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.
My cats talk to me, and I love talking to them. I have developed a list of things i say to them. When B meows, I say, “I know, B, I know”. It’s a hard life and she needs to know that i get it. When Hank has a particularly bad sneezing fit, I say, “How’s your breathing, buddy?”. I say, “How’s my B?”, or “How’s my boy?” when I get home from work. When the cats are finished with dinner, I say, “Did you get enough to eat, Buddy?” When Hank is trying to get me to play, I say, “Where’s the toy?” Usually when we are eating dinner, there’s plenty of “Hey!” and “That’s mine!”. When I’m petting B’s belly, I tell her, “You’re so fat, B”. I’ve stopped telling her to move over when she’s hogging the bed. It makes no difference. Mostly, it all means the same thing: “I love you” and “I hope you are happy” and “Don’t take my food!”.
*I refuse to follow the “correct” use of quotation marks, because I think the rules are silly.
Hank loves to be pet but it doesn’t last long before he flips over and starts to attack your hand. If people acted that way, it would be like going for a massage then biting the hand that’s rubbing you after only a few minutes. It doesn’t make any sense! Doesn’t he like the rubs more than the playtime like a normal person? He probably loves them both equally. I love him, and those huge green eyes, more than anything.
Hank has been sleeping on the bed lately. It used to be rare, but it’s becoming more frequent, so much so that I expect it. It used to be that he’d sleep on the bed for only a few minutes before getting bored and getting up to explore. Now he comes to bed almost at the same time as the rest of the family and stays there for most of the night. He doesn’t waste time circling or nesting. He jumps up then plops down at his usual place, up against your legs. I think this new relaxed Hank is a result of him getting older. I miss the craziness but love the extra time with him. I bet he likes it, too. The rush of youth is fun, but what’s the point if you don’t slow down enough to enjoy it?
Hank is a sucker for any open door. He will climb into the closets, cabinets, showers, and go out on the walkway outside. He would jump into the fridge if I left it open long enough. He will squeeze in behind the pots and pans or jump onto the upper shelf in the pantry. He doesn’t always fit and will have to maneuver behind the spices. He is always looking for the next big find. He walks around sniffing the corners for a lead. He will paw the doors on the bathroom vanities trying to get them open (and sometimes he does). He will go to the front door and put his two paws up on the door frame and scratch a little. At the same time, he will look over at you with his pleading eyes and give a little meow…and that is how he gets the keys to the universe, or at least access to anywhere in the house he wants to go.
Everything is better with a friend and my cats make the best friends. I love how they generally migrate to whichever room I’m in, just to hang out. They don’t need to be entertained. It just so happens that what I’m doing can be very entertaining, but that’s besides the point. There isn’t a lot of drama and they don’t need to talk too much. B will do the talking for you if you are willing to listen. I regularly have to deal with hair pulling if I miss their expectations on the timing of breakfast, but that’s a small compromise that’s part of any good friendship. Hank likes to see what I’m working on and often gives me input when he thinks the cursor is in the wrong place. B doesn’t mind when I work either as long as the keyboard leaves some room on my lap for her. Overall, good friends are hard to find, but I count myself lucky to have two of the best ones right here at home.
Hank is a very demanding cat. He bats at your food while you eat. He wants you to play with him 100% of the time. He wants to go outside. He sits on the counter while you get ready for work. He rips apart the shopping bags and snags my jeans. He wants to check out the food you are making for dinner. He doesn’t want to eat it though, just bat at it until it’s contaminated. He loves to dig in the litter box for 20 minutes at a time at 4 in the morning. I sometimes think he’s a lot of work. When I get up in the morning, the first thing I don’t want to do is play with him. I’m usually running late and feel that it’s one more chore. Then I remember that this is probably the highlight of his day, and that I can always spare a couple of minutes. Besides, it’s nothing compared to having a dog or a kid!
There are few things more adorable that sleeping cats, but when they use their paw as a pillow it takes it to a whole new level. His little head fits perfectly in his paw. We catch him doing this about once a week. Every once in a while, he will also stack his paws on top of each other and rest his chin on top. He doesn’t do this every time – he also curls up in a ball and stretches out like other cats – but when he’s on the floor or even on the ottoman, he prefers something softer. I haven’t even begun to go into how much I love his little cat feet, but that’s another blog post entirely.
If you are like me, sometime on Saturday you mention that you need to do some work this weekend. I know myself well enough now to not even attempt working on Saturday. I need at least the one day off to take a mental break from everything. I can’t even wrap my head around opening the Excel files that soon. But Sunday I plan to put in a solid day’s work, maybe even going to the office since that’s much more efficient. Then Sunday comes around and I think I can fit in a few things in the morning before sitting down at the computer. Before you know it, you are driving home from watching football at the bar at 1:30 in the afternoon. That’s when I start doing math in my head. If I get home and start working right away, I can get in 4-5 hours before dinner, which is still a decent amount of time. As soon as I get home, I immediately take an hour and a half nap. Like clockwork, I’m opening the computer around 3:30. Thankfully, I’ve already done most of the work in my head and can bang it out in between the TV and cat distractions. Depending on how much I have to do, the computer can stay open after dinner as well, making for a very enjoyable moving watching experience. The one upside from this is that I really narrow down which work is important, and the rest waits until Monday.