artemis has a surprising brave streak

My cat is afraid of a lot of things, but they break down into three main categories. He's afraid of noises, the outside, and nearly every human in the world except the two of us that he lives with.

His greatest single fear is the vacuum cleaner. He once broke himself trying to escape it. The worst part is the noise it makes, but I'm sure he's also not happy that it causes his carpet to lose the protective layer of cat hair that he works so hard to spread.

The next best instrument of cat torture is the doorbell. It's a sudden noise that signals the presence other humans, and it makes us open a door to the dreaded outside. I think Artemis doesn't trust the concept of a space without a ceiling. He also seems to worry about the corrupting influence of the out-of-doors, because sometimes when we come home he'll look at us, take a beat, and then hiss, like he's worried that we've been tainted by the fresh air.

He lives in a perpetual state of readiness to hide under the bed, which is why I was surprised to learn a while ago that slightly above his yellow belly beats the heart of a mouser. He was scrabbling around in the kitchen late one night, and I assumed he was playing with a toy. Then he suddenly straightened up and pranced over to me, and as he got close I noticed a freaking tail sticking out of his mouth.

Artemis dropped this little mouse right in front of me and just sat there, all puffed up with pride. But it turned out that he doesn't know what comes between "catch mouse" and "gift mouse to clumsy human who can't catch one of her own," because while I was coming to grips with the fact that there was a rodent at my bare feet, the stunned little thing got up and scampered off.

The cat gave me this look of total disgust for letting that happen. Apparently I am a great disappointment.

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