I used to have a three-legged cat named Gracie.
She was a happy-go-lucky little creature who hopped around my St. Louis apartment chasing houseflies and the occasional spider. Her favorite pastimes were watching me shower and talking to Peter.
Who was Peter, you ask?
Peter was the name I gave the other inhabitant of my apartment.
I first became aware of Peter one day when I was getting dressed to go out one night. My apartment was a small "deluxe" studio, as my landlord called it. It was one main room, a kitchen, and an adorable little "dressing room" in the middle that divided the apartment in half.
I was in the dressing room, checking out my ass in the mirror and Gracie was at my feet offering her chirpy opinion on my outfit. Without warning, my cheery little cat puffed up and started hissing toward the darkened kitchen behind me.
I turned from my full length mirror and inspected the empty doorway. "Grace…what's wrong?" I cautiously said to my cat, and she continued to hiss, eyes wide, at the dark, empty kitchen.
Her hissing intensified into yowling as I walked into the kitchen and flicked the light on. There was nothing in there, as far as I could see, that could set her off like that. Needless to say, her behavior was CREEPY AS HELL and I booked it out of there to be amongst the visible living.
As I left my apartment, Gracie followed me to the door, as she always does and bid me goodnight. What convinced me to force a friend to stay over that night was the fact that as I shut the door behind me I heard Gracie hissing in my apartment again.
I'm getting goose bumps again just recounting that. I firmly believe that animals can see things that we can't, and Gracie was most certainly SEEING something.
Over the two years I lived in that apartment, Peter never made an appearance exactly, but he made his presence known.
Gracie grew accustomed to him, and I'd often catch her sitting in the middle of the kitchen, eyes aloft, "chatting" with someone. Her little eyes looking inquisitively at an unseen friend.
I even mostly got used to Peter (I called him Peter because he simply "felt" masculine), as he seemed to be a harmless fellow, if not a little creepy. I could describe most of my roommates in that way.
I choose to think he was friendly, as the alternative is simply too chilling for me to handle.
Peter seemed to have an affinity for cups. Drinking glasses I'd place on my kitchen counter would move on their own when I turned my back, and more than once I'd "misplace" a glass only to find it a few hours later, sitting exactly where I'd left it.
Peter was never a threatening presence, and as soon as I caught on that he was sharing my apartment with us, I made a deal with him that as long as he didn't show himself, touch me, or talk to me, we'd be OK. He pretty much stayed in the kitchen, WHERE MEN BELONG.
The only time Peter really, truly frightened me was when he broke one of my glasses.
Gracie and I were making breakfast late one Sunday morning, and right before my bugged out eyes, a glass sitting nowhere near the edge of my kitchen counter tipped over and shattered on the floor. I was not within arms reach of it, and Gracie did not have enough legs to successfully jump onto my high counters.
I guess Peter wanted pancakes too that morning.
Sometimes I think back to those days in that spooky old apartment and I wonder if Peter is still hanging around. Was he real? Was there actually an unseen guy "living" with me in my apartment who just wanted a little attention from time to time? Or was "Peter" just a figment of my overactive, lonely, sleep-deprived imagination?
I like to imagine that he was a ghost of my building's colorful, 100-year old past. Walking through the decaying art deco lobby of what was once a swanky St. Louis hotel and cabaret, and climbing up the cracked, crumbling marble stairs to my third floor apartment (the creaky elevator was original to the building and reminded me of the elevator from "The Shining, so, NO THANK YOU), it was easy to imagine Peter as a character from a bygone era.
Maybe he was looking for a glass in which to have one last high ball or gin gimlet?
All I know is that whatever I speculated about Peter, Gracie knew more. And honestly, the idea that she could see BOTH of us, maybe AT THE SAME TIME, is what freaked me out the most.
Gracie is long gone now, and my current cats don't seem to be as much the ghost hunters. That's just fine with me.
But I have to admit, every time Brandy or Tails stares off into space transfixed by something I can't quite see, I wonder if Peter has dropped by to say hello.
Do your pets ever "see things"? Have your pets ever alerted you to something unexplainable around you? Has your pet or an animal ever "warned" you of something lurking in your home?