I grant you cats can be peculiar but they have one significant advantage over all other pets, except maybe hamsters and gerbils, for when you need someone to talk to, to unload your problems on, to try and wrestle with a thorny issue of public policy or geopolitical intrigue and that night has swallowed everyone you know, anyone you might dare disturb in the hours after midnight, you may rest assured that a dog would be sleeping somewhere and will not be roused for heaven and earth, but a cat will be wide awake, willing to let you go on and on in exchange for a bit of play, but there is the risk that she or he will disagree with you using a claw for emphasis.
Every morning we are able, we go out on the lanai and have our fruit bowls then our cappuccinos with toast from her homemade sourdough whole wheat bread, and watch countless birds fly out of the wetland that abuts our yard. The cat is always awaiting our arrival, usually sleeping on one of our oak rockers. She will look up at us, yawn and when we nod, amble over to her “cat condo” where she knows her morning treats will appear. She will announce her thanks and slide back to the rocker for her morning nap, knowing she can watch the birds arrive later when she is far more rested for she reminds us that cats are nocturnal.
I am waiting patiently for her to tell me what I need to do next today. I’m sure she’ll be along shortly with a list. Hopefully, today it will be a short list. And I know that no matter how quickly I get to whatever task it is she assigns, she will, watching me like a hawk, point out my shortcomings in its completion. And I am never done on time. Still, she is largely forgiving of my errors, she says, because that is just the way cats are taught.
She noticed the gecko long before we did, stalked it across the lanai, finally separating the tail, seeming to know it would grow another, this game to be replayed on another morning, then stopped, inviting me to capture the small lizard, gently release him outside, good karma I imagine knowing well I could use it.
The cat has progressed to the point where she runs the household. In fairness she does a fine job of it, but we believe that is because she has hired superb help. She knows what needs to be done, and when it needs to be done. She willingly reminds us of what we need to do for ourselves, as well as for her. And she has granted us one room to ourselves, and is willing to share the rest of her house. And for that, of course, we are grateful, just as she demands.
We sat on our lanai last night in our twin rockers, the cat curled close by but carefully removed from the rockers and stared into the sky hoping meteors would grace us with their fleeting presence.
The moon did appear, shrouded in thin clouds, spectral ghost waxing slowly in hiding, but the stars had fled this night, fearing the rain that the cloud mantle promised.
We never did see a meteor but we know they will return next year and the cat says it is hardly worth interrupting a good nap for a momentary flash of light, and we just touched hands and retreated to bed.
The rain came sideways today, or almost so. The cat decided that if she needed a bath, she’d give it to herself and opted to watch the storm through the sliding glass door to the lanai. When it ended, she ventured back out, checking out the various and sundry chairs, all hers she assumes, and settled for the recliner in the inner corner, as much for dryness as comfort, but clearly offering both. She invited us out to join her, but all of the other seats were damp from the storm. She didn’t see what that was a problem, she had only the one coat, we could change clothes any time we wanted. We decided to watch her through the sliding glass door.
The cat is stalking around the house, wary. She gets this way after coming back from the vet. She actually likes the vet, and not only for the treats she gets, and the pawdicure. But she must stalk and be wary so we will be remorseful for having taken her to the vet. And she knows we will be, given enough time and back turning. We are so predictable. She wonders if we were like that with our children when they were young. Probably, but we must have forgotten. So she will go on with our training, for a cat must bend humans to her will. That is an unwritten law of nature.