The orange tabby cat channels his inner wildcat as he studies the new addition to his environment. The creatures who serve him have brought in a giant watering hole, filled with floating grass and what looks like one of the playthings their little ones dress and undress for hours on end. They've tried that with him, but he wasn't having it; a fast hiss and swipe of a claw put a quick end to that nonsense. What's really fascinating are the blue and yellow fish swimming between the bubbles. He contemplates as they move aimlessly, back and forth, back and forth. He springs from the floor to the chair for a better look. There are no natural predators for him here; the creatures he shares space with bow to his every whim, they know he rules this kingdom. They love him; from time to time, he's let them believe that he returns their adoration—a small boon too keep them content— he will admit that occasionally their stroking can be quite pleasant. He reaches toward one of the yellow fish, but it darts away when his paw touches an invisible barrier. He doesn't like that. He's had a run in with something like that before when trying to get outside. He took a running leap and smashed his head. He pretended it didn't hurt, but it did, so he let his creatures coddle him a little. He doesn't want a repeat of that. He sits back to think some more. Perhaps a different angle would be better. There's a shelf a little ways up the wall. His creatures think he can't reach it, but late at night when they're asleep he goes there to practice his stealth skills, weaving between their odd obstacle course. With one practiced leap, he is on the shelf and seeing the watering hole from a new perspective. Dangling a paw to judge the distance, he decides he can manage the thin ledge— after all, he walks the top of the fence with ease. In the middle of a graceful leap his ancestors would be proud of, he is distracted by the mother-creature, who enters the room, screaming his name. As he dives head first into the water, it's clear that he's miscalculated. Instantly, he claws the side of the invisible wall till he finds purchase to get his head above water. The mother-creature comes toward him, but he hisses at her before using all his strength to haul himself out and escape down the hall. Let them clean up the mess. It's their fault in the first place. He needs to dry off and practice his indifference.
~Elise Skidmore ©2023