There are mornings when I wish I could be the cat, sit in the corner, close my eyes and watch the world suddenly disappear. The cat breaks my reverie, purring there is room for one and this role is all mine.
The cat is sleeping on the lanai, on the plant table among the bromeliads. The cat spends hours sleeping on the lanai when she isn’t walking on tables. There are tables on the lanai she walks on regularly. Walking on tables is forbidden we repeatedly tell her and we know she understands, but the cat reminds us that forbidden in a transitory term when you are a cat. Cats, she says, must go where they want, consequences be damned. And, she adds, I know you will always forgive me.
I have concluded that God created the cat in a moment of exhaustion or of extreme pique. How else to explain such a soft fur covered creature capable at once of a gentle caress and a claw lunging out at a hand or face deemed too close. Why else this projectile constantly launched only at those places it was not to be, fine wood tables etched with reminders of its sudden presence and rapid departure. What else to explain this shedding ball of multihued fur that always curls in sleep in the one place you wish to sit and even when it cedes a seat to you, smirks in the realization you will soon an unexpectedly be half covered in fur. Why this package of fluff and terror crawls beneath your blanket as you verge on sleep curls tightly against you and begins its gentle rhythmic purring that draws you deeply into a world of fur filled dreams.
First Published in ZOOANTHOLOGY, Sweetycat Press, August 2022
The utter and complete absurdity of living in Florida can be ever so easily illustrated.
Last evening the neighbor’s dog decided it needed to express itself and did so in clear and loud terms.
The limpkins and gallinules in the wetland behind both our homes shouted back and based on my admittedly limited vocabulary of bird there were several four letter words and at least one upraised middle claw, for that language is universal.
And all of this was once Native American land and I am certain they would not be pleased at what we have created and the birds would agree.
They strut across our lawn oblivious to our stares. The cat sits watching these large objects, birds perhaps she thinks, but nothing like those she once hunted for food when she was homeless and pregnant. She is content to sit and watch them, speaks a momentary hello, and realizing that they do not speak cat, settles down for her pre-dinner nap.
She carefully noted all of the comings and goings. She dares not miss a thing, that would be unthinkable. She takes mental notes, has no need for recording devices. She will tell you when something is out of the ordinary. She will demand you act when that happens. She will describe to you how that appeared to happen and what she thinks caused it. She is ever vigilant. She has no choice, after all she is a house cat.
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.
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.