Posted by: nightmistwalker | October 4, 2014

The “Chase Little Max” Game

Little Max was a kitten when Shadow, her mother, brought her into the Temple of Gaia. Shadow was a feral cat, fleeing starvation and the upcoming winter, and she has never asked to leave. Little Max, as a kitten, was well protected by her mother, learning to avoid the grasp of the Giant Monkey Woman (me) who fed them. Shadow, for all the comfort she has found here in the last 7 years, has never really lost her fear that I will eat her kitten. For her part, Little Max has adapted well to being an indoor cat, with one important exception. She will not let me move toward her to pet her or pick her up. It is a game she plays – a “chase me” game, which is played with as much charm and wile as she can manage.

She does like to be petted, however. Little Max has taken over several of the rituals and perks that Patches enjoyed. It is Little Max who now jumps on the bed, purring and meowing me awake, informing me in no uncertain terms that she is ready for breakfast, so it is time for me to “Get Up, Meow!” And I do it. Such is our relationship.

We are playing the game right now. We have been playing the “Chase Little Max” game all day. The difference is, we are now playing it outside.

Yes, Little Max escaped this morning.

She has spent the entire day on the Temple’s back porch. She is hiding under a bush in the far corner of the planter boxes. My arms are not long enough to reach her there. Sometimes, she jumps down onto the deck behind the planter, 8 feet above the lawn, higher than my outstretched hands can go. Just now, she has run the length of the porch, underneath the railing, meowing her “catch me” meow as if to taunt me during the game. It is raining, the temperature is dropping, and the back door is propped open so that she can just run inside to eat her dinner. But will she do it? Oh, no! Cooperation is not part of the game.

Shadow remains on her favorite stair step. If I ask her to call her daughter, she gives me that astonished look she has practiced so well over the years. “Call her in?” she seems to say. “Why? Do you want to eat her?”

Astarte has been enclosed in the laundry room. If left to her own devices, she will guard the door and not let Little Max in. But “in” is where Little Max needs to be, for it is raining harder, and tomorrow’s high temperature is forecast to be 47 degrees F.

Therefore, the game has to stop. Astarte is imprisoned, Shadow is uninterested, and I have played my trump card by calling “Dinner!” to Little Max. I have turned off the heat, and opened both back doors wide. Now, I am sitting here with you, ignoring the game and Little Max, listening to her meows, which grow louder as she creeps up to the door.

Suddenly, there is a very loud “Meow!” and I catch a glimpse of a long-haired black tail whisking around the hallway corner. Little Max is inside! I close the doors as she races up the stairs to greet her mother. And now I hear a chorus of three feline priestesses, all demanding a (second) dinner, for did I not call Little Max in to dine? Yes, yes I did. And so, I will go and turn the heat back on, release Astarte from her prison, and then feed them a generous meal. We will tuck in and sleep well tonight.

I need to get the back door fixed before winter.

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