Spider spotters and plant trimmers
Do you like cats? The little furballs come in all sizes, colors and attitudes. People either like felines or they experience a wrenching disgust at the sight, sound or nearness of a cat critter. As one who has been trained by a succession of kitty-cats over the years, I have concluded there’s very little point in making assumptions about these long-tailed (mostly) furry creatures. They can be shy and run at the sight of a strange person or dog or, on the other hand, a cat can cuddle up to a dog and run to greet a visiting person. Around a ranch, the good mouser can keep the vermin population in check.
No matter the cat-e-gory, felines are nature’s answer to the human being’s presumption of superiority and dominion over other creatures. They say you can’t train a cat to pick up a thrown object and bring it back to you. Not true. Try throwing a dead mouse.
Kitties in my house — Dulcimer and Hank — are plant-trimmers. They work as a team to chomp on the leaves of the potted plant I had the audacity to purchase. Which is why I recently arrived home to find a dirt pile, a broken pot and a bleeding plant all over the floor.
Most cats are talented spider spotters. Should you observe a cat frozen on her haunches, head thrown back, eyes staring at the ceiling, do not be alarmed. It means she has spotted a spider trotting across the ceiling. Your job — if you’ve been properly cat-trained — is to knock the arachnid down so Ms. Cat can pounce on and eat the eight-legged insect.
Cats tidy up counters and desks by kicking off pens and pencils, paper clips and the important papers you had been working on.
A cat can crawl like a snake into a slightly open drawer, slither over into the space behind the back of the drawer and become trapped when one tries to close said drawer. The cat-shriek that follows can cause heart palpitations — in you, not the cat.
A feline can (and will) reduce newspapers, magazines and especially important documents to confetti in minutes. Cats can hold decathlon shredding contests. Their routine is to start in the kitchen with the paper towel roll, progress to the bathroom to unravel and rip the full roll of toilet paper off the spindle. Next, they’ll progress to the desk where they’ll claw out every piece of paper or filed items from the cubbyholes.
Tired after all the fun, they may take a nap. While I have thoughtfully placed a cat basket on the counter beneath my office window, only Dulcimer deigns to use it. Her customary routine is to walk across my computer keyboard (my cats like to compose poetry in the Sanskrit language and insert the composition in the middle of whatever I am writing) and onward to her padded window basket. From there, she can view the scenery, watch birds fly by and generally contemplate the meaning of life.
Not so for Hank, No. 2 cat. He prefers to insert his fat self into the in/out metal tray of the mail-filer next to my desk. There’s no point in me attempting to use the unit to hold or receive mail.
Another cat hobby is piano playing. I am sometimes woken in the middle of the night by hearing piano music, the player using original cat-invented chords.
My cats — having properly trained me — every morning will sit outside my bedroom door and meow pitifully until I get up, stagger to the kitchen and give them their morning “treat” of canned cat food. (Hint: a cat never forgets any feeding location or time of day it should appear. Said cat will remind you over and over and over … )
Both Dulcimer and Hank — whenever they feel like taking a stroll — prefer taking the high road across the backs of chairs, couch and come to rest on my shoulder.
I must stop typing now because the feline on my lap has decided to help me write… ❖
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So two weeks ago the president told us that the greatest threat to the United States is systemic racism. Last week he told the Europeans that the greatest threat to the U.S. is climate change.