Up until someone bought a cat tunnel and gave it to us, it had never occurred to me that a cat would ever want a tunnel. It’s not like you see a lot of cats in hollow logs out in the wild, so when I first opened the gift I was confused. What in the world was I going to do with it? And why would my cat want it?
In the beginning, Odin was not interested in the tunnel. It was not until I received another tunnel as a gift and attached the two that he started to see the tunnels as a thing of beauty. He befriended the giant mismatched tunnel by sniffing it. Walking ever so quietly, sneaking warily, and then gently lifting his nose to sniff the air about a millimeter from the fabric. After he decided that it did not smell like a death trap, he rolled on the floor beside it. Looking like quite the moron, he squirmed on his back—while making pigeon sounds—and looked lovingly at the inanimate object. He did not readily grasp that the inside was open and that it was made for him to hang out in. I watched as he continued to assess the mass of tunnel on the floor, and was pleased when he finally went inside. Now, I thought, he is going to behave like a cat, not a bloody whack-job. I was wrong, as I usually am when it comes to my animals and their strange behaviors. Odin stayed in the tunnel, like a small hairy muffin-top until Mylo walked by. Then it was on. His eyes narrowed, his pupils grew to the size of dimes, and his tail smacked the sides of the tunnel like branches hitting the outside of a tent. Mylo wandered through the porch aimlessly, probably looking for remnants of breakfast that he had missed in his earlier scavenges. Odin’s eyes followed him like a pendulum. He waited, and my anticipation grew—perhaps this whole tunnel thing would turn out to be a good idea after all. Mylo meandered across the path of the tunnel, poor unsuspecting dog that he is. He stopped to sniff my hand, and that’s when Odin struck. Leaping from his tunnel in a blaze of grey fury, forepaws stretched out like a “Y”, claws bared. He grabbed onto Mylo’s haunch and proceeded to gnaw at him with his tiny cat teeth. Ears back, eyes wild. Mylo almost had a heart-attack, but quickly recovered. He turned to offer a counter-attack, but his assailant had disappeared, slipping into the tunnel like a wraith.
Mylo looked at me, confused and accusingly, as if to say I had magically become two entities—patting him from one side, attacking from the other. I pointed to the tunnel, and Mylo tilted his head to the side. I tapped the tunnel and a tiny missile in the form of a cat leg shot out at me, claws grasping at thin air. Now Mylo was interested. He swiped at the fabric with his paw and Odin attacked again. Perhaps he thought that we, on the outside of the tunnel, were unaware that a furry ninja lurked within. Unfortunately, he was not so lucky. But, Mylo is not all that bright and he frequently forgets that the tunnel is not a decoration but an attack lair.
Odin has never used the tunnel for much except to provide a sort of hunting blind. Who ever had the idea to make a tunnel for cats, and what purpose was it supposed to serve? I cannot imagine that they ever thought it would be used as Odin uses it, but at least his didn’t go to waste.