Keep Calm and Blink

Have you heard about the cougar that curled up for a nap behind the woman’s couch? No, this isn’t a segue to a joke. This is a real news item.

It happened in Oregon. The mountain lion had apparently walked through an open back door to the home (which was decorated somewhat like a jungle with live plants and a stairway built around tree branches). A roommate saw the large cat and screamed. The feline hid behind the couch and took a nap—for six hours.

When the owner of the house arrived, she purposely made enough noise to wake the purring fuzzball. When it awoke, the woman “gazed lovingly into her eyes, and communicated using feline-speak eye blinking to calm her.” She went on to say, “It was amazing to realize that this worked. I gazed lovingly then blinked hard and then she did it back.” The lion was trusting enough to go back to sleep.

“This is wild.”

Finally, the landlady decided it was time for the cat to scat, and she got out a drum and beat on it until the animal left the way it entered. The woman proclaimed, “This is wild.” I guess that’s true on several levels.

Firstly, I had no idea there was a thing known as “feline-speak eye blinking.” I’ve never been good at languages, but I’m thinking I could actually learn this one (not that I’ve had much need for it). I’m not sure why that woman knew about this kitty dialect, but it certainly came in handy for her. Not many folks want wild animals strolling around their homes (or sleeping behind their furniture).

More importantly, I’m impressed the woman was able to keep her wits about her to even try the blinking thing. I’m quite sure I would have let sleeping dogs lie (excuse me—sleeping cats) and called Animal Control.

What Lessons Can We Learn From This?

I’m sure we can all learn several lessons from this event. 1) Don’t bedeck your home to look like your backyard. 2) Make sure you learn how to talk to the animals (Dr. Doolittle, I presume). 3) Keep your back door closed at all times. And last but not least, keep calm and blink.

I’ve often wondered how Mr. Noah was able to herd all those animals into his makeshift watercraft. This little feline fete provides a possible answer to my question—at least for the wild cats and other animals with working eyelids. The Bible tells us that Noah was six hundred years old when he rounded up his menagerie. This, of course, would give him plenty of time to learn enough animal lingo to accomplish his God-given task. Even though it took him a hundred years to build a worthy seagoing vessel, he had to do something in his spare time.

The Bible doesn’t tell us this, but I suspect he went about his communications as calmly as anyone could. Still, I’m not sure how calm anyone could be while they were staring down a saltwater crocodile.

[Dave Zuchelli is a graduate of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and currently resides in Aldie, VA.]

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