I got my first cat (B) after I found myself alone after a break-up. Having never lived by myself, coming home to an empty house was pretty depressing. I had no idea the difference it would make, but the change was instant. There was always someone home and she was happy to see me, even if it was verbalized in the form of incessant meowing. Henri (when I have him), Hank, and B may not be kids, but they are loved. They make a house a home and a couple of people – a family.
We all know the drill. The mornings are for getting breakfast and a few cat naps in before it’s time to switch rooms. During the week, it’s a short routine followed by a long stretch in the day that’s reserved for catching up on the much needed rest after a tiring weekend. Before long, it’s time to get up for the evening routine. On the weekend, the days are a little longer and there are more demands to socialize and share space. There’s usually a workout or two and some new food to try. But what about when you’ve caught up – when you don’t need a nap and the string has been firmly batted into submission? What do you do when you’ve found some extra time for yourself after the social activities are done and work is on the backburner? How do you walk the line between wasting time, being productive, and making the most of this short life without turning it into a race or only being busy? I’m guessing it has something to do with developing interests and finding a passion, ideally something that sticks beyond just a phase. In the meantime, you’ll find me in one of my usual spots doing one of my usual things, not unhappy but a little bit bored and pleased to see you.
We (ok, I) like to be hugged by the covers, by the blankets, by a sweater and a pair of sweatpants. B clearly feels the same way. She seeks out the coziness of the shelf padded with a warm cat blanket. She doesn’t mind that the space is a little tight. I totally get it..given that it’s Friday, I expect a lot of hugs this weekend.
B can spot a pillow from a mile away. She is built for comfort and knows where to find it. She leans up against my pillow on the bed and finds the soft spots where the pillows are buried under the covers. She lays on them like a queen being hand fed grapes by a few servants. It doesn’t technically have to be a pillow. It can be a cushioned chair, the ottoman, or even a pile of freshly washed sheets. I just haven’t figured out why she always wants to lay on my belly when I’m reading in bed…
My search for the perfect toy started as soon as I got B. I was looking for the magic toy that would keep the cats entertained for hours, especially while I was gone. The feather toy and laser pointer were a big hit, but they only lasted as long as I was interested. I tried the rolling balls that you fill with food, but B didn’t care enough to give it more than the cursory glance. I tried the toy that was a ring with a ball (turbo scratcher) that could be batted around in endless circles. B didn’t get it and I gave it away before Hank came around. I’ve tried the randomized mouse toy (pounce) that quickly became predictable and was never turned on again after the automatic shutoff kicked in. Hank loves string, so I thought it was the perfect solution to create a contraption that hung the string just out of reach. Hank was very interested until he figured out that it went nowhere once he managed to grab it. I finally found one toy that Hank loved (peek a prize) and would stick with for an hour as long as I kept finding the balls under the couch and putting them back in the box. In reality, I shouldn’t have been worried about them getting bored while I was gone. They don’t care about being entertained. Also, having a toy that requires no work on my part is missing the point. Now I try to make time to play with them at least a couple of times per day, even if it’s only for a minute. During those few minutes, any toy will do.
I’ve mentioned before that B has a favorite sleeping spot deep in the closet. She has a few other places she likes: the chair, your lap when you are sitting on the couch, and the ottoman as a last resort. Recently I left the laundry bin on the dresser, filled with clothes. B loved it! You’d find her in the laundry bin at all times of the day. A few times she would even break her routine of sleeping on the bed, practically on my pillow, in favor of the basket. I had to sacrifice the clothes for her comfort until I gave up and finally rewashed them. Optimistically, I put this cave bed on the dresser right next to the (empty) bin in the hopes that she would use it. She checked it out once or twice before ignoring it completely…until now! I’m very excited that she’s found a new bed that doesn’t result in extra laundry or require me to forfeit half my wardrobe.
B’s preferred drink is water straight out of the faucet. She always drinks on the left side of the faucet. If anything is blocking that side, she isn’t sure how to get to the water. I have to move whatever it is on the counter, otherwise she will pace back and forth in front of the sink trying to figure out how to turn her head the other direction. Does that make her left handed or right handed? If I don’t get up to turn on the water, she’ll lick the faucet, which is completely pathetic. I have actually gotten up in the middle of the night to turn the water on for her. To make it worse, I have had to wait to get back in bed because the Hank is eating his midnight snack and has taken my spot (see Your Food is My Food for an explanation). Even though it’s inconvenient, I would do anything for these cats if it means they get to be a tiny bit happier.
Dinner with friends is something I used to take for granted. Now that I’m older I realize that good friends are precious since those relationships aren’t easy to build and happen gradually over time. Then, due to life circumstances, one of them might choose to move away or switch jobs and suddenly you don’t see them as often. Initially, B probably didn’t think so highly of her new dinner mate. When Hank was younger he was food obsessed. He would run back and forth between the food bowls, trying to commandeer all available resources for himself. B was less confrontational and would surrender her spot, assuming there would be more later (see my previous post about B’s preference for snacks – Big is Beautiful)…she lost a lot of weight during this period of time. Today things are better but get complicated again when Henri, my part-time dog, is around. He never grew out of his food obsession so when he’s over the cats get breakfast and dinner in bed. It works out more like having a newborn baby for me with the midnight feedings that are impossible to ignore as the wake-up call quickly turns into gentle taps on the head followed by hair yanking. I don’t mind though because there’s nothing cuter than seeing those little mouths chow down up close, and besides, I don’t take that extra time with them for granted, right?
Big is beautiful. At least that’s what I think when I see B stretched out on the rug, posing like she’s sitting for a Renaissance painting. She has no idea what size she is and doesn’t try to hide her big belly. In fact, she loves to roll onto her side on the scratch pad for me to rub as part of the homecoming routine during the week. Granted, she is now big enough that she often slides off the scratch pad and almost rolls onto her back. It’s not like she gorges herself on food. She usually only snacks for maybe 15 seconds at a time, but she likes A LOT of snacks. The weight gain has been gradual but noticeable. I have been trying to find ways to cut her back without penalizing Hank, but so far I haven’t found anything that works. In the meantime, maybe I will try my hand at painting.