Purranormal Cativity

Published 4:40 pm Thursday, October 14, 2010

Traditionally Halloween is a one-day observance, but at our house trick-or-treat is an every day routine.

Anyone with cats in the house will understand. Without daily cat treats there will be tricks – tricks that in the middle of the night border on the paranormal.

What is normal, for cats at least, is the occasional nocturnal disturbance. Most are easily explained. Things that go bump in the night in our house generally have four paws and a tail.

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As the designated “ghost-buster,” (or should I say “cat-buster”) I'm the one elected to investigate those bumps, yowls, and screeches that interrupt a good night's sleep.

Is it paranormal activity?

Yes and no.

We like to call it “purranormal cativity.”


An ear-splitting yowl echoed through the night.

The glowing dial of the clock radio gleamed ominously in the dark.

The numbers, glaring blood red, seeped into my still-slumbering brain and finally registered.

The time was midnight – the witching hour.

What was that noise coming from the end of the hallway – and why was the light on?

Carefully I tiptoed through the dark house. Where were the cats, I wondered, as I headed toward the den.

A den was an appropriate name for what I observed when I peeked around the door. Four pairs of eyes, reflecting the eerie glow of the TV screen, turned in my direction.

But wait . . . I didn't leave the television on.

Kiki and Luna, expressions of practiced innocence on their faces, were sitting on the couch on either side of the remote.

Was there a remote chance that they turned on the TV?

“YE-OO-W,” another yowl filled the room.

It made sense – what else would cats watch but the Animal Planet?

But was it paranormal activity?

More likely, “purranormal cativity.”

Cats are experts at staging the unexplained experience – things not seen, but definitely felt.

“Oh, yuk! What's that under the blanket?” I called to my spouse who was just coming in the door.

Gingerly I pulled back the covers on my side of the bed to discover a wet dishrag.

“It's your cat,” my husband nodded toward Lily who had just deposited half a dog biscuit beside the dishrag.

Lily likes to store her treasures on my side of the bed.

A smoky gray kitten when she joined the cat family a few years ago, Lily has earned her nickname, “the gray ghost.”

She particularly enjoys surprising guests who fail to note her presence before closing the bathroom door. On several occasions Lily has been known to come out of her hiding place and purr vigorously while wrapping her furry body around the nearest accommodating ankle. Many guests emerge from the bathroom looking as if they've seen a ghost.

In fact they have, but is it paranormal activity? Not so much as “purranormal.”

Luna, with her all-white attire, is also a natural for paranormal pranks.

“Wow,” my piano tuner commented as he lifted the top of my piano. “I've never seen a 'prepared piano' like this.”

A “prepared piano” is one that has had its sound intentionally altered by placing objects (preparations) between or on the strings.

“This is really creative,” the tuner observed as he removed assorted paper clips, a clothespin, two pencils, and a tube of lip balm from the piano strings. “Who did this?”

“Her name is Luna,” I said.

“Ah,” the tuner said, no doubt visualizing some “hip” but musical lady. “A real cool cat!”

“If only you knew,” I nodded.

I didn't want to alarm the poor man, but it was an obvious case of the “purranormal.”

“Purr-fect” harmony, however, it was not.

Harmonious or not, cats don't need to vocalize to impart an important bit of advice for the upcoming Halloween festivities: don't forget the cat treats.

It's true that Halloween can be a haunting experience, but be forewarned – it doesn't hold a whisker to “purranormal cativity.”