My kitty has gotten into some funny habits lately.
The clock radio starts playing at sunrise. Just a few minutes before I hear tunes, the Feline Unit is at my cheek and licking my face. This relatively new ritual is abrupt and scratchy, but usually, I enjoy the attention while in a half-dream state.
Once my brain starts working, I realize this is a really gross way to start the day.
She’s letting me know — in her loving, kitty way — that it’s time for me to open the cat door so she can take care of business.
A few minutes later she’s back in the kitchen, where I feed her a spoonful of wet food before snapping the cat door shut.
Long before I knew her, the kitty and the Handsome Woodsman lived in Paradise, where she frolicked on 1 1/4 acres and was fed outdoors. She was only allowed inside if it snowed, or if she snuck inside when his hands were full.
Things changed when she moved to Chico.
Dave insisted she would never be allowed on the bed. He lost that battle gracefully.
I can call her indoors by making a special whistle. It’s a two-tone sound I make every time I give her a spoonful of wet food.
We also put a bell on her collar. She hated this at first, and ran in a circle trying to remove the offending sound. Our goal was to give birds a warning if she was on the prowl. This may or may not be effective, but so far there have been no birds deposited on the kitchen floor.
Rodents, however, may be deaf. When Dave was working at his desk in the kitchen, she rewarded him with rodents and he rewarded her with praise and some wet food.
After the Handsome Woodsman died in a car accident, I couldn’t bear the thought of something happening to the cat. I think animals know when they are needed, and she has become more of a lapdog than an out-and-about cat. With Dave gone, she also climbs all over the counters and sits on the bathroom sink when I am brushing my teeth.
BACK TO OLD TRICKS
My friend Jas, http://tinyurl.com/jastunes, has been traveling to help his mother with doctor appointments and sometimes flops in my living room when he’s traveling from north to south. One day I was meeting friends after work and he planned to join us.
“Why are you late? What’s the hang-up? Should we wait for you?” I said via text.
He replied: “Dear cat, thank you for the giant rat/mouse. Please kill it next time so I don’t need to fish it out from behind the heater.”
Frankly, I was proud of my Feline Unit. Of course, I was sorry my friend had to deal with the rodent carcass, but this was one less rat to find its way into my shed.
“Did you reward her with some wet food?”
He had not.
A few weeks ago, ferocious winds howled through the Sacramento Valley. I was snuggled up in the living room when the kitty arrived proudly in the doorway of the kitchen. She plunked down a rather large mallow weed and looked at me with expectation. Mallow is a sturdy weed, with crenulated leaves and a strong root system.
It took me a second, but I realized that the kitty probably saw the weed blowing in the wind and thought it was a critter. When she played with it, and the weed played dead, she brought it inside for show-and-tell.
I gave her a treat.
Naturally, I called my sister, who is a vegan, to share the news.
“I think the Feline Unit has become a vegetarian.”