As much as I anthropomorphize everything around me, and often attribute understanding to my non-human children when it's really not there, I am sometimes reminded that my babies are not reasoning creatures. In this case, it's Elcy:
She was tearing around the house like she was possessed all weekend. All day, all night. Running into the bedroom, then back out. Running down the stairs and out into the dining room, then zooming back up the stairs again. She gets lit sometimes so I didn't think much of it, although it was excessive friskiness for her.
Monday she was invisible all day. Again, not uncommon - she likes to sleep in the bedroom all day and I was (as I have been all week, unfortunately) on a diurnal schedule, and I assumed she was up there. But when I went up to ferret-proof (close off the bedroom and guest room) to let Harriet and Podo out, she was sitting in one of the litter boxes. This is what our litter boxes look like:
So basically she was sitting in a little kitty cave. I thought she was just being goofy and weird (as is her wont), so I gave her some skritches and then shut the door and went on about my business.
But she never came to bed that night.
Tuesday she was still in the box. All day. When I went to let the fuzzies out in the afternoon, I decided she needed to come out, since as a rule the kibble is only downstairs and I don't keep water in the guest room for them. So I took the top off the litter box and she cringed and acted frightened. I shooed her out of the room, and the ran into the hallway and just crouched in the middle of the hall. As she ran, I heard crackling. I went to pet her, and she just cowered, trembling and growling at me. I've only ever seen her act that way at the vet, where she is unreasonably terrified. When I touched her, I got a zap and the lightbulb turned on.
Our house is very dry. Except when I'm sick, I prefer it that way as it's easier on my lungs. And apparently Elcy's fur texture is super-conducive to static electricity, and has been made that much more so by the lack of moisture in the house. Just walking around is enough friction to set off multiple little charges. All that running around and then the hiding in the litter boxes was my poor kitty trying to escape whatever was shocking her repeatedly! I can't even begin to imagine what she thought was happening to her. And I can't explain to her why it's ok, and why it will be all right.
I put our humidifier in the bedroom and turned it on full blast, and I set a big pot of water on the oven to simmer. I've gone through many gallons of water in the past 2 days, and the house is definitely more humid. Elcy is calmer, but still hiding out in the litter box, so there is now water and a little bowl of food in the guest room for her.
It's hard enough, dragging them to the vet when they don't know why mommy is making them go to the scary place where people do mean things to them. How do you comfort a kitty who thinks she's being tormented by invisible electric monsters?