Friday, January 21, 2011

Little Cat Feet

Do y’all remember the poem by Carl Sandburg? I barely did, so here you go:


The fog comes
on little cat feet.

It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunch
and then moves on.

Pretty nice imagery and the analogy is fairly apt, fog comes in quietly, just suddenly appearing and then it is gone. Cats, hunters by nature, can operate with wonderful stealth. And they do whatever they please, appearing and disappearing without invitation. I can’t see Lewis Carroll using a Cheshire dog*

But my cat? He’s freakin’ loud! I think he needs to have this poem read to him, take a hint or two. Alright, if you must know, he’s perfectly capable of being quiet and stealthy. He’s caught a few mice in the house – so I know he can do it.

Then again, he seems to have some canine genes, or something. Dogs have a reputation of being very dependent on their owners, not just for food and toileting, but for companionship, for love. And cats are thought to be aloof and rather patronizing. Our Two-Bit is…different.

This kitty LOVES to be petted. When he gets a victim family member nearby, and a wee bit of petting and purring has commenced, he then does “the Plop”. That’s when he arches up his back, getting hindquarters as high in the air as possible, and then just sort of collapses in one heap on the floor, his desire for increased petting and stroking made evident by his posture. This goofy boy rolls to his back in a totally submissive pose, looking more like a dog than a cat, and he actually wants his belly scratched. Oh, and the purring…talk about – he sounds like he is at the starting line at Loudon Speedway.

So, the loud thing I mentioned earlier. When Two-Bit is feeling needy, he follows us around, meowing with real gusto, back and forth. In this room and out. Into the living room, into the kitchen. If the bathroom door is not securely latched, in he stamps, meowing questions or statements – not really sure what it all means. Of course, at certain times of the day he is asking for a meal. And maybe an hour later, he’s asking for a snack. And in the mornings, he’s developed a habit of asking me for attention, I call it “coffee and cuddles”. Sometimes, the minute he sees me with my coffee cup, he gleefully clomps into the living room and hops up on the windowsill, looking at me expectantly. He wants me to sit in the chair by the window and sip my coffee while we both look out the window and of course he’d get petted.

Not that I or anyone else in the family begrudges cuddle time with the kitty. But c’mon, we have our own lives/chores/needs/schedules. It’s like having a two year old following you around asking to play with you all day long, or feed him, or change his diaper, all the while asking “why”.

Bed time is especially hilarious. I’m usually the last one to bed, typically between 11:30 or 12:00. The habit is for the cat to go up to bed with Tom (sometimes Tom has to force the issue) around 10:00, and “tuck him in”. This means that Two-Bit lies on the bed, never in the right position for Tom’s liking (he usually gets a face full of cat butt), or sometimes the cat pounces on Tom’s feet – just for fun. But this tucking-in time only lasts about 10 minutes, tops. Then down the stairs comes the cat, and then he sits and stares at me. The minute I get up off my chair for anything, wee Two-Bit is up and following me around, stomping his feet, meowing, getting tangled up with my feet – it’s not a lot of fun.

And when I am really showing signs of going to bed, he’s so thrilled! The going-to-bed preparations take a few minutes, and Two-Bit follows me every step. Often I finally head to the stairs, and ohhh MAN is he excited – but his fervor is squashed when he sees that I have abruptly turned around because I forgot to turn on the dishwasher, or blow out a candle, or turn down the heat. He’s rolling his little kitty eyes for sure.

So, NOW I am going upstairs for good. Two-Bit races up next to me, and he’ll skid to a stop at the threshold of Tom’s room. He will typically take a few steps inside, meowing really loudly. I infer that to mean that we should check on Tom for a moment, and sometimes I indulge him. Mostly I just keep trying to shush him, as I make my way into my own bed.

Kitty is still mewing, maybe it’s not that loud, but it seems loud, because of the contrast of the very quiet of the bedrooms. Once I’m in bed, Two-Bit paces on the floor, waiting for an invitation to come up. I do invite him, hoping to just shut him up. So then there he is, purring again like a race car, and he comes up to my face and sniffs me. I scratch his chin, and his ears, not for too long, because I’m tired and lazy. Sometimes he licks my forehead, or puts his paw in top of my hands. It’s all very sweet.

And then he’s off the bed minutes later, plodding down the stairs, looking for mischief, or mice. Sure, now he’ll quiet down.

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