Kiki loves a good string to chase as much as any cat: to lurk, and pounce – “aha!” – and almost get it, as I tug the end past her flickering paws: a quick frenzied pursuit and then a pause, while she studies the terrain, pretends nonchalance, and then – suddenly – pounce, again!
But when she tires of the game she turns, tail twitching, and cuffs my hand. Usually, though not always, with her claws sheathed. Just letting me know that we're done pretending, that she knows it's my hand pulling the string, and that she'll tear it to bloody shreds if I don't quit. Kiki is not one of your mild-mannered cats.
Sometimes, after an illness, I have a similar sense of impatience with appearances, impatience with having my instincts trifled with. I don't know what hand is pulling the string exactly so as to capture my attention: but I know it doesn't move of itself, and I'm tired of the game.