63: Ghost Kitties

63: Ghost Kitties

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: I Can't Believe My Cat Did That!

Ghost Kitties

It is impossible to find a place in which a cat can’t hide.

~Bill Carraro

My house is rumored to have ghosts. Ask anyone who has ever pet-sat for me and they’ll tell tales about mysterious shadows that drift into the room as they’re scooping the litter box, the eerie sense that they’re being watched when clearly no one is there, and fleeing the house in fear due to the random flushing of the toilet when they are the only human in the house.

These tales of terror are one of my favorite parts of returning home from vacation. But I have a better answer than ghosts — cats. Five of them. Those felines are stealthy, sneaky and only make their presence known when they want to be seen. They fit in impossibly small spaces and like to hide in the basement ceiling, peering down at their caretaker, who is unaware of their presence. They’ll spring out at any moment frightening the very person trying to care for them while I am away.

I call them CIA — Counter Intelligence Animals. These fur balls have taught me that nothing is impossible for a cat when it puts its mind to a task.

Many times I’ve fallen victim to the ghost theory.

The first incident occurred during the middle of the night. Loud voices pulled me from a deep sleep. Groggily I tried to make sense of what I was hearing. As my senses became more alert I realized the sound was coming from the television in the living room. My husband was snoring softly beside me and I figured he must have forgotten to turn off the television before he came to bed. But why was the volume so loud? Surely he wouldn’t have been listening to a program at full volume, especially when he knew I was sleeping.

I made my way down the dark hallway and into the living room where the only light came from the glow of the television. The volume was deafening. I stepped toward the couch to grab the remote and was startled to see my calico, Buscemi, lying with her paw on the remote intently watching the television. She didn’t seem to notice me until I slipped the remote from her paw. Somehow she had managed to not only turn on the television, but crank the volume as loud as it could go.

That was just the beginning.

Another night I heard thumping coming from the front of the house. I wasn’t about to investigate the creepy sounds. In the morning I walked into the kitchen and stopped short when I saw two cupboard doors and one drawer hanging wide open. One cupboard held plates and bowls and was above the counter. The other cupboard was at ground level and contained pots and pans. The drawer held paper plates and aluminum foil.

I was baffled. What in the world were the cats looking for and how did they get those open?

My answer came a few days later when I heard the thumping sound again. I went to investigate and found my tortoiseshell standing on her hind legs on the counter trying to open the cupboard that held plates. She’d pull the door slightly open and it would thump shut. It only took her several more tries before the door remained open.

The creepiest incident was yet to come, though.

One weekend I pulled a box of books down from the attic to lend to a friend who had a sixth grader looking for books to read over the summer. After sorting through the box to make sure the books were age-appropriate, I replaced the lid and closed the attic door.

The next morning I was startled to see the lid off the box, the books rearranged inside it, and the attic door ajar. My mind jumped to the wildest of conclusions — I upset a ghost in the attic by taking the books.

Freaked out, I slammed the attic door shut and told my husband, who assured me it was a cat. I didn’t believe him. I gave the books to my friend, and day after day I kept waking up to an open attic door. My friends were likewise convinced it was a ghost and one even offered to have a member of a local paranormal club come to my house. I declined as my husband insisted it was a cat, but every sound caused me to jump and I frequently looked over my shoulder.

I just couldn’t fathom how a cat could turn a doorknob.

About a week later I was reading e-mail in the same room as the attic door when one of my tabbies, Petunia, started tugging on the bottom of it. I ignored her and suddenly I heard a click. I spun my chair around just in time to see her tail disappear through the partially open door.

There was my ghost! I learned that if the attic door isn’t clicked shut, then all it takes is the vibrations from the cat shaking the door to release the catch.

The antics continue, but now when something goes bump in the night I can relax knowing fully well that it really is just a cat.

~Valerie D. Benko

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