On an average day, I wake up in my cozy little apartment with my cozy little kitty and check on my work email from the comfort of my cozy little bed. As I start responding to the emails that have come in over night (I live in Japan, so while I sleep the “real world” in the U.S. carries on without me. An introvert’s dream? Sometimes!), Brandy snuggles up next to me to offer professional advice and frown upon the casual way that I write to my superiors.
When I finally wrench myself out of Snuggletown to make my coffee and really begin my day, Brandy lingers in bed for a while, soaking up the residual heat from the blankets. About an hour into tapping away at my computer, I’ll hear a THUNK as she jumps from the bed and the padding of little paws doing whatever it is they do when I turn away.
When I started working at home full time, I would call out to her, or go and see what she was up to. My peeking around the corner to see what she was doing invariably lead to a wide-eyed look of, “Nothing. Nothing to see here. What do you want?”
I now realize that by working full time from home, I’ve interrupted my cat’s daytime activities — previously unknown behavior. Much like how I get when my husband has a week off and is AT HOME ALL THE TIME TALKING AT ME, Brandy now has to deal with ME being in her space all the time.
I get the distinct impression that I’m in Brandy’s way. My cat has a secret life.
When we first moved to Japan I would regale my husband with all the bizarre things Brandy would do during the day, from “tinkering” with something in the bathroom to her affinity for my hairbrush. I kept asking, “When did Brandy get so weird?”
Then my husband suggested one day, “Well, you didn’t used to be at home with her all the time … maybe she’s ALWAYS been this weird, we just didn’t know it?”
I feel like David Attenborough, watching the wild kitty in her natural state. “As dusk falls upon the flat, the prowling house-feline begins to stalk the pastry …”
So these are some of the things I’ve observed about Brandy’s strange, secret life. I hope she is merciful if she discovers I’ve shared them with you. Otherwise, after the pastry, I may be next.
I kid you not, the first few times I heard this, I thought I might have to call the building manager.
SCRAPE … KLONK KLONK … THUMP … MEOW-OW-OW.
After this went on for a few days, I ventured into our teeny tiny “somebody played a cruel joke on us and put half an airplane bathroom” bathroom to check things out. I expected to see the sink partially flushed down the toilet, but instead there was just Brandy, blinking in the sink.
“Catface, what’s going on here?”
Blink, blink. Mrrrr-eow. (Translation: “Nothing. Go away, Humanface.”)
So I plucked her out of the sink, put her on the bed, and cranked up the heat for her. I figured she couldn’t resist a toasty bed. WRONG.
She tentatively roosted on the bed, waiting for me to go back to my office nook. Not 10 minutes later, I heard the “pat, pat, pat” of little cat-feet scurrying across the floor and then shortly after the familiar KLONK KLONK of whatever she was doing in the bathroom.
Slowly peeking around the corner of the bathroom entryway, I hoped to catch her. She must have heard me and flipped the secret panels back around a la a Victorian murder mystery mansion, because when I looked into the bathroom she was just sitting in the toilet staring at me. Blink, blink. Mrrr-eow-ow. (Translation: “I won’t warn you again.”)
I’ve yet to find anything out of place in the bathroom, and everything functions just fine. There are no cupboards, no drawers, no welding equipment — just a toilet, a shower, Dr. Bronner’s soap, and a sink. Yet every few days she goes in there to “tinker.”
One day I expect to read the headline, “Cat Builds Rocket Ship From Toilet, Flies Back to California — Stupid Humans Still Confused.”
I used to keep my hairbrush on a shelf in the kitchen/living room.
It’s not that weird (says the woman with a potential rocket-toilet in her bathroom). We live in a “mini apartment” in Yokohama, so storage is minimal, and many of our toiletries are stored alongside the tea and tupperware.
A few weeks ago it really started to annoy me that my hairbrush was always “moist.” At first I blamed my husband. He’s been known to brush his wet hair with my hairbrush (because he wouldn’t buy his own) thus leaving my hairbrush soggy when I reach for it.
He denied it after I confronted him, and even showed me the little dollar-store brush he bought. I apologized, but still suspected him of absentmindedly using my brush when he wasn’t thinking.
Cut to a week ago. I was in my typical work spot, typing away at my computer, when I heard rustling from the kitchen shelves. I have a knee-jerk reaction to these noises, because after living in Hawai’i for three years, odd rustling sounds often signaled the presence of large roaches. Gooseflesh prickling, I walked over to the front of the shelves.
Perched inside, atop the toilet paper reserves, Brandy was chewing on my hairbrush.
“Brandy! You little weirdo! Cut it out!”
I tried to get my hairbrush away from her, but she had the crazy eyes and swatted my hand away, claws out. As I watched her, she alternated between licking at the errant hairs in my brush and chewing on the bristles.
When I finally coerced the brush out of her grasp, she meowingly followed me around the apartment BEGGING for it back. (Is it gross that I still use it?)
Case of the moist hairbrush, SOLVED.
My husband subsists almost exclusively on these little individually wrapped “raisins and cream” pastries the local “konbini” (Japanese convenience store) sells. He buys a few every week and stashes them in his backpack or in our snack bin.
Now and then I’d find them in the middle of the floor, but just figured that he’d dropped one on the way out in the morning.
But a few days ago I was awoken the crinkle of plastic, a bang, and a SWOOSH across the floor. Opening my eyes, I looked around and saw that my husband had already left for the day.
What was that?
Getting up, I looked around for the source of the noise. The apartment was still. Where was Brandy?
When I lowered myself to “cat level,” I discovered the source of the sound, and also the answer to the rogue floor pastries. Brandy was tucked into the corner between our kitchen table and floor lamp with not one, but two wrapped pastries. She scowled at me.
I wrenched the pastries out of her grasp, and placed them on a shelf I was sure she couldn’t reach. Figuring I’d solved that problem, I went about making my coffee and checking my email. A while later, nose buried deep in some Internet “research” about the best breakfast joints in Yokohama, I heard more pastry-related sounds.
Upon investigating, I found Brandy guarding yet ANOTHER wrapped pastry in the back of our closet. How many of the darn things does she have stashed around our apartment?
I should note she doesn’t eat the pastries, she just likes to HOARD THEM.
I’ve since insisted my husband lock them up in a tupperware container, but I suspect there are still more to be found.
Do you suspect your cat has a secret life? Have you witnessed it? Is your cat also a mad scientist with mysterious inventions hidden around your home? Tell us in the comments!
Read more about Louise’s life with Brandy: