"GAH! CAT!!!!!" I yelled, grabbing my magazine and now empty plate.
Tillamook, unconcerned with the be-pizza sauced status of his front left paw, continued towards his prey: a fly so obese that its flight was a minor phenomenon and who must have gotten into the house when I stood in our open doorway this morning talking to our landlady. Through the course of the day, the poor, fat fly got stuck in that most frustrating of insect positions (hitting himself against the screen in the window--so close to freedom, yet so far away!) and cornered by a cat with a severe case of cabin fever and claws weeks overdue for a trim. Normally I would have let the poor fly out, or at least stopped the cat from torturing it, but I was still reeling from Tillamook stepping in my lunch during his chase (which I'm sure was accompanied, in his mind, by the National Geographic theme song). Fears of contracting toxoplasmosis from his paw ran rampant in my mind along with my ex-boyfriend Darrin's Double Dipping Thesis of 2005 ("Well, it's not really that bad, because any part of the dip that touched the previously bitten part of the chip is now touching the chip, and all remaining dip is clean, right?") as I investigated the red paw prints now leading up the back of the couch.
Here I'd like to take a moment and appeal to anyone who knows more about animals than I do: is it possible for cats, even neutered ones, to still go crazy when they would have been in heat had their parts not been removed? Because I'm pretty sure this is the case with Tillamook. Or he recently sold his soul to the Devil. Or was kidnapped and replaced by his evil twin, who runs around the apartment with no consideration for the floor, upholstery, teetering pregnant women who can't see their feet when tripped or sleeping night shift cops and who has manufactured several valiant escape attempts all in the course of one morning.
Or maybe he's just jazzed about the Sun and warm weather. I digress.
Back to the kitten and the fly: having studied the paw prints enough to conclude that any part of my pizza that had come into contact with Tillamook's paw was now rubbed into my couch's slipcover, I continued eating my lunch and watching the Animal Planet episode now taking place before my eyes. Dinner and a show! The fly, clever being, crawled higher and higher on the window screen while my cat, the sillier (and yet theoretically more highly evolved) of the two, proceeded to get both his paws stuck in the screen by way of his aforementioned claws. It was a pathetic sight: he stood up on his hind legs to catch the fly, placing one of his front paws on the screen to steady himself and batting at the fly with the other. When he realized that he couldn't stand any higher because his claws were now stuck in the screen, he would press his other paw against the screen to steady himself while pulling the first paw free, catching the claws of the second paw in the screen in the process. Over and over he went, trying the same solution only to see the same results: paw #1 stuck, paw #2 used for balance, paw #1 freed, paw #2 stuck, paw #1 used for balance....I couldn't help but laugh. Hard. So hard, in fact, that Tillamook turned around to glare at me, both paws now stuck to the screen.
I swear I saw the fly, now standing slightly out of Tillamook's reach, pointing and laughing too as I sat up and unhooked my kitten from his predicament. "Ancient Egyptians used to worship you?" I asked as I placed him back down on the cushions. With an offended meow, he turned around and settled onto the couch, still staring up at the fly, who had finally found a comfortable place to rest at the very top of the window.