The Undersea Kingdom of Secret Delights

Jack and I love our 1890s French farmhouse here in southwest Virginia; the bathroom is our least favorite feature of it. Narrow and deep, no windows, a shallow bath and behind the bath a strange wee closet, not wide enough for a gallon of bleach even. In this closet is an open cut to the crawlspace under the house.

We don’t know why. What we do know is that the cats think this space is magical, mystical, and exceeding necessary to their happiness. Ross, our trickster kitty, spent the first three weeks of his life here with us hiding down there. Molly, our matriarch, loves to spend the weekend in this space under the tub. She’s our best mouser, and we have no problem with her plying her trade down there.

Neither of us have been down there – or want to, thanks all the same–but sometimes we hear the pitter patter of vermin feet coming up through the heating vents. So do the cats because (clever things that they are) they dash not to the vent but to the bathroom door.

We can tell the progress of the cats once they access the closet, by assorted bangings in the pipes that connect to the dishwasher and washing machine. Also some mewing coming up a couple of the heating vents.

They can’t get into the heating vents, so we don’t worry about them getting stuck or roasted down there. They CAN get out through the basement hatch, as we discovered one day when Punk clambored up the basement stairs, looking smug and dusty at the same time.

So sure, they’re going after the mice, but I like to think they have a whole kingdom set up down there, a kind of a cool cat night club, complete with speakers, a roulette table, strobe lighting, and of course a fully stocked milk bar. They all go down at the same time after all, and sometimes I swear I catch a whiff of catnip smoke. Well, they’re all of age.

In fact, if they’re playing poker, that would explain why for the past three days Ross has let Molly eat his wet breakfast. He’s in debt up to his whisker lickins.

It’s a good alternative to letting them play outside, sending the kitties to the undersea kingdom of secret delights. I just hope the place doesn’t get raided. What would the neighbors think?

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