People meeting for the first time suddenly relax if they find they both have cats. And plunge into anecdote. ~ Charlotte Gray
If you are reading this blog, then you may have noticed that I am an unusual sort of cat. How many other felines can read and communicate in human language, not to mention write their own blogs? However, aside from my literary pursuits, I am much like any reasonably intelligent feline. You have heard about my morning routine of watching the world from behind the wheel of a car and my afternoons are taken up with my work on Miranda’s computer. In between, I divide my time between eating and napping, the two main focuses of every cat’s life.
Evenings are fairly quiet around our house and are perhaps my favourite time of day. Miranda and Jacob are both home from wherever it is they go all day and they sit down to an evening meal together. I enjoy the odd delicious tidbit from Miranda, who is prone to spoiling me with small offerings of protein. Then, while they clean up the dishes, I venture outdoors for a final cruise around the property.
When I return through the cat flap, I usually find my providers relaxing in the sitting room together, drinking mysterious warm liquids that smell vaguely unappetizing but seem to be of comfort to them. As per my routine, I saunter past Miranda, who sits with legs curled under her on the sofa. She strokes my back and asks if I’d like to sit on her lap, but I have learned to resist that invitation. She is too likely to fidget and shift about or leap up to answer the telephone when it chirps, leaving me ruffled and bereft.
No, Jacob is the one whose lap is perfect for a cat. He has a certain stillness about him that bodes well for a peaceful nap. Not only that, he refrains from over-petting, leading to over stimulation, followed by a swift swat with claws ever so slightly extended. Miranda has yet to learn the value of circumspect petting and has experienced this process first hand. Since Jacob likes the recliner chair, he sits with his feet up and this provides a soft, warm spot for me on top of his legs. I circle to find the most advantageous sweet spot and then settle down, purring to let him know how pleased and thankful I am. He gently scratches my head and then leaves me be. Bliss!
Sometimes they turn on the television box, but I particularly enjoy evenings when they chat quietly and the drone of their voices serves as a happy background to my dreams. Occasionally, my ears perk up when they say something interesting. This happened yesterday evening and just thinking about it raises the fur on my back.
Both providers are sipping from cups and watching the evening sunset through the window. I am resting safely on Jacob’s lap, about to nod off, when a conversation something like this occurs:
Miranda: I saw our neighbour from down the street today – Ariane, I think her name is. We were both grabbing a coffee from that kiosk near the Sky Train station.
Jacob: Hm. Do I know her?
Miranda: Probably not. I have a glancing acquaintance with her because we both leave for work around the same time every day. Anyway, she was brushing tufts of orange cat fur off her coat and we started chatting about our respective pets. I told her about Cato rescuing Periwinkle from that tree and she was joking that they needed a rescue cat in their home.
As you might imagine, both my ears are now in full listening mode.
Jacob: Why? Is her cat prone to climbing trees without knowing how to get back down again?
Miranda: No, it’s more complicated than that. The orange cat – I think she said his name is Sharky – has a bigger problem. They got a new kitten recently and apparently Sharky spends most of his time hiding under beds or out on the roof trying to keep away from it. I think he’s frightened. Can you imagine? A grown cat afraid of a kitten.
Miranda pauses to sip her drink while I quietly fume. Humans can be unbearably insensitive about the needs of cats.
Miranda: Speaking of kittens, I was in the pet store last week and they had a homeless kitten up for adoption. I was so tempted to get it, but somehow I don’t think Cato would be pleased.
Oops. In my distress at this last part of the conversation, I’d inadvertently sunk my claws into poor Jacob’s legs. He sits up quickly and I leap off his lap. As a calming measure, I turn to my left shoulder and start to lick furiously.
Miranda: Wow! You’d almost think Cato had some inkling of what we were talking about!
They both chuckle at that tasteless remark and I turn and leave the room in rather a huff. Hmph! They won’t see me again until bedtime.
Settling on the armchair in Miranda’s computer room, I think about what I’d heard. I remember Sharky. He’s one of the few cats I’ve come across who can carry on a decent conversation – at least for a minute or two. He spends most of his time on the roof of his house because they have a convenient skylight on the upper floor which is left open all the time. I rather envy him that rooftop view.
He does make occasional forays out into the neighbourhood and that is when we have our little chats – or we used to do so. Come to think of it, I haven’t seen him for a little while now. Well, it’s no wonder! He’s suffered a titanic disruption to his lifestyle, by the sound of it. How dare his provider – this Ariane person – bring a new cat into Sharky’s personal domain? It hardly bears thinking about.
I recall Miranda’s ridiculous comment about me acting as Sharky’s “rescue cat”. No, that is not going to happen. I may be an unusual cat in some ways, but that incident with Periwinkle was an anomaly and not to be repeated. I have more important things to do – like writing my blog. Having made this firm decision, I engage in some personal grooming, circle three times and settle down for a pre-bedtime nap.
The last thing I remember thinking before drifting off into dreamland is: “I hope Jacob lets me lie on his lap again tomorrow.”
A recent photograph of Sharky on the ledge of his rooftop skylight. It seems that Miranda and Ariane are now Facebook “friends”, so I snagged this from there. Notice the barely discernable but very real angst in his eyes.
Photo credit – Cat on lap: Creative Commons/Photopin – http://www.flickr.com/photos/laflaf/6767210445/