Number 8 in the Vader's Cat series. (Formerly called Vader and Cat but we decided we liked Vader's Cat better.)
In order they are:
Cracking the Armor
Another Disturbing Crack
Completely Cracked...and the Cat Came Back
Cracking the Death Star
Cracking Imperial Center, or: Cat Goes to Coruscant
Pruneface Cracks, or: Cat vs. Palpatine
Cracking the Dark Lord
Crack to Nature
Cracking His Confidence
A Fleet Full of Crack(pots)
Carbonite Cracks, or: Cat vs. Fett
Crack to Nature
Vader discovered that the cat had an intense fear of grass. Upon consideration, he decided that this was understandable given the fact that the animal had spent most of its short life on a Star Destroyer. As such, it had no way of realizing that the weird, wavy green stuff that sprouted from the ground on most of the planets that Vader had occasion to visit was not going to attack it. However, the Dark Lord's tolerance of the situation made it no less embarrassing, especially since the cat routinely forgot—or perhaps choose to ignore—the fact that it was petrified of walking in grass.
It habitually rode on Vader's shoulder, which would have entirely eliminated the problem, except that it was also used springing down from its perch whenever it saw an opportune moment to wreak havoc or engage in a bit of solo intimidation. Vader was willing to put up with this practice because he found the cat's ability to cow trained Imperial officers and other high ranking officials to be quite entertaining. He often found that he could use the cat's temperament to his advantage if for some reason he needed to keep an errant Governor or military advisor alive. A simple slow, pointed turn of his head toward his right shoulder, where the cat most often roosted and it would glare so balefully that the offender would blanch and sputter apologies. If the cat was already on the floor or in some other more advantageous location like the top of a shelf or the back of a chair, Vader could casually inquire as to whether the individual would like to discuss his or her error with his cat. This typically produced a flurry of wild, frantic activity as the person's head swiveled around the room in hopes of finding the feline before its claws sank in. Most often, he didn't even need to have the cat swat the person, but in some cases he did so, simply for the sake of reminding everyone involved that his cat was a force to be reckoned with in its own right.
Privately, he also thought the cat made an impressive display of itself when it leapt off his shoulder as he reached the end of a shuttle's boarding ramp and landed without missing a beat. It would then parade along quite haughtily at his side, casting disdainful glances to either side. He had no idea how the fat orange beast managed to appear so regally graceful as it did this, but he had long ago learned to stop asking questions.
Unfortunately, the cat's admirably imposing presence was diminished somewhat by the problem with grass. This was particularly the case when, upon stepping out of a landspeeder at the country estate of a particularly troublesome regional governor, Vader felt the cat spring down and immediately knew that it was going to land on the lawn.
Naturally, it realized its mistake a moment too late and then let out a high pitched shriek of alarm that made the entire entourage stop in its tracks. They looked nervously from Vader to the cat, who had unsheathed its claws and was attacking the lawn with a hissing, spitting, growling fury that was easily worthy of an enraged Iridonian reek. Vader sighed, wondering if it would be feasible to allow the animal to wear itself out before he attempted to pick it up. He wasn't afraid of the cat's teeth and claws, but he was getting particularly tired of having to buff scratch marks out of hands, arms, or even his chest plate when the animal decided to shred him.
After a moment's consideration, he turned to face the beast and pointed a finger at it, calling on the Force to lift it off the ground. He had hoped that this would resolve the problem, but all it accomplished was to create an even more ridiculous spectacle. The cat, now floating several inches above the grass, flailed about, flipping itself from side to side and then executing a spectacular overhead flip, slashing out with its claws at the grass, Vader's ankle, and anything else that happened to fall within its line of sight.
"Cat!" Vader boomed in annoyance. "It's grass!"
Of course the distraught animal paid no attention, and finally he was forced to levitate it into his arms. After a few initial swipes at him, it realized that it was now out of whatever mortal danger it perceived from the lawn and settled with its tail flicking and ears flattened against its head, glaring dangerously at anyone who got too close. Without a word, Vader turned and continued the procession, his right hand moving absently over the cat's back as he walked.
Don't get used to this, he told it silently.