I complain that my cats don't furnish me with enough material for
anecdotes -- and then, when they do give me something, it takes me
forever to get around to write it up. This one has been owing for a
I now have two stories about Will and running. I've probably told this
first one here before, but I'll repeat it as a lead-up to the new story
in Part II.
When I brought Will home from the shelter in 2003, all I knew about him
was that he was nine years old and asthmatic. Neither of those
conditions disposed me to expect a high level of activity from him. But
he had been living in cages of various sizes for a year or so, with no
opportunity to really stretch his legs, and it would appear that it is
possible under those circumstances to store up a good quantity of
potential motion for later release.
The first day he was with us he was very cautious; he hid under a rocker
and emerged only long enough to eat a little. The second day, he
wandered with due circumspection around his new accommodation, checking
out all the rooms and all the possibilities. We had no idea, as we
watched him explore, that what he was really doing was walking the
The third and fourth days, he RAN!
He ran from room to room. He ran up and down stairs. He ran under
chairs and tables; he ran OVER chairs and tables -- as well as over
beds, couches and desks. Sometimes he ran over the chairs and couches
we were occupying. He skidded on slippery floors and bounced off walls.
When he got tired of running, he slept -- for fif*** minutes...then he
Fascinated, we watched him and listened to him. We watched him streak
past us in the kitchen, then listened as he scrabbled around the sharp
turns in the living room and thundered up the carpeted stairs and
through the bedrooms overhead. We listened to him late into the night
and again in the wee hours of the morning. And as we watched and
listened, first we grinned...then we wondered...and finally we worried.
This is a nine-year-old asthmatic cat? Can he really have the stamina
to keep going like this without collapsing? Should we enforce more
time-outs from running? But he was having such a grand time -- and
asthmatic or not, his breathing was never distressed -- so we decided
not to interfere.
Fortunately for our peace of mind, after those two days he quickly
settled down and became the mostly sedentary cat we had expected. And
when his long-acting asthma shot wore off a month later, we learned how
much the stamina and duration of that first frenzy of running had owed
to his medication. Soon, the only running he was doing was to
occasionally chase Heidi -- and even then, he preferred to make a dart
at her to get her moving, then just sit there, smugly watching her go.
So the connection of Will with running faded into anecdote, and into the
distant past -- until one incident this past summer....
But that's the next story....