My birthday was yesterday. At work, some of my lovely co-workers gave me a ton of soda, bought me lunch and a snack, and gave me some foil balloons. It was a great time, and I had a ton of fun at work because of it – always good to feel appreciated.
As I left work, I grabbed the balloons along with everything else. My thought process was, quite simply, that I would bring some balloons home for Loki. They’d hang near the ceiling, their strings dangling near the floor, and give him something fun to play with while I wrote.
I walked in the door to discover I was wrong. I was so very, very wrong. Loki initially ran up to greet me, as he always does when I get home…then he saw the balloons.
His expression was not one of excitement, or of mischief, or even of the desire to pounce. It was the sort of terror he usually reserves for large dogs, me dropping my phone, and his dreaded adversary the vacuum cleaner. Before I could even say “hello,” Loki was tearing off across the tile floor and into the safety of the bedroom, where he could burrow under the bed and wait for the terrible floating monsters to go away.
Now, this is surprising. Outside of the usual “Loud noises are startling”, and of course the vacuum cleaner, Loki is a pretty bold cat. He doesn’t panic easily. His curiosity usually outweighs his self of sense preservation, which is why I so often have to lock him in the bedroom when I cook.
But as far as he was concerned, I brought home four floating minions of hell, spawned from the deepest reaches of Satan’s dominion.
I left the balloons floating on the ceiling and grabbed his treats, hoping to coax him out from under the bed so he could see they were harmless. The temptation of kitty snacks was enough to lure him, carefully, out from under the bed. He followed them all the way into the hall outside my bedroom, in fact – right up until he noticed the balloons and made a sound like Satan’s teakettle before dashing back to the safety of my bed.
I was torn between laughing and feeling sorry for the poor little guy. I decided to put the balloons in my bathroom. Loki is not allowed in my bathroom because he loves destroying toilet paper and he has his own bathroom where the litter box lives, so I figured this was a good place to keep the evil hellspawn from terrorizing my dear, sweet, cat.
However, I didn’t consider the ramifications of the path I had to traverse with these balloons. See, To get the balloons into the bathroom, I have to walk them through the bedroom.
The moment I entered the bedroom, Loki comes streaking out from under my bed, making a sound somewhere between Banshee and fingernails on a chalkboard. He takes a flying leap at the horrible strings on the balloons. I choose to believe he did so because he believed these monsters were attacking me and wanted to defend me. It makes what happens next much less annoying.
If you’ve never tried to intercept a pouncing cat, there’s very little that will stop them. Solid steel, perhaps, or a good plank of wood. Balloon strings, on the other hand, offer no resistance to their flight.
Meaning his claws went right through the strings. But, as Newton taught us, an object in motion stays in motion until acted upon by an external force. In this case, the external voice that acted upon Loki’s claws was my ribcage.
I shouted. Loki shreiked. The balloons hovered, mocking us fleshy meat sacks.
Loki retreated back under the bed. The balloons were safely placed in jail in my bathroom, where they are hovering right now, still waiting for a chance to cause more mayhem. It was a solid hour before Loki could be coaxed out from under the bed, at which point he was super demanding of cuddles. I’m not sure which one of us he was trying to comfort.
As I sit here and write this, I realize something.
Loki was right. I brought demons into our home, and they have worked their dark magic. At some point, I’ll have to remove these harbingers of chaos from my home…and I shudder to think of what they’ll unleash in the process.