Pity poor Cat Bette.
Full of moxie and swagger all last year, efficient and lethal as a killer of birds, rodents and my patience, she now has devolved into a lump of depression, rarely venturing out into the world that used to be hers.
It's snowing today, which is sinking her deeper into her funk. Like a mad Shakespearean character, she wanders from room to room, howling from time to time, eerily echoing the 40 mile per hour gusts trying to get inside the house.
Occasionally she snaps to and approaches the kitchen door . . .
. . . only to hear the wind, which drives her back to the safety of another spot on another rug.
Even when we toss her out the door or when she dares to try a walkabout, she's squealing like a stuck pig to get back inside in less than half an hour. And when she dashes in, as if propelled by a tornado, she wails for food – even if she wolfed down a fortifying snack just before going out.
Her killing grounds have been covered with snow for weeks, the temperatures have been brutally low, and the birds are rarely seen, so in some ways her lack of motivation is understandable. But I believe Bette's funk goes beyond the obvious.
For one thing, neighboring cats go out and in regularly, seemingly without undue fear or pain. Some come by to check on Bette, like the one that left these tracks going by the kitchen steps just this morning:
Bette, on the other hand, studies an open door, cocking her head to the side before jerking herself around and bolting in the opposite direction – as if suddenly frightened by something I can't see.
I think I've figured it out; it's not the weather. It's the ghosts of birds.