A while back, a mama cat gave birth to a gigantic litter of kittens. She had dozens of kittens of all different colors and patterns, and they were all squirmy all the time. If she had been a housecat, there would maybe have been a page about her and her kittens on the second or third page of their small town newspaper, but the mama cat was a wild baby herself, so she and her kittens wandered through bushes and alleys largely unnoticed by the people of the town.
But let me go back — all of the kittens were squirmy all of the time, except one. One of the kittens was very, very sleepy. She slept any time the gaggle of cats paused, which was often, but they always started moving too quickly, so she never felt fully rested. When the kittens were a few months old, the sleepy kitten was so tired that she didn’t wake up with the rest of her family. The mama cat, who had so many kittens she could barely remember who was who, didn’t realize the sleepy kitten had gotten left behind.
(Don’t blame the mama cat here — she was doing her best and it all works out okay in the end.)
Back to the sleepy kitten.
Little baby girl had fallen asleep under a pickup truck, because it was nice and shady and because she liked sneaking around under things. She didn’t wake up until the pickup truck started moving, and the kitten was so scared that she just froze — she was certain she was going to be squished — and she didn’t un-freeze until several minutes after the truck had gone.
It was only then that she started to wonder where her mother and siblings had gone off to. She let out a tiny meow, but when she didn’t hear any meows back, she started to shake. She opened her tiny eyes up real wide and looked around as far as she could.
Doing this made her very tired, which was when she decided she might as well take another nap, since she didn’t need to worry about being left behind anymore.
The next time the kitten woke up it was dark, and she felt something other than sleepiness for the first time in her baby life. She got to her tiny feet and started walking with no particular destination in mind.
She didn’t have to walk for very long until she came to a brand new street. This is unremarkable, because there were many places that she hadn’t been to yet, but it was exciting for her, and she took the opportunity to hop around through the grass looking for bugs or maybe a mouse, if she was lucky.
When you’re very young, short amounts of time feel like they last forever, which is why the kitten was completely exhausted after only a few hours of playing in the grass. She was also hungry, though, and was hot on the trail of a grasshopper, so she carried on like a real trooper.
We will shift our focus away from the kitten for now (don’t worry, it’s just for a minute) and pay attention to a sniffling woman sitting on her front porch, holding a lit pretense for sitting out on her porch and not smoking it. Both the woman and the kitten were completely oblivious to each other, at least until the kitten hunted the grasshopper right onto the woman’s bare feet, and both of them jumped up out of sheer surprise. They both immediately froze staring at each other, their previous thoughts completely derailed.
The woman sniffed again after a moment, then ducked into her house. Because the kitten had just lost her battle of wits against the grasshopper, she saw no reason to postpone her nap any longer, and fell asleep in the spot where she stood, so that when the woman returned with a can of wet cat food, the kitten wasn’t awake to eat it. So the cat food was left out next to the kitten, and the woman went back into her house.
The kitten ate the food when she woke up, and then again every day after that, since the woman kept putting food out for her. This went on until the kitten decided to take a chance and follow her inside, and from then on the woman fed the kitten inside and the kitten slept in various hideaway spots all over the house, tucked into spaces you wouldn’t think a living thing could fit into.
The woman also slept a lot, so a lot of the time they would sleep together. This was all good to the kitten, although she didn’t mind when the woman left her alone either — independent cats need time for their own projects, after all.
Of course, one of the kitten’s favorite things to do was to lay on top of the woman’s computer, preferably while it was in use. Usually, she wasn’t allowed to stay long, but after they had lived together for awhile the woman left her computer alone, and the kitten climbed right up on to it, excited to nap.
She was surprised to find herself feeling funny as she fell asleep – it was like her fur was full of static electricity. Eventually, this feeling became so strong she decided to get up — but she wasn’t in the house anymore! She had, it seemed, melted into the computer, and was now completely digital. As she padded around, knocking over files and bookmarks and licking digital words, she found that she was thoroughly enjoying her new adventure.
The digital kitten also found that she loved to hunt digital mice, but it didn’t last. After what seemed like ages to the kitten (but was really not that long at all), the kitten was pulled out of the computer dream by the woman’s frantic squeal. The kitten jumped up falling off the computer (but landing on her feet) — it was the loudest she’d ever heard the woman be.
As you may have guessed, the woman was depressed, and I wish I could tell you that the presence of a magical cyber kitten in her life cured her of this, but it did not. (Even the best things, like selfless love or slices of cake, can’t do that, and it’s misguided to expect them to.) She did however, feel a few pure moments of excitement when she saw what had happened, and then a few more from petting her when the stray electricity jumped off of the kittens fur when she petted her.
They continued their routines — sleeping, working, playing, and so on. Neither of them had any particular goal in their life, which some people might say isn’t the way it should be, but they both enjoyed the other’s company, so at least there was that.
After the shock wore off, they both decided it was as good enough of a time as any for another nap.