Anyone who owns a cat knows a handful of things. Their sole purpose in life is to be on the other side of a closed door. They are master manipulators. They are vengeance, they are the night. They are Batman. And most of all, they puke. Cats vomit as though it were an Olympic sport. They go for distance, volume, and especially precision. Of all of the cats in the world, the foremost regurgitator is my own, an American Wirehair called Verruca. This animal is a Zen master of the ancient art of vomit. She is a cunning strategist, analyzing foot traffic patterns in order to select the precise point on the floor that will maximize the likelihood of someone stepping in it. Comparing fabric colors and compositions and selecting the one most likely to stain. The creature is a mastermind of aspiration.
I once received a phone call at work. My mom wanted me to know that the cat had climbed up to the top of the refrigerator and vomited off the top. I don’t mean that she barfed with such force that she removed the top of the fridge, though I would not doubt that she is capable of it. I mean she hurled down to the floor from six feet up. This was a maneuver that could only have been performed in order to achieve maximum dispersion. And boy did it pay off. It looked like a crime scene. Like an obese hobo had gotten a hold of some bad pickled eggs on a cruise for seasickness awareness. Like someone had dropped a weather balloon full of chum out of a helicopter. Like Mr. Creosote had decided to have a single wafer thin mint. It was bad. I honestly don’t know how so much stuff fit inside of this animal. Either the size of the contaminated zone was an optical illusion or my cat contains a portal to a realm filled entirely with half digested tuna.
Even when such feats of the heaver’s art are not possible, the animal produces effects that are no less calculating. I keep my bedroom door closed, because there are a great many objects in my room that I would prefer not end up with a tender flaky crust composed of used fancy feast. This morning I was lax in my diligence. For just a few minutes, my door was open. When I realized my error, I hurried to correct it, but the puke ninja had come and gone, like some horrible, sociopath relative of the tooth fairy. On top of my desk was a pile of action figures and accessories. On top of that? Puke. Two separate piles. One on the action figures. One on the accessories. Now. I make use of these figures to produce content for this fine site, so I needed to rescue them. The figures were easy. Pick them out of the morass of evil and rinse them in the sink. The accessories were another matter. They were small. How small? Oh, approximately the size of, say, a chunk of cat vomit. The only way to differentiate them from the vom was by… texture. So… feeling through a pile of warm cat effluent with a paper towel at 5:40 in the morning. I lead a charmed life. I will spare you any further details, but suffice to say I very nearly made my own addition to the mess I was cleaning up.
If any of you are still with me after that little anecdote, I applaud you. My guess is that most of you are cat owners. Well, I just want to leave you with this assertion. Somewhere, your cat is puking. It is carefully choosing the perfect spot, biding its time, and letting rip a noxious stew of ex-mouse and Cat Chow. You will find it, probably with your bare feet. When you do, I ask that you do not curse and kick the cat. Instead, pause in quiet appreciation of your feline’s almost mystical skill. Then go wash up, because you are standing in cat vom, and that is disgusting.
P.S. For a real challenge, try relating that tale in a crowded elevator in an office building. It is an exercise in euphemisms.