Normally he's a huge, fat, cuddly bully, affectionate to almost every human who comes by and positively worshipful to me--to the point where I can hold him down in a bath and come away unscathed--while being sort've congenially thuggish to the other cat. He has no predatory instincts of any kind. His response to a mouse running over his foot was to look shocked and violated and go lie down. The vast majority of his life is spent in Roadkilled Cat Position on the couch, or in Meatloaf position next to the food dish.
This morning, in the wee hours (okay, eightish, I get up late) he tried to crawl into bed with us, which was unusual. While I love my cat, he is unkempt, sheds, and smells stronly of cat-food-breath, and I don't want to share a pillow with him, so I shoved him off. He got back on. I pushed him off again. Then, in a truly weird move, he tried to crawl in next to my husband, (whom is generally less sympathetic to the big guy, since it's his cat that's getting pummelled) who came awake long enough to put him back on the floor and pet him until he was content to sleep next to the bed.
Now he's acting...skittish. I would've sworn there wasn't a skittish bone in that cat's body, but he's jumping at every thump and closed door, and keeps startling himself. It took him almost ten minutes to psyche himself up to go into the living room, despite me sitting on the floor calling him, which will usually bring him in at a high-speed waddle. He sniffs everyone thoroughly before cuddling, rather than plowing into them like an affectionate bulldozer. Rattling the food dish won't bring him running, although I could've sworn he'd return from the dead at that sound. He seems to be in perfectly good health, he's not injured, and he's eating and drinking normally. But he's scared.
This is baffling. No intruders, no mice that I can locate, and I don't think a human's ever lifted a hand against him since I picked him up as a rotund kitten that kids had been throwing rocks at eight years ago. He seems a bit young at eight for senility to have set in, but short of malevolent gremlins breaking in, ala "Cat's Eye" I dunno what the heck could've so shattered his confidence in the cosmos. Can cats have nightmares? Did he dream that the normally oppressed other cat had grown to the size of a lioness and was sitting on him? Did the food-dish attack? Who knows?
On an unrelated note, since a few people expressed a desire to see the cover I was working on, here's a small version--there's rather more detail in the full size, of course, particularly in the face, but the 'net being what it is, I wanted it small and watermarked so as to fend off any unscrupulous types. It's for a library edition of a collection called "God is an Iron and Other Stories" by Spider Robinton--and I haven't read it, so I know nothing. They just said "Give us a nebulous ballerina on a spacescape," and I said "Youz da boss!" (The feet look weirdly backward, but all my digging of images of ballerinas en pointe said that yup, they really can do that. The human body never fails to amaze me.)