the realization that shoelaces are inedible
|He crouched on the floor in front of me, paws pinning the stray shoelace down clumsily. A stab of amusement hit me as his tail lashed back and forth over the carpet with frustration. His head was tilted, his ears were flat, and he was chewing determinedly on one end of the shoelace with his eyes squinted in concentration. I could practically hear his thoughts buzzing through his little mind: It won't be eaten. I hate it. I want to eat it but it doesn't taste like anything! I don't care and I need to kill it, I need to eat it, and it won't die!
My enjoyment of watching the struggle suddenly vanished, to be replaced by pity for the cat. It wasn't his fault that he couldn't kill that ancient shoelace. As if knowing exactly what I was thinking, he turned and glared at me with such exasperation and anger that I had to offer a forced smile to lighten the moment.
"Billy," I murmured consolingly, leaning forward to pick up the other end of the shoelace. "You can't eat it. I'm so sorry."
The ferocity in his olive green gaze turned to a blank stare as I gently removed the lace from the hook of his claws. His eyes followed my hand as it clasped around the entire shoelace, tugging the end away from his grip. I tried to ignore the saliva on the tip as it was mashed into my palm.
"It's just a shoelace, Billy."
And his stare moved from my fingers to my eyes. His were full of confusion and desperation with a hint of indignity. I was sure that mine were as soft and soothing as ever. "Just a shoelace," I repeated gently, stroking his sleek, gray head. "Welcome to reality, where cats don't eat shoelaces."