“Is Your Hallway Haunted?”
The short answer is … maybe?
And for years we’ve marvelled at how both Sho and Ko traverse the hallway in parkour fashion rebounding off the walls and jumping to incredible heights at apparently nothing.
And sometimes it really is nothing; well, nothing identifiable to my eye anyway. But all of us cat guardians know well a cat’s unclassified ability to see things we don’t. But whether they be spirits or specks of dust remains inconclusive.
At the risk of disappointing the supernaturalists who thought ShoKo were jumping at ghosts, there was indeed a small protrusion in the drywall a half-centimetre in circumference a few feet up the wall near the door. This became a point of acute attention for both Shorty and Kodi as they pawed, clawed and finally scratched the bejeezus out of the wall until it looked like we had a termite invasion. You can check out the evolution of this in the time-stamped video here where I claimed they were Shawshanking their escape route.
Haunted by Design
The more probable explanation for the many antics captured in the hallway is by architectural design. Cats love a full-out sprint and this hallway is a long, uninterrupted stretch of sprinting, stalking and chasing potential where they can really build up speed and deke each other – and me – out with a catch-me-if-you-can abandon.
And, when it’s clean (longtime viewers know I’m not the tidiest, but I try!), the lack of obstacles means they’ve always got a quick escape route. It also means they can keep an eye on things — one eye, mind you — plotting their next move which Shorty always seems to be doing.
The Purrfect Playground
It’s also a concrete corridor for controlled chaos. Having the concrete floor makes for what I think must be a fun and unpredictable element in the cats’ play. Their claws can’t quite get the traction they would on carpet or wood floors so they skid and slide like drag racing cars trying to make sharp turns.
Poor Shorty learned the necessity for caution when she started her sprint only to lose her footing on the slippery surface and fell hard, her little skull making quite the impact noise! Of course, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to feature this in a few montage videos, especially as a punchline in The Felympics (time-stamped to the fall).
Fearless or just Limitless?
Another reason why the concrete is ideal for their hallway high jinks is because they are never told NO in the hallway and therefore feel no anxiety about using/abusing it for limitless play. Unlike, for example, the table or a good chair you often tell the cat to get off of with a clap or spray from a water bottle, where they may still explore and either exit quickly if you’re coming or jump onto explicitly to illicit your attention.
One more way the concrete inspires such crazed behaviour could also be in the acoustics. Sounds that are made on one end of the hallway echo down to the other and it can be hard to pinpoint any one’s or any thing’s location. This could result in a cacophony (cat-cophony?) of stimuli that, combined with the hallway’s aforementioned benefits, enhance the predatory and reactionary natures of a cat’s desire to hunt and play to such a degree that it could in fact seem haunted.
What do you think? Can cats see ghosts and spirits? Do you have a “haunted hallway” or similar space where your cats play more than anywhere else? Do you think they are seeing spirits or it just the space’s physical characteristics that make it attractive?