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©May 2006

Carol Jane Remsburg




Kitty NasCar




Now that Summer is almost here and the outside temperatures are warm enough to open the windows but the steep electric costs haven't yet driven us to turn on the air conditioning, this IS the time of year for Kitty NasCar!


What's Kitty NasCar, you ask?  Well, we have five qualifiers in the house; Pyewacket, Missy, Gabby, Salem, & Stripes.  All female and all pretty fearless when the race is on. 


Usually during most of the year, the house is pretty well closed to the "oval track", by this I mean they can race thru the house from the screened in back porch thru the kitty-flap, thru the kitchen and dining room only to exit stage right either up the stairs to Erin's room to circle and come back down or avoid the stairs and disappear beneath the labyrinth of my bed to circle back and do it all over again.  However, during this brief season, of Spring or Autumn, the oval comes into play.  On weekends when we are home, and the weather is nice enough, there is another door that opens onto the back porch from my bathroom/laundry room off my bedroom.  I open the door onto the porch and the door from my bedroom leading to that little bathroom.  Voila!  We now have kitty raceway heaven.  It's more of a road course than a true oval, but they don't have to double-back to take the lead. 


Even with the long run up the stairs and around the free-standing wardrobe, doubling back can be hazardous to their health for one or more of the racers are laying in wait to wreck the unwary.


And so like NasCar, there are teams within teams among this fickle lineup of feminine felines. 


#1 in the line up—Pyewacket (Pye for short), always qualifies first simply due to dominance and past winning history:  Pyewacket runs alone, deceptively quick for normally she moves at the speed of cooked oatmeal.  However, when the game is on, Pye is lightning fast and a blur.  I often wonder if she simply reserves her strength for those singular bursts of speed.  She's a true calico, dark, with the harlequin mask of good & evil.  She's a round, stumpy little cat with bow legs.  Experience and age is her edge.


#2 in the line up—Missy.  Missy fancies herself "Second-in-Command," keeps herself toned and in shape, and ensures she sucks up to her Mommy.  The gray tabby is well-muscled, swift, and misses NO opportunity to either bottleneck or crash out her competition.  She feels this is only fair play as any advantage she takes is hers.  Consider this the 'call of the wild'…it fits and works great for her strategy when lacking true speed.  Missy relies on agility, finesse, and sabotage to win the day.  And why not?  This has worked well in the past for her.


#3 in the line up—Gabby.  Gabby is Missy's twin, but younger.  Nearly identical in appearance but Gabby is darker and is proud of her white toes, thinks they make her run faster.  Now Gabby is the Dark Horse of any race that she's involved in.  She's true to her name, she NEVER shuts up—EVER.  She even talks in her sleep.  Thus, when the game is afoot, she keeps up a steady chatter, much like the catcher in a small town baseball game.  Dares, insults, diversion…are all part of Gabby's arsenal to ensure she takes the lead, at least once during the race.  Her odds for winning, always slim, but once in a while her methods do work a certain madness.


#4 in the lineup—Salem.  She's the goofy one, the scareycat, but she's also the most sleek, fully-muscled, and swift of the bunch.  Often she portrays an innocence bordering on stupidity, yet, when focused, the game is ALL.  She's the youngest of the clan and easily distracted, but my money usually rests on her.  She's midnight black and silky.  Salem is also the largest and strongest of all the cats in the house.  It's kinda like she's got a Hemi…and the others have little 4 cylinders.  She only has to turn on the power.  Her issue is concentration.


#5 in the lineup—Stripes.  Stripes is Salem's older sister, more wise and wary.  She still has 'all four on the floor' as we haven't yet removed her advantage of traction, so to speak.  However, she was the last to gain entry into the house, living off the land on her own for a long time since she would disappear for days at a time.  A wily tabby with the saunter and confidence of a cougar.  She's a take-no-prisoners sort of feline, except for her sister whom she truly has a soft spot for.  For Stripes, there is no dirty trick too low to employ when winning is the outcome.  In that, she and Missy concur, then it becomes a game of wit and subterfuge.


Now you know the racers, so now you need to know the layout of the course.  The Start/Finish line, obviously, is the kitty flap at the back door on the porch.  This leads down a narrow hallway of about 12 feet, into the kitchen.  Once in the kitchen they immediately encounter the obstacle of the kitchen table and all the chairs—dead ahead.  If the chairs are positioned right, they can single file close to the wall for the drastic right turn into the dining room.  There is NO room for two-wide or three-wide through this narrow shute and turn, those who have tried it have crashed, burned, and ended up out of the race right at the start. 


Once the turn into the dining room is made, there is a wide concourse for passing and better traction on the carpet, claws or not, the nubs still dig in and this is the best area for passing.  They have about 11 feet to pass in this area while still trying to get their footing right, leaping onto the dining room table and mussing the tablecloth to leapfrog forward is an automatic BLACK FLAG.  Some have tried it, but it never works well.


At the end of the straight away there is the living room (dead end)—but another severe right turn is taken into a minimal foyer area that expands (either to the left and up the stairs to Erin's room, an angled left into hubby's tv room, straight ahead into the bathroom—none of these apply, not on the circuit).  They continue the arc right into my bedroom, beneath the bed and through the maze for about 10 feet (and this is tight for it's packed under there), and then thru the bathroom door.  Once thru the door, it's another 9 feet before cutting another hard right through the open door back onto the porch.


Zinging through the obstacle course and flying through the kitty flap door making it snap & flap announces the winner.


And while I know NasCar is all LEFTS, in this house, it's all RIGHTs.  Which makes it..alright.


Oh, and by the way, I won a quarter last time.  Salem won!  A good 'hip-toss' down the straight-away put Missy right off her stride.


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