Great white hunter is the phrase that first popped into my head, but Puddin’ is a calico, so there you have it. The week after Christmas, I found her in the dining room crying, pawing at the curtains, and darting in and around them. Much to my surprise, I discovered a tiny lizard, and much to Puddin’s delight, she caught him. She ran to the living room and deposited him beneath the Christmas tree. Do you think it was meant to be a gift for her parents? The poor thing briefly ran around, with Puddin’ in hot pursuit, before finally freezing in place with its mouth wide open. I imagined that if I could get up close, I’d hear a long high-pitched scream.
I got to him before Puddin’ could snatch him back up, and I moved him to our side porch, where he remained frozen in position. I thought for sure he’d been played to death, but when I went back an hour later, he’d moved to the porch railing. Who knows how he got in the house to begin with, as Puddin’ is an indoor cat. That means she didn’t bring him in, and I can assure you that our dog Banjo, the 80 pound lugger, doesn’t move fast enough to catch a lizard.
What fascinates me is that after several weeks, she’s still visiting the dining room every morning in search of the lizard. This new behavior has disrupted our usual morning routine of me getting up and going downstairs followed by the cat and dog, letting the dog out, and giving Puddin’ a dab of milk as I fix my first cup of coffee. Lately, she forgoes the milk, runs to the dining room French doors, pushes her way in and heads for the curtains, crying all the way.There are days she never comes back for the milk because she’s so intent on finding her lost playmate…or her quarry. You decide.
My husband jokes that we’ll never be able to get insurance from the gecko. Me? I wonder whether we should get her a plastic lizard, and I question the experts who say animals live only in the present. For Puddin’, it’s Christmas every day, and there’s no sign her memory is fading. Even the newly arrived bouquet of flowers in my office has not deterred her from the hunt. She temporarily turns her attention to chewing the baby’s breath and decorating my office floor with a few ferns, but by the next morning, the Great Calico Hunter is back to the hunt.