Cats are probably one of the animals which have benefited from Coronavirus. How many of us are now at home with our fluffy friends most of the time? My remaining 2 cats, Buffy and Lili, (sadly we lost Morris last year and Dennis in the summer) are certainly enjoying having us home all the time, and I think they have become even more demanding in their little ways as a result.
Take the cat flap. Well, they don’t, that’s the point. Why use a cat flap when there is a perfectly good human to let you in and out of the back door, if you sit and stare at it long enough? When said human opens the door, it is clearly cat policy to look at the door for another full minute or so, then sit half in and half out and …… contemplate. They don’t want to be rushed into any rash decisions. So I stand there, waiting for a decision, as all the expensive heat drifts out the open door and the icy cold comes in. Eventually, a decision will be made, but it will be a very temporary one. If the cat does go out, it will want to come back in seconds later. If they wanted to come back in, they will want to go out again. I don’t actually know why we bother with the cat flap at all, the only thing it seems to be useful for is letting OTHER Cats in, who then eat our cats food and scarper.
Buffy does her best to see off other cats, although there is a kind of “can’t really be bothered” attitude to most of her efforts in this regard. Staring a cat into leaving the garden, seems to be her modus operandi, and to be honest it’s pretty rubbish in that it hardly ever works. Occasionally, she will hare off up the garden at a pace, chasing a trespasse, but then content herself with sitting about twenty feet away from him and trying the staring tactic again. Unfortunately, she can’t keep it up very long and often dozes off, as does the other cat. If only humans fought wars like this…
If there is fighting to be done, both my cats seem to prefer the dead of night to start a brawl. This morning at 2am, I was walking up and down my road in my dressing gown and Andys’ shoes, looking for Lili, convinced that she was lying somewhere horribly injured. We had been woken by growls and screams and meows that sounded as if she was being attacked by a lion. Apparently she was just having a scrap with the ginger across the road. Having trudged up and down the road a few times, I glanced up and saw her sitting in the warm looking out at me from the lounge window. The look said “What an earth are you doing, crazy human?”
Fighting aside, cats certainly have great timing. Lili is always super keen to sit on my laptop keyboard, but only if there is an important work Zoom/Skype call scheduled. If I try and lock her out of the room while I have my meeting, there is frantic and heart rending howling so loud and screechy at the door, that I worry my colleagues must think me cruel. The meeting then effectively stops for 10 minutes, while everyone coos at Lili. Then, there is another break while all members of the meeting pop off to fetch their pets so we can all admire each others animals. I can’t tell you how many times this happens. Before coronavirus I had no idea that colleagues had so many pets. Now I know their names, their habits and even their birthdays.
It usually turns out that all Lili wanted while the Zoom meeting was going on, was food, and here we come to another crazy cat fact. My cats will meow for food as if they haven’t been fed for a week. On being fed however, (the best cat food mind, not some cheap own brand stuff), they will have approximately a quarter of a mouthful and then walk away. Twenty minutes later the howling will begin again. When I helpfully show them their full bowl of cat food on the floor, the look I receive is beyond distain. The look says: “THAT has been down for 20 minutes! You can’t expect me to eat THAT! What are you trying to do, kill me?”
if I can hold out and not put any food down, (I cave about 50% of the time), the look I get given is dripping with disapproval. In fact, if I think about it, my cats continually disapprove of whatever I am doing. They have that look of quiet and resigned boredom mixed with a large dollop of reproach at whatever activity I am attempting. I have no idea why I am such a disappointment.
I also have no idea why there are so keen on coming to the bathroom with me, but it seems they have a “No human can go to the bathroom alone” rule. I worry about this sometimes, as in, do they know something I don’t? It’s like when they are enjoying a cuddle with you and then suddenly stare off into that space just behind your left shoulder, with wild eyes and a tensed body. What are they seeing? My friend told me that cats can see ghosts, so now I am completely freaked out whenever they do it.
I have noticed that they do the ‘staring past my shoulder’ thing mostly at night, particularly when I’m alone in the house. I’m convinced they have cat meetings in which they discuss the best ways to wind me up. When they are not terrifying me by seeing ghosts, they actually pretend to BE ghosts, usually by getting themselves locked in a room, sometime before bed, so that you are woken by all manner of noises and come to the conclusion that ghosts must be real. Then it turns out to be Lili who got stuck in the attic.
Talking of bedtime, Buffy has some odd sleeping habits. Although the lucky owner of countless expensive cat beds, she prefers to lie on a) an old bit of newspaper, b) the cold marble fireplace, or c) our bed. She particularly loves to sprawl out on our bed around OUR bedtime. Andy and I then try and get into the bed in a way that doesn’t disturb her, and do our best to get comfortable teetering on the far edges, while Buffy has 5 feet of space sprawled out in the middle.
Dennis was always a big fan of boxes. Any size, big or small, he would make it work.
Buffy and Lili are getting on a bit now, so we hardly ever have to deal with them bringing in any wildlife from the garden. They have had their moments though. Buffy went through a dragon fly phase a couple of years ago, and Dennis once memorably brought a squirrel through the cat flap. Other notable occasions included the fun afternoon trying to catch a blackbird flying around the landing, and we certainly spent many hapless hours trying to catch tiny voles and mice who had managed to escape the cats clutches and were holed up behind the washing machine. I once saw a particularly feisty mouse bite Lili on the nose. She went off mousing for a while after that.
I actually don’t know what I would do without my cats. They are my prefect little companions, are happy to give me unconditional love, don’t judge or argue with me and are always waiting by the door when I return home. I feel privileged to share our home with my cats…. and I know that they think I am privileged to 🙂