Monday, August 3, 2009

psychic test: more cats

The Gaddises, who have done a great service to the investigation into the secret world of animals through their writings, report a cat whose sense of human time helped the United States effort during World War 11. This cat belonged to the governor of Idaho, whose wartime duty it was to make certain that local high school students showed up daily in the potato fields. When the governor's alarm clock broke, he found he didn't need a new one. His cat immediately assumed the unfailing responsibility of waking the governor every morning at seven o'clock sharp.
Dr Gustav Eckstein of the University of Cincinnati relates the story of Willy, a feline strangely fascinated by the game of Bingo. Every Monday evening Willy would leave home at precisely seven thirty, trot across town to the hospital where the Bingo games were held, and stay until nine forty-five, at which time he thought he should be heading home. Willy's fascination with the game of Bingo is interesting in itself, but his sense of a weekly schedule is truly amazing.
(The cat's ability to achieve absolute oneness with the universe will be detailed fully in our discussion `The Cosmic Compass.')
But now, because my schedule was keeping me away from home more and more, I decided to find Alex a feline friend. I got Alex a little kitten to avoid contests that seem inevitable between grown cats. Alex thought this was a perfectly wonderful idea and he took to `Monk' immediately. Monk, an energetic tabby, looked up to Alex and it was a great pleasure to see them wrestling together, and staring at the things which only cats seem to see. For a while, I feared I might be excluded, but this was not the case. Alex was still fast friends with me.
One Saturday morning, I had to go to the drugstore and Alex, of course, came along. When I went inside, Alex, as usual, waited outside the door. A few minutes later, I noticed Alex was in the store, running down the aisle towards me in a state of tremendous agitation. Meowing loudly, his tail flicking like a whip, he stood before me. I didn't know if I was imagining ii, but his eyes seemed bright with fear. I quickly put my purchase back on the shelf, picked up Alex, and took him outside. When I put him down, he began pacing back and forth, meowing louder and louder. Then he began to run - in the opposite direction from our house. He stopped: - in his tracks, meowed at me, and waited.
I knew Alex usually had a reason for doing the things he did and e so I followed him. Alex took me further and further from our house-, until we came to a yard. He darted into the yard and crawled under an old, white frame house. I followed him, got on my knees, and tried to see what he was so concerned about.
When my eves adjusted to the darkness, I saw Alex standing there over the motionless Monk. I reached under the building and laid my hand on Monk's chest. He was still breathing, but only slightly. There was blood on him; he'd been struck by a car.
I wish this story had a happy ending - but there was no saving the poor kitten. Yet my already immense respect for Alex grew even greater. How had he known the moment when disaster befell his friend Monk? What psychic distress signals had he received? And, if I had been more open, would I have `heard' Monk, too?

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