By Tony B. (photos by Karen)
Karen thought you needed a break from all the recent heavy stuff about my namesake, so she sat me at the keyboard for this one.
The guy who designed our house probably didn’t realize he “Catified” the living room with the three big wooden beams that hide the ductwork. From the house’s front to back, we call them 1st, 2nd and 3rd beams.
Karen says every cat has loved 1st and 2nd beams, and they have the scars to prove it. She made them even more irresistible with tall bookcases between them on the floor below, right beside the fireplace mantle. We cats can go upstairs > downstairs without stairs. Max does it all the time, even though the leap down from the mantle makes his teeth rattle.
[SECRET: An alternate, arguably easier, route is to leap from 1st beam to the gray perch, but it takes more precise aim.]
Strolling along 1st and 2nd beam is easy-peasy because you just step off the balcony. The first night Karen brought me home, Roc says I shot out of the carrier and onto 1st beam within minutes. Within a day or so, I did it again, only to slip and fall off.
But falling off 1st or even 2nd beam is a rite of passage here. Every cat has done it, but none have ever hit the furniture nor been injured, even though Karen says we don’t always land on our feet.
3rd beam is another story. You need mega cat guts to go out there because it’s beyond the balcony. It requires a full-body stretch across empty space.
Karen says all my Cats Working predecessors attempted 3rd beam at least once as young cats. Once was usually enough, and then they avoided it for the rest of their lives.
The exception was Yul, an enormous black cat who, according to legend, was a diabolical genius, even after one of his daredevil stunts cost him his tail. He looks like he’s got zero fucks to give, right?…
If reincarnation is a thing, Karen says Roc could be Yul. As soon as he figured out the logistics, Roc claimed 3rd beam as his exclusive turf, and Max and the late Adele were happy to let him have it. He goes out there all the time like it’s nothing…
I’ve been studying Roc’s technique closely…
Last week when I told Max I was going for it before I age out, Max stared at me and muttered something about “a death wish.” Karen freaked when she saw me up there looking serious. And there was no turning back when Roc called me a “chicken”…
Readers, I did it. And it felt GREAT!
What nobody told me is that getting out there is the easy part. The potentially deadly move is the dismount.
Pulling yourself back onto the balcony takes so much upper body strength, Roc separated the wood at the bottom of the banister. Karen glued the wood back, but decided to leave it taped because she knew Roc would just break it again.
I’ll admit it, that first dismount was scary. If I fell, I was definitely hitting something sharp going down. (And be humiliated as the first 3rd beam kitty fail ever.) So, here goes…
I nailed it! It gave me such a rush, I couldn’t wait to do it again…and again…and AGAIN!
BTW, I found this clip of Roc from two years ago — doing a stunt, of course. He’s such a showoff…
Next thing you know, Roc and I pulled off what’s never been done before…
3RD BEAM DOUBLE KITTY
Karen shook her head and said, “I just hope that beam is strong enough.”
So, I’ve officially conquered our final frontier (if you don’t count behind the washer/dryer). And I didn’t even use up one of my nine lives.