, practically tripping over himself in his efforts to latch on to our feet.  With so many moving targets, he quickly perfected his technique. His favorite time to do this is in the wee morning hours, when he knows that he has the advantage because you're bleary-eyed and barefoot. Or immediately after his prey has gotten out of the shower.  The modus operandi in such stealth attacks is precise and carefully calculated. He hides just out of sight, but within enough reach to curl his extremely dexterous paws  around your ankle, as the first foot comes into his cross hairs. He knows that you likely have enough momentum as you stumble to the coffee pot to shake him free quickly, so with a lightning-quick maneuver, he gator rolls his body so that it is curled tightly around the foot and sinks his back claws in for leverage, immobilizing his prey. The kill switch engages, and he nips his very-tiny-but-oh-so-painful fangs into whatever soft skin is in easiest reach.

Now, this is really more of a catch-and-release effort, as he is well-aware that the supply of feet is limited with no immediate chance of replenishment. After his prey acknowledges that they have been temporarily defeated, he leaps out of reach in a side-winding move, and runs away giggling.

When Milo moved from my apartment to my mother's house, he discovered a fresh supply of completely unsuspecting prey in my mother and my sister. This, however, was not the most exciting part of the move for him.

We have a dog.

I imagine that his thoughts upon discovering this were, "Oh. Mah. Gah. What is this perfect specimen?! Is that four legs I see? And a tail? Schwing!"

And last night, he tortured the dog until 5:00 in the morning.

Needless to say, after little sleep, this is how the Almost Teacher is feeling:

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