There comes a time in every young cat’s life when they discover the mirror. Some flaunt their self-perceived glory in front of it and preen. Others run in terror at this malfunction of the rules of the universe. Then some see a mirror as an opportunity.
It was in this last category that the Gray Menace – Clancy J. Bumps fell. As a kitten, he was blissfully unaware of the mirror in the bedroom until one day, we put him in front of the mirror to see his reaction. First, he panicked at the gray kitten that was looking back. But soon, he peered around the side to investigate that other cat who dared enter his kingdom. A mirror fight followed.
We were so amused that we composed a jungle on the spot to sing to him:
“I see by your outfit that you are a Clancy.
You see by my outfit that I am one too.
We see by our outfits that we are both Clancy’s
Oh, Clancy, don’t bite me; I’ll have to bite you!”
Mirror fighting proved an amusing distraction for a few days. Then we discovered that there was a more sinister edge to the mirror confrontations. Clancy figured out just exactly who that was in the mirror. The little brat was using the mirror to perfect his stalking techniques. Soon he was practicing using his moves on us but soon moved on to other cats in the neighborhood. Periodically he’d check his methods in the mirror. The mirror was his tool for prototyping terror.
As he grew into becoming the Gray Menace, we realized that most of his confrontations with other cats were bloodless. His rehearsed moves were so good, so convincing that most cats folded their hand ( err paw?) without a single swat. It was all noise and posturing.
I remember one morning in early winter when the frost was on the ground. The Grey Menace strolled out to meet a neighborhood cat for a confrontation. It looked like a clip from a Samurai movie with the Menace standing in for Toshiro Mifune. One rush, a howl, and a raised paw, and the opponent was down in submission. I’d seen those same moves rehearsed time and again in front of the bedroom mirror.
The Menace was a gang leader. He made buddies with some of the vanquished. After all, they knew who the boss was! We, of course, had to put down snacks for the team when they gathered to lie in the sun, preen, purr and yowl. Life was good!