Forty Two– Onyx vs the Floor Mop
I am given to understand that most cats are terrified of the vacuum. While I do recall being scared of the vacuum when I was younger, it was something I fast grew out of. In fact, over time, I kind of found the sound as soothing as a mighty loud purr. Being a barn kitten, Onyx never saw or heard a vacuum before coming to our house. The first time Grandma Brown started vacuuming, I was ready. I made sure Onyx was with me. He was all snuggled up against me sleeping the deep sleep that kittens often do. To do my best to shield him from the initially jarring sounds of the vacuum, I pulled him close and made sure his little face was snuzzled deep under my chin.
Once the vacuum roared to life, Onyx jolted a little. Immediately, I started grooming him. I found that if I groomed him on that little place between his eyes, he would immediately relax into a purring ball of jelly. Thanks to my efforts, Onyx woke up with minimal puffing and no hissing whatsoever. Instead, he was full of questions—all of which I did my best to answer. I explained to him what the vacuum was, what it did, and how it doesn’t have to be a terrifying experience for a cat. I did warn him to mind his toys, however, because the vacuum would eat any little string, ball, or toy mouse lying around.
After our talk, Onyx sat on one of the higher tiers of my condo and watched Grandma Brown vacuum the house. His little head would tilt from side to side as his little kitten brain endeavored to make sense of his strange new world. He tried to harmonize his purr to the vacuum, he tried to yeowl with the vacuum, and he even tried patting Grandma Brown on the head as she walked by. If Grandma Brown noticed Onyx’s efforts to “pat” her, she didn’t let on. She gets that way when she vacuums—she just focuses on getting the job done.
Usually, after Grandma Brown is done vacuuming, she will mop the floors. Her mop is a fascinating mop. It is a spongey strip surrounded by two rollers. The rollers are operated by a lever halfway up the mop stick. Grandma Brown dips the mop in her bucket and then pulls on the lever to ring the extra water out of the spongey thing. Given how much I enjoy watching water, I always found Grandma Brown’s mop a fascinating thing. This is probably why it never occurred to me to warn Onyx about what happens after Grandma Brown vacuums.
Onyx was still on the condo with me when Grandma Brown started mopping. At first, his neck seemed to stretch to twice its length, and then he slowly started climbing down off the condo. He kept his body low to the floor, and moved as stealthily as a kitten his age could. He stalked his way up to the mop and bucket, and then each time Grandma Brown pulled the lever to ring out her mop, Onyx would lunge towards the pail and hiss a mighty kitten hiss. He did this two or three times before Grandma Brown began to giggle.
“Oh my Onyx! What is all the fuss about little one?”
Onyx was too caught up in stalking the mop to notice Grandma Brown. His sights were firmly locked on the lever and roller system used to ring out the mop. Every time Grandma Brown pulled the lever, Onyx’s head would pop up over the edge of the bucket and he would his a mighty hiss. Eventually, Grandma Brown was chuckling so hard she no longer could mop the floor. “Oh by jeeves Onyx, you are a regular jack-in-the-box. Whatever are you hissing at you little scruff?!”
With Lolly at school, there was no one around to tell this about so she called Adrian. “Hello Dear, sorry to bother, I just had to tell someone….” She said between chuckles, “Oh no I am fine, yes, Lolly’s fine, we are all fine, no Love, I am not crying from sadness—I am laughing…yes….no…no…it is the kitten, you’ll never believe….” Grandma Brown went on for quite a few minutes telling Adrian all that went on. The more Grandma Brown tried to describe Onyx and the mop, the more she laughed, and the more she laughed, the more her belly shook and the more tears streamed down her cheeks. All the while Onyx stood in front of the mop and pail transfixed. He was not letting them out of his sight.