We have a lovely cat, Daisy, whom we ‘rescued’ from a cat shelter. Shortly after she moved in, another cat got in through the catflap one evening. We were out and didn’t see what happened, but the two cats had clearly had an epic struggle. Clumps of cat fur were on the stairs. Objects were strewn around as if the cats had been grappling on table tops in various rooms. Daisy was traumatised by the event.
We decided to splash out on a state-of-the-art high-tech catflap which would be programmed with Daisy’s electronic ‘chip’ and would open only for her. Naturally it was expensive, and so was the joinery required to fit it in the door. But we consoled ourselves by thinking that Daisy would never again have to confront predators inside the house.
Daisy too mulled over the incident and came to the opposite conclusion. She instituted a regime of guarding the catflap. From early morning she stations herself in a viewing position from which she can look through the catflap to check for enemies. Occasionally enemies present their evil faces at the catflap window, but they can’t come in.
But Daisy doesn’t know this and is always alert to danger. Now it is my turn to be tormented by the impossibility of explaining the situation to her. It weighs on my mind to see her carrying out her long vigils when I know that her enemies can’t get in. But how can we explain this concept to Daisy? I often feel there’s a metaphor here, but it never quite crystallises.