What walks down stairs, alone or in pairs,* and makes a slinkity sound?
What’s that little slinky thing?
Everyone knows it’s Hailey.
The Phantom-faced feline in Suite B has taken her place in a special chapter of cat history: Cats Who Make Stuff Up.
Let me explain.
There’s always that kid in elementary school who has more stomach viruses than Katie Holmes has reasons to leave Tom Cruise. He pities the fool who actually wants the Perfect Attendance Certificate. Absenteeism is his motor.
Likewise, there are cats who delight in freaking us out with fake phenomena. The most (in)famous case is Cookie, Tabby’s Place’s longest-time resident. Many moons ago, Cookie was so shell-shocked that no one could make eye contact with her. If you said you’d just been able to pet Cookie, you’d be treated as though you were claiming to have squared the circle, or purchased vegan cheese that is edible, or seen what a deep and genuine person Kim Kardashian can be.
One inauspicious day, however, Cookie permitted petting and prodding and – the fourth rail – picking up. A particular Tabby’s Place Founder/Executive Director, who shall remain unnamed to protect his identity except to say that his name may or may not rhyme with Ronathan, was absolutely petrified that this meant Cookie might be dying. Ronathan wasted no time in whisking Cookie off to the emergency vet. (Oh, to have been a fly on the wall in that office: “What are her symptoms?” “Touchability.” “Um…”)
Cookie was fine. Cookie returned to untouchability for 5-6 more years (and probably made a good bit of money off her friends for this stunt). Cookie was a first-class faker.
And now, our angel of music anxiety is taking a tip from the same book.
If you walk into Hailey’s solarium and do anything boisterous (talking, respiration), she’ll react as though you’ve just dropped a chandelier to the floor. Look fast, or otherwise you’ll miss that low-to-the-ground little slinky thing, a black-and-white bullet of phantom felinity.
Hailey will dart by you, making herself so low that there’s not room for an ant or a Peter Dinklage to fit between her belly and the floor. Everyone knows, of course, that if Hailey doesn’t allow any space between her tummy and the floor, we can’t see her. I mean, duh. But, assuming we could, it’s quite a sight; suddenly her legs disappear, and a low-riding cat who seems to go directly from feet to face slinks by at top speed.
I’ve been asked if she’s a Munchkin. (No.) I’ve been asked if she has legs at all. (Yes.) Dr. C was recently asked if maybe Hailey’s funny slinking is cause for concern.
It was Cookie all over again.
Dr. C duly examined our little slinky thing, and her findings were three:
- Hailey really, really looks like the Phantom of the Opera.
- Hailey really, really doesn’t trust us yet.
- Hailey is really, really 100% fine.
Our slinkiest resident likes to slink. Period.
I must note that, for all her continued phantasmagorical behavior, Hailey has made major strides slinks since first coming to us. Certain special volunteers can pet our phantom for extended periods of time, and Hailey will happily engage you in a blinkfest once she’s slunk somewhere safe (a carrier, a crate, a cone of silence).
But until she’s completely confident in our love, it’s okay. Everyone knows she’s slinky.
*Note to the literalists among ye: Tabby’s Place does not believe in cloning and/or hallucinogenic use, so it’s unlikely we will ever see Hailey actually walk in pairs.