Sunday, December 12, 2010

Millie 1, Hyena 0

Earlier this week I let the cats into my bedroom.

They love running across the entire apartment, landing on the bed, jumping down behind it, and zooming through the tunnel beneath it and back out to the living area.

Since cats don’t know what time it is, the door is closed to them each night when I go to bed. Each morning I’m getting up earlier than before they arrived (this is a good thing), pulling my toes, making the bed, then opening the door to find them sitting waiting for me.

The little ones come right in, and Millie turns in the direction she thinks I should go – toward the kitchen. She does love to eat.

Thursday evening I returned home after dinner in the city. With my phone in my shirt pocket, I went right into the bathroom, where Millie and Wilbur followed me. My cell phone buzzed and rang.

Since I dislike wondering if it’s my phone ringing when it’s not, I had set up some fairly unusual ringtones. When it’s a regular voice call, my phone plays the theme from “Peter Gunn,” a television program from the Sixties. When it’s a text message, it plays a Hyena’s laugh. This may be weird, but I never heard anyone else’s phone ringing with a hyena’s laugh.

The problem is, it apparently sounds realistic, and Millie clearly does not like hyenas. She went wild. She hissed and growled and then leapt up to my shirt pocket to kill the beast. I hastily took the phone out and turned off the ringer and tried to calm her down. Poor Wilbur sat there wondering what his mom was all upset about.

A few minutes later, I placed the phone on the kitchen counter. Again a text message came in, again the damned hyena started laughing and screeching, and again Millie hissed, cowered, arched her back, and sat growling. By this time Chick was awake, sitting on the back of the couch blinking, wondering what was going on. Wilbur stayed on the opposite side of the room watching his mother. Of course I turned off the phone, and promptly deleted the hyena laugh from it. Millie quieted down, but didn’t relax. Nor did the kids. In the middle of the night I got up and opened the door – three ghostly white shapes turned toward me. A tad creepy.

Next morning all was normal – their memories don’t seem to play much part in their lives. Since Millie was found around Forest Park in Queens, I cannot imagine she actually recognized the sound of a hyena laughing – perhaps just a canine type, and those instincts of kitten- and self-preservation kicked in.

Moral of the story – beware of animal voices as cellphone ringtones if you have any animals in your home!

~ Molly Matera, continually catproofing. And wondering -- how can one throw out boxes when the boy so enjoys them?

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