Photo by hang niu on Unsplash

I had been tossing and turning all night, sleeping badly and dreaming intermittently until morning. One of the sporadic dreams that I could manage to remember was rather disturbing. I had dreamt that a cat was fervently trying to communicate, but I couldn’t understand what she was trying to tell me. It was a little disconcerting, to say the least.

I woke up with a start, just as the weird dream was ending. I shook off the remnants of sleep and began to get ready for my day. I was trying to forget about the strange dream that I had during the night, yet it continued to puzzle me. My husband and I always had plenty of cats around, because we made a point of giving stray and shelter cats a good home. We had never been able to say no to a cat in need, so had lots of them underfoot at all times. It wasn’t surprising that I was losing sleep dreaming about them.

We had just moved to a new home, so our situation was exacerbated because we were keeping all of the cats indoors until they got used to the new environment. We planned to begin letting them out a little at a time once they became accustomed to their new surroundings. The cats preferred to stay outdoors in the balmy weather, so we couldn’t wait to condition them to the new house and yard, so that they could spend most of their time outside. We had far too many cats underfoot at the best of times, and being cooped up together inside the house in the nice summer weather was driving cats and humans alike totally bonkers.

We opened the door to the third-floor terrace to let some of the warm breeze flow through the house, giving the cats a chance to get some fresh air, as well as sun themselves on the large balcony. If we couldn’t let them out into the yard yet, at least we could let them go out on the terrace, which was high enough off the ground that we didn’t worry about anyone escaping. It worked like a charm and allowed the cats get some fresh air and relax while beginning to enjoy their new home, as we went about organizing our things and moving around the furniture in our new place.

That evening, exhausted from unpacking, I decided to try out the tub in the new house for the first time, so poured myself a hot bath and a chilled glass of wine, then settled into the tub with a good book. I was just starting to relax when a cat started whining out in the hallway. I needed to escape for a while, so I ignored it and put on headphones while turning on some classical music. Minutes later, I noticed the bathroom door handle slowly turning, then the door swinging open, exposing a cat hanging from the handle on the other side. Yikes! They had already learned how to open the doors in this house. I just wasn’t going to get any peace and quiet this evening.

It was Kika, our pensive, watchful cat, who had been whining in the hallway. We found her years earlier as a starving stray, who had saved her own life at the time, by loudly crying to alert us to her dire predicament. Normally, she only meowed when there was something to meow about. She rushed over and started jabbering incessantly at me, after managing to open the door by herself. She was in a bit of a frenzy, though had never been a drama queen, so I didn’t know what to think. In fact, I tried to quiet her and shoo her out of the room without leaving the comfort of my warm bath.

It was not to be. Kika was not leaving me alone and increased the intensity of her chatter. I suddenly realized that it was just like the scene in my dream sequence the night before, where a cat was trying in vain to communicate with me. What on earth did Kika want?

Reluctantly, I put on my robe and followed her lead out of the bathroom. She marched straight through the terrace door that we had opened earlier, walking outside right to the edge of the balcony, where she stared down over the ledge. I peeked down over her head, only to see our black, senior cat Squeakers down below on the lawn. It seemed that she got tired of being cramped inside the house with all the rest of us, so took it into her own paws to leap from the third floor.

Fearing the worst, I rushed downstairs and out the door, scooping her up carefully as soon as I reached her. Miraculously, Squeakers didn’t seem any worse for wear. In fact, she seemed exhilarated that she had leapt her way to freedom.

Cats really do have nine lives and always seem to land on their feet. Thank goodness that Kika had the wherewithal to keep insisting that I come to see what had happened to Squeakers. And thank heavens for the premonition of imminent danger brought out in the dream, warning me of the upcoming events.

Writer and university professor researching media psych, generational studies, human and animal rights, and the intersection of art and psychology

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