Because technically, according to my lease agreement, I'm not actually supposed to have any pets.
I live in fear of eviction. I know for a fact that Pi can be heard eating her crunchies and digging through litter from outside the door. The pitter-patter of little cat feet sounds with the utmost clarity in the laundry below me. I'm not too sure how far the sound of jingly mouse toy travels. I try not to think about it.
One day last summer, there was a knock on the door, and I opened it to find the landlord standing on my doorstep, wanting to come in and check the ceiling for leaks.
"Leaks?" I said. "There are no leaks. Definitely no leaks." Oh dear God, please keep that cat hidden under the bed and not meowing.
"Well, OK then," said the landlord. He turned and left, and my heart resumed its activity.
Whenever I have a rental inspection or the electrician comes to call, I have to pretend that I don't own a cat. This means sending Pi for a sleepover at a friend's house, then scouring the house from top to bottom. The cupboards have to be rearranged to hide the scratching post, the bedsheets and anything else with cat hair on it have to be washed, and the corners have to be checked for jingly toy mice. The place must be thoroughly aired regardless of the weather conditions outdoors.
The electrician arrived Monday morning with record-breaking punctuality (a mere 50 minutes late). He tracked dirt across my clean floor and tested a few outlets. "Where's your fuse box?" he asked then, and pulled open a cupboard door to reveal a tidy arrangement of muesli bars, tuna tins, rice, and kitten food.
I consider it my good fortune that the man was not blessed with keen powers of observation. I directed him to the fuse box; he flicked the power off and on a few times. Then he left and I went off to work, blissfully unevicted yet again.
Sometime later that morning I remembered to start breathing.
The things I do for those furry white paws.