The cats went to the vet today for their annual checkup et al (shots, pedicure). This was the usual agony for them, strange lady feeling their kidneys and commenting on the state of their bowels, how humiliating.
We'd put the cat carriers out a couple days beforehand, to allow the fright at their appearance (it's a magic trick: how to make Pippin disappear) to die down before the actual event.
This morning I went through the normal routine, feeding Maia in the upstairs bathroom, closing the door on her as I sometimes do to keep her from wandering down and scarfing Pippin's food; then going downstairs to feed an eager Pippin. But something spooked him that overwhelmed his usually intense desire to eat. He dashed off and ran upstairs.
But instead of the closet he usually goes to ground in, he was faced at the top landing by a phalanx of closed bedroom and bathroom doors. With the despairing look of a contestant on Let's Make a Deal who's facing a refusal by Monty Hall to open anything, he just sat there on the landing, enabling B. to scoop him up and deposit him in the carrier. He's learned over the years that resistance is useless, the autocracy will overcome.
Then B. squeezed into the bathroom with the other carrier while I waited outside with a poised laundry basket in case Maia tried to make a break for it. Then through the closed door I heard a couple loud cat wails and a thump, followed by the emergence of a victorious B.
It was still half an hour before time to leave for the vet - that's what you get for giving us trouble, cats - so I stacked the carriers in the living room, giving Maia a chance to teach the usually silent Pippin how to wail in despair, and B. took a photo and posted it on Facebook with the title "Jailhouse blues."
After it was all over and we came home, they dashed off in all directions when we let them out. When I came down to fix dinner, I found them in the living room embodying the style of English place names, Maia-under-Tree (I'd set up the Christmas tree earlier in the afternoon) and Pippin-on-the-Couch, both giving me a very wary eye. But they ate their dinner OK, and Maia wanted her usual adoration afterwards.