Welcome to the kill pen! My beautiful golden tortoise shell cat, Chino, is a total killer. Not only is she a killer, she is a sociopath, as she has no remorse. The sparrow population has decreased in the high desert of California as one cat has single handedly taken out well over thirty birds this season, add a few grasshopper, a dozen spiders, and some mutant moths and what do you get? A smiling cat!
Yes, my cat brings her fresh kill into my room each morning, jumps on my bed, purs the happiest pur of delight and satisfaction, and smiles. It’s hard to be mad at her. She is bringing me gifts, though one book would suggest she is leaving me warnings of her killing capabilities. I’m still on the fence about which is true, so to play it safe I do not yell and instead pat her soft little head and scratch under her chin while saying things like, “remember who buys you your food. Who loves you? Who loves you? Mommy loves you!” And inside her little kitty head she is probably laughing and replying, “yeah, you love me now that you know my sociopathic capabilities! Who loves me now? Who loves me now? Mommy loves me now!”
I love my pets! My animals have been a point of therapy of for me. I talk to them, and in my very creative head, I imagine the things they say back. Each pet has its own personality, its own voice, and its own characteristic. Heck, I’ve given them all back stories as most of them are rescues. Sometimes my kids stand at the door and shake their heads, but I shrug. Talking to pets is the best and cheapest therapy ever. I mean, when was the last time your therapist licked your face and allowed you to pet his belly after a good session? Tell me who doesn’t feel like king of the world after petting a cat’s belly? If anything, you should at least feel accomplished that such a stubborn animal would give you the time of day.
More than just therapy, I watch the pets in the same way I people watch. As I said before: they have personalities and stories, so they are also inspiration. Some days when I’m just jotting down future ideas for books, I can turn to the animals and embed them with these new characters. Sometimes, and this happens a lot, I pet watch and describe their movements, stare, and attention to describe a character. Though most ideas are straight from my head, on occasion it is helpful to actually see something and be able to describe that from sight. So when I say, “he hung back, malingering with a sharp and piercing, watchful eye as she sniffed the flowers. All the tiny tremors in his body gathering momentum until he wiggled at the thought of pouncing, but it wasn’t time just yet. He held back and settled just enough to regain strict focus on the object of his attention. And when she was completely unsuspecting, he took a hesitant step forward and then lunged from a striking position, his hands wrapped tight around her waist as his lips took sweet victory on the soft warmth at the crook of her neck. He was victorious, as she squealed and leaped, allowing him to pull her closer into his embrace.”
That little snip it was written into a short story, and each and every movement was taken from my black tortoise shell cat who was hiding in the flowers, quietly stalking the neighbors dog. So if you are ever at a loss at how to describe something, take a cue from the world around you. There is creative writing, but there is also writing creatively and inspiration is everywhere.
Speaking of cats, and I am a true cat lover, this is one of my favorite cat videos. Enjoy your weekend.
Tania L Ramos, Author Living in the Kill Pen