Like most places in the world, every month or so, we get a full moon here on the farm. Generally, it is a welcome occasion. There is a local theory that it brings rain, but otherwise, it simply allows us to move about at night without clinging to a flashlight (or torch, depending on your English proclivities) or walking into things. Plus, it’s pretty.
There is one drawback, though. When the full moon slides into the sky over the hill in the east, it takes the sanity of one of our three cats with it.
She isn’t ever really normal. Normal is not a cat adjective. But back in the States, this little black cat of mine had no reaction to the state of the moon. Maybe it was because we lived in an apartment and the outdoors were not a part of her life. Maybe coming to this Namibian farm has brought out the leopard inside of her. Maybe her brain is flashing images of huge yet very slow lizards, or hordes of giggling mice traipsing through the kitchen, champagne in one hand, cheese gobs in the other. I don’t know. She simply cannot control the instinct telling her that she must go outside.
The little black cat, covered in dirt, and probably hunting something.
It seems to only affect her in the winter. She’ll patrol the room, pacing back and forth, mewing and squeaking, informing us of her distress. And this is when we are still downstairs eating dinner. We can hear her through the wall (which, to be fair, is made of logs and fairly porous). Once we climb into bed the fun really begins. Like a pouting 4-year-old, she stomps over us to get to the window above our heads, wails her misery to the world on the windowsill for a few minutes, and then leaps down again with a four-footed landing and stomps back the other way.
This is then repeated throughout the night.
Jay and I used to just sleep through it, or pretend to. I felt guilty for subjecting him to my apparently PMSing cat, but once we got some sleep again, we’d laugh it off and forget about it. Til the next month.
But this time, I thought of a solution. It was so simple, it was aggravating to think of how much sleep was lost by us not having thought of it before.
My cats hate water. Unless it is going down their throat – by their own doing – it is evil. I tried to give them a bath once when all three became infested with fleas. I walked away from it bloody and wetter than they were. When a stream of water comes their way, they will do anything to avoid it.
Thus, needing a water-launching device and not owning a water gun, I turned to the syringes left over from multitudes of cow injections. Once the needle is off, those things can shoot surprisingly far.
Problem is, our little syringes only hold one round, and it’s easy to miss a small black cat even with a full moon. Which is, of course, exactly what happened. So I stepped it up a notch. With a whole glass of water in my mouth, I headed toward the warbling. The first squirt hit the ground, and the cat bolted across the room, still singing her woes. I caught up to her, and let out another squirt. Another miss, another puddle. She was hiding behind the bedside lamp now, by Jay’s head. He seemed semi-asleep despite the commotion, but I was on a mission. I shot the last of my water and hit the cat square on. She took off again, silent this time, and I climbed back into bed for a triumphant sleep.
The cat spent the night and those to follow on the lonely chair by the glass door. I suppose she was either mad or she wanted to keep an eye out in case those oafish lizards wandered by. In any case, it seems mother nature had heard her distress calls. One night a gust of wind blew the door open and by the time we noticed, the cat had long ago disappeared into the night.
Luckily, she returned by morning with that innocent cat look on her face, despite the headless mouse in the shower. I have no idea if it was meant as a gift, to say all is forgiven, or if she brought it as proof, to say “I told you so”.
I don’t believe that I will ever figure out my cats. I don’t intend to try. I would only like to sleep. And, if it’s not too much to ask, keep decapitated wildlife out of the bathroom.