The Cat House
(Four cats sit on a cat tree. RAJA, a slender Siamese is sleeping, BOB, a rotund black cat, looks out the window, Katya, a twitchy tabby, is cleaning herself a bit manically, while JAN, a tiny white kitten, hops around excitedly.)
JAN: (Fade up into this speech. Jan has been monologuing for several minutes.) and I swear I like, I heard something outside the window. Like probably a really rare, beautiful bird because I never even heard that sound before, but I couldn’t see you know, I couldn’t make SURE because it was too high up, the window, that is, and so then I thought to myself, I know! I’ll just get up on to the counter and get a better view, you know, a better, you know, like vantage point? I guess? But that’s too high for me, I’m too small, and no one was there to lift me up so I was sad. But THEN guess what happened? (Beat.) Guesswhathappened–
BOB: No one wants to guess.
JAN: I noticed, you know, I saw there was a chair, like pushed right up against the counter, so then I just hopped right up! But by the time I got to the window the bird or whatever, like whatever made the noise wasn’t there anymore anyway. (Beat.) So do you guys want to play a game or something?
KATYA: Shut up
JAN: I was just wondering if you wanted to play a game. Games are fun! No need to be so—
KATYA: SHUT UP! You need to SHUT UP Jan.
BOB: Girl. Calm down.
KATYA: I can’t take it another second! I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to TAKE it anymore.
BOB: You’ve been watching too much Turner’s Classic.
KATYA: I just can’t beliEVE she got another cat. I CANNOT. I REFUSE.
BOB: We know. You’ve said.
RAJA: (stretching) Just ignore Jan. It honestly isn’t that hard, she’s like white noise in the background.
JAN: Hey… that’s not very–
KATYA: WATCH IT, JAN.
KATYA: You guys, I think I need to get out of here.
RAJA: (sighing) what are you talking about?
KATYA: I need my own place. I need a new house. There isn’t room for four cats on this cat tree. There was barely room for THREE.
BOB: … what are you looking at me for?
KATYA: We all know who’s eating more than their fair share of kibble that’s all I’m saying.
RAJA: The cat’s got a point, Bob…
KATYA: I’m gonna make a break for it. I’m gonna go live in the wild. All the birds I can eat, all the mice I can catch. And if I get lonely I’ll just go find a nice new house, and sit outside, and bat my eyelashes and MEOW my lil heart out till my new family lets me in.
JAN: Can I come?
KATYA: Sure, Jan.
BOB: Kid, she’s messing with you. (to Katya) You really are watching too much television. How do you think you’re going to get past the Human? She’s so careful with the front door, and she has opposable thumbs.
KATYA: I’ve got a plan. I’m gonna wait till the next time she comes home from the grocery store. She always tries to bring in all her bags at once, the FOOL. I’ll wait till she’s halfway through the door and I’ll slip between her legs.
BOB: What if she chases you?
KATYA: Have you taken a good look at her lately? She can’t catch me.
RAJA: Katya. Take a breath. You did the same thing when she got Bob and look at the two of you now.
KATYA: But this is different Raja, this kitten never SHUTS UP.
RAJA: Reminds me of a kitten I used to know. (Beat.)
BOB: Raja’s right. She’ll grow up and chill out, pretty soon she’ll be one of us.
BOB: Not now, Jan.
KATYA: But what if she’s not the last one. Two was reasonable, three was pushing it, but four is out of control. She may have just crossed into cat lady territory. How long before she doesn’t know how many cats she has around? How long before she doesn’t scratch behind our ears anymore, because she’s got too many ears to scratch? Her whiskas budget must be through the roof already, who KNOWS how long those will last.
BOB: Don’t be crazy. She knows how much we love the whiskas.
KATYA: DOES SHE, BOB?
BOB: Ok. Maybe you have a point–
RAJA: Don’t let her get to you, Bob.
BOB: I have always wanted to be an outdoor cat–
RAJA: Woah, that’s crazy talk.
KATYA: It isn’t! You’re finally getting it Bob. They say a cat has nine lives, but I know the truth, we’ve only got one, and we’ve got to SEIZE IT! We’re wasting our lives away here, watching television, fighting for her lap, for her affection, for our fair share of Whiskas! We’re missing out on so much. I’ve never caught a mouse, I’ve never even SEEN one.
RAJA: You know who you sound like? You sound like Jan obsessed over her bird.
KATYA: Well maybe she was right! Here I was pushing her down, when I should have been lifting her up!
JAN: Yeah I need to help to get on the counter–
KATYA: We need to join together! It’s not Jan that’s holding us back, it’s HER. It’s captivity.
RAJA: We love her. She gives us our whiskas.
BOB: But I always want more.
RAJA: She scratches our ears–
KATYA: Maybe it’s time we scratched our OWN ears.
JAN: I can do that! Look at this! I’m doing it! I’m scratching my own ear!
KATYA: That’s right! Look to Jan! We can scratch our own ears, catch our own birds. Throw us out into the world and where do we land?
JAN: In the bushes?
BOB: On our feet, Jan! On our own four feet.
KATYA: What do you say, Raja?
BOB: Are you with us, or against us?
RAJA: I’m an old rescue, you kittens don’t know what it’s like out there! What about when it rains? We hate getting wet. What about when it snows?
JAN: That’s just a sacrifice we’ll have to make, Raja. For freedom.
KATYA: Now you’re talking, Jan! Listen to Jan, Raja.
(We hear the keys jingle in the lock.)
BOB: That’s her! She’s here! It’s now or never! What do you say?
KATYA: Shall we seize the day? Start the next chapter of our lives?
RAJA: Ahh, someone’s got to look after you furballs.
(The others cheer in excitement, they hurriedly chitter-chatter as they prepare for their escape. We hear the door swing open, and the shaking of a cardboard box. A woman’s voice is heard.)
HER: Hello bebbies, who wants a treaaat?
(The cats begin to purr and meow in docile delight. They meow through the following)
HER: Good Kitties. I missed you! Yes I did! Are you getting along with Jan? How was your day? Did you see anything in the windows?
(The sounds of the woman and her cats fades away.)
Your next stop is 8316 106th street. Walk a block and a half down 106th street towards Whyte Ave. The house will be on your right. We’re looking at the left-hand, top half of the house.