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Animal Spirits

Big Gray Cat by Midgetcricket [Reviews - 0]

My family moved to Three Rivers, Michigan when I was a teenager, maybe 2001 or 2002. We weren't going to be there long, so took the first rental that came along. The folks who owned it were trying to sell it because the father of the house had been mugged so badly he never regained his short term memory. It was a terrible situation. The house was lovely though.

It's a beautiful two story with a giant oak tree in the side yard, and a fountain in the back. It has very unique architecture, and has obviously been added to over the years. It has a traditional Michigan basement (search pictures, Michigan basements are creepy on their own) with a couple rooms, and a hidden safe stuck right into the foundation. Two car garage with extra workshop and washroom space. The second story has three bedrooms and a full bath with an old time free standing claw tub, and very curvy almost modern art - walls.

The first floor has a kitchen with a pantry that hides a staircase that once went upstairs and was shoddily boarded off, like if you pried the boards off you still might find a room behind them (we decided that they would have led to the upstairs bathroom). There's also a separate dining room (where an elderly woman once died of a heart attack), a reading room, and a large living room with huge heavy doors that roll into the walls. There's a hidden closet under the stairs we didn't find for months. There's an odd little room that has all sorts of windows facing the inside of the house, including the in the door. It would be perfect for a playroom or office, except one thing - it STUNK. I'm sure this room was the reason we got the house so cheap. Someone had locked a (definitely unfixed male) cat in there, and it had soaked everything so bad there was no part of the downstairs that didn't stink of cat spray. Your eyes watered to be in the room. My mom easily spent hundreds trying to get rid of the smell. I'm sure that whoever bought the house didn't just tear up the carpet, they probably had to replace the floorboards too. Poor kitty.

We hadn't even finished moving in when the cat first showed up. My mom chased him up the stairs thinking he had run in one of the open doors, but he ran down the hall and her arms were full of boxes so she turned the other way to unload in her own room. When she went to go get the kitty she couldn't find him but assumed that he'd gone back out on his own. It was another week or two later when Mom again saw the big cat at the top of the stairs. She ran up after him, but couldn't find him and thought he was hiding in one of our rooms. It took her a few minutes to search all three bedrooms and when she couldn't find the kitty, again assumed that he had run out (like I mentioned, the house really REALLY smelled so there were always open windows and doors).

By this time Mom was warning us not to be bringing in the cat because she didn't want it piddling where the last cat had sprayed. My brother and I both swore we hadn't even seen it. Of course we adopted every stray that came our way and Mom didn't believe us. I'm sure it didn't help that I was trying to leave it food on the porch (I really wanted a cat, OK?). She theorized that he either belonged to the neighbors or the last family had abandoned him. It didn't take long before we didn't leave anything without a screen open so the cat didn't get in. It didn't stop him.

Over those initial couple weeks both Mom and my brother saw it a few times and mysteriously lost him in pursuit. They both described the same cat; Really big, solid gray with long hair. He wasn't always up the stairs, sometimes he was in the kitchen or the living room. Someone chased him through the reading room once. But he really liked the second floor.

Eventually Mom saw the kitty run down the hallway as she was coming up the stairs and ran after it. But this time all the doors were closed. And the huge gray cat with the long hair wasn't there! There was absolutely no way he could have gotten past. She came down the stairs with a bewildered look on her face and said,"You're not going to believe this," and told us what happened. My brother was SO HAPPY. It turned out the exact same thing had happened to him a few days earlier. With Mom to corroborate his story he didn't feel like he was going crazy anymore.

The big cat liked this game. Twice he disappeared into the doors-closed dead end, once into the nearly empty bathroom, and a few times into Mom's room. Mom thought the cat was neat (we finally had an animal that didn't shed!) but he kind of freaked my brother out. He would usually use the downstairs bathroom to avoid having the gray cat following him around upstairs.

One night I was up pretty late reading when my brother came into my room. He'd gotten up to use the bathroom and upon returning the big gray cat had run into his bedroom ahead of him and hidden behind his bed, and he wanted me to go chase it out so he could go back to sleep. I went into his room and checked around and found nothing.

Then there was the knocking. Like someone knocking at the door, except that it would come through the walls. Not any specific wall, just a random wall near where you were. This had us confused when it started too. We all answered the doors (both the front and side door where my brother's friends sometimes knocked) a couple times each to find no on there. First we thought it was the neighbor kids pulling pranks on us. Then Mom thought it was our friends. But eventually we had to admit that the knocking wasn't always coming from an outside wall, and seldom anywhere near a door.

Mom's skeptical boyfriend thought we were were messing around to get him to believe in the cat for months months! - because the knocking would only happen around him when one or more of us weren't in the room, or on an outside wall where it could have been a friend we put up to it. Finally, about a week or two before we moved out, we were all eating dinner in the dining room together when we heard the knocking. From an inside wall. After a short search that produced no snickering neighborhood kids, he had to admit that he had no explanation. Never did admit that it was supernatural.

I never did lay eyes on the cat (which admittedly still makes me jealous), but I heard him playing all the time. The living room was directly under Mom's bedroom, and you could hear something running along the baseboards from one side of her bedroom to the other. This happened all the time, like daily. Even after discovering that the cat didn't technically exist anymore we thought the noises coming from Mom's room was a squirrel that had found it's way into the floorboards of the second story. There was a whole family of squirrels in our yard, including one that took a dislike to my brother and exclusively threw acorns at him, so it seemed like the most reasonable explanation.

Then one day I was at home alone laying on the couch reading a book. I was in high school and my brother was still in middle, so I had about an hour to myself. I could hear my little critter friend running along the wall in my mom's bedroom, from one side of the room, to the other, and back again. This in itself was odd; It usually started in one corner, ran to the other and back and was done. But it ran back and forth several times that day, and then added a new twist. When it reached the corner nearest me, it ran down the wall. Right along the corner. You could follow with your eyes where it should have been it was so loud. At this point I still thought it was was a squirrel running along the brace inside of the wall. But then, after it reached floor level, the loose tapes stacked at the end of the couch I was laying on were knocked over. They were stacked pretty neatly, and were knocked clear across the floor. Then a moment later, I could hear it running around on the rug in the middle of the living room. It sounded like a kitten running across the rug with it's claws out, like how they do when they're riled up. It ran around in circles, would hop across in a line, and roll and hop just like a kitten with an imaginary nemesis. Once again, I could follow with my eyes where it should have been...but there was nothing there! It played around - and it was definitely playing, all cute and happy like - for almost five minutes. I should take this moment to mention that the rug and tapes were on a hardwood floor. So it wasn't the house settling and pulling the threads of the carpet. Also, whatever it was was considerably smaller than the large cat my family had described. I had plenty of time to listen to it's little pitter-pattering paw steps. Then just as suddenly as it had decided to come down, the noise from the area rug ceased and two more tapes from another stack at the base of the couch hit the floor. I could hear it run back up the corner of the room, and run against the wall in Mom's room upstairs from the closest corner to the farthest, and then it was quiet.

This all happened on a clear sunny day. No wind or rain or even a cloud. I wasn't asleep, or reading a creepy book. The television was off.

I thought that it was either a kitten or a deceased squirrel come to play, but some days later my little brother came home from school or a friend's house and saw the big gray cat in the hallway just as he came in the front door. He looked at my brother for a moment then ran to the right into the living room and bounded over the loveseat, hooked around the rug and dodged behind the end of the couch, knocking down a stack of tapes in the process. He then disappeared INTO the wall and ran up the corner to the ceiling. So much for squirrels. At least the cat could still be happy, and be in touch with his inner kitten.

Thank you for taking the time to read the kitty's story, sorry it took me so long to tell it.

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