As a long-time writer of science-fiction, I accept the possibility extra sensory ability exists in some humans. How about animals? Same thing. Especially those whose mental attributes are close to ours. I think chimps, whales, porpoises, dogs, cats, and maybe some pigs, may fall into that bag. Whether that’s true or not, I have a HUGE problem.

My cat, Cleo, is the reason. I think it’s entirely possible that Cleo is not of this world. She is not really a cat. Cleo is something else. Perhaps she is extra-terrestrial. Maybe she was planted in the SPCA Shelter where I conveniently ‘found’ her and she planned the whole thing to ingratiate herself into our human society.

The alternative possibility is one I don’t wish to think about or examine too closely… that I have become non compos mentis. Or my brain has grown addled from all the sci-fi books I write.

Here’s what happened, and you be the judge. I sent her out to play yesterday morning. At evening after I finished writing and it was bedtime, I called Cleo to come in for the night.

Let me be clear on this point. When I let her out that morning, she stayed out, sniffing flowers, chasing bees, and playing for the rest of the day. I watched her do it.

When I called Cleo that night at 8 PM, I was tired after a full day. I had a work-out at Larry’s Iron Worker Gym, then grocery shopping for pie crust and some Granny Smith Apples. I was going to make an apple pie or two, then more writing. I believed Cleo was tired as well.

No Cleo appeared. I forced myself awake for another hour or so to watch for her. By 9:30 I had fallen asleep twice in my chair in front of the TV. The porch light was on and I expected that bad cat would show up sooner or later. At last I got up and called her again, but Cleo did not show. ‘That’s it’, I told myself. ‘If Cleo likes to stay out all night, so be it.’ I went to bed.

I suppose my conscience bothered me because at 2 AM I woke and went to the sliding glass door to call Cleo in for what remained of the night. She didn’t come so back to bed I went.

At 5 am I was, abruptly, brought to full wakefulness by the certain conviction ‘something’ had walked across my pillow. Cleo does that to wake me up in the morning, but I knew it couldn’t be her. Cleo was still outside. She had never come in that night. Of that fact I was certain.

I rose and dressed, and in the dim light of early morning, I looked across the bed for Cleo. No Cleo was there. I didn’t expect she would be. My senses were playing me tricks. By the time I dressed I expected Cleo would be at the sliding glass door of my bedroom-office crying to come in. She wasn’t. Surely, I thought, before it gets light Cleo will come home. I went out and fed Calico, my outdoor cat. Then I went in to listen to the early TV news.

As I sat and listened to the news, suddenly, like a ghostly apparition, Cleo appeared out of nowhere sitting on my bed saying not a word. Let me tell you, I thought hard. Here was a mystery.

“Cleo, is that you,” I cried. “Where have you been? I know you never came in last night.” I didn’t have an answer then and I don’t have one now. Only two possibilities remain. One, my cat has the ability to pass through walls and she is a creature not of this world. Or two, I have grown senile and I didn’t remember she came in.

Whatever happened, I can still write my stories, I can still make my oatmeal for breakfast, I can still weed-whack my grass, and I can still shower and dress myself and make apple pies. Maybe, as I pass to my ninety-third year on this planet, the answer is that Cleo is an alien visitor and has come for a while to measure my hold on reality. Whatever the mystery, I’m faced with one cold truth; Cleo is more than just a cat.