Let us assume, for a moment, that what a mature adult cat does at a leisurely pace, a kitten will do at dizzying speed.
Why is that? Why do small things travel faster? Is it their tiny circulation systems? Is their circadian rhythm different to ours?
I know, now, what Schrödinger was talking about: that bit about a cat being simultaneously existent, and non-existent. I don’t know what all that Thought Experiment nonsense was about. Kittens have no problem being present and absent at the same time. It doesn’t even require practice. It is an instinct.
With quantum physics a way of life, , then, it is fortunate that kittens do not travel in straight lines, but in cycles.
Grown up cats tread the same paths, day after day. They travel in comfortable well-worn cycles, jumping the same fence at the same point, tormenting the same dog,skirting the same flower bed, indulging in a hard-stare with a woodpile from the same angle every day.
But the kitten’s blood courses its little frame far faster, propelled by a tinier heart altogether, and what the cat does slowly the kitten covers quicker than a human eye.
Clive Bond, the Shrewsday Kitten, can approach the speed of light. I kid you not.
He has a fascination with the dining room table, which is unfortunate, because it is one place his paws are not allowed to tread.
So we sit down for breakfast with a bowl of milk and cereal and the kitten is suddenly there, standing by the bowl, about to help himself.
We are all drilled to treat Bond the same way; we admonish firmly ‘No!’ and pick his small frame up and put it where it should be, on the floor.
It is breakfast. I walk over to the sink and wash my hands ready to sit down and enjoy a peaceful bowlside experience.
But there’s a kitten standing next to it.
Bearing in mind my friends’ advice I lift him up and deliver a resounding ‘No’ and put him on the floor and wash my hands, ready to sit down with the bowl and my thoughts…
…and a kitten.
I suddenly feel as though I am caught on a mobius strip: you know those? Put a twist in the link of a paperchain and there you have one: a two-sided piece of paper with only one side. If you had a really obedient linear ant (perhaps we should declare this a thought experiment) the ant could crawl all the way along the strip – having paced both sides of the paper – without ever having crossed the edge.
It’s eternal. It’s infinity. And it expresses perfectly the path of my small Schrödinger kitten.
I can’t even track where he goes. He has a night-time duvet-path from which we are attempting to discourage him. Scrabble up the bed; enter the duvet; find moving foot-target; charge said target. Embed krampons. Become surprised by random event. Fall noisily out of bed.
Blearily someone sometimes wakes up enough to interrupt the cycle by exclaiming ‘No!’ and scooping the kitten out onto the floor.
You see where I’m going with this.
My friends are right: persistence does break the cycle.
But sometimes I am just too dizzy and disorientated to appreciate that breakthrough moment.