Sunday, August 20, 2006

Inner life of pets

The little man (LM) is just turned 5 but he's still active and occasionally rambunctuous. He wears a belled collar because when he was really young he used to pounce on his elderly siblings and we felt it was only fair that they were clued in to his presence before they were fully under attack. He also still occasionally attempts to escape on us for an outdoor "adventure," and since he is mostly black, after dark that makes him nearly impossible to locate. The bell helps us then.

Chubby lady (CL) is, as the epithet suggests, overweight. She's soft as a bunny and doesn't like to have her attention solicited, but if you are nearly asleep on the couch, she dearly loves to gallop silently up and propel her bulk into your solar plexis. If you handle that with aplomb, she will settle down on your chest and stay as long as you can endure the weight.

Grumpy old lady (GOL) is our oldest, but newest resident cat. Although she has been with us more than a year and a half, she doesn't "play well with others." I believe this has to do with the fact that at her previous residence, she was a spoiled only darling; and, I believe, was truly totally clueless to the fact that she was something other that a much smaller, much hairier human. Having to face felinity has not come easy to her at all, and although I think she has come to accept she is one of "those" instead of one of the humans, she still will not deign to have ANY positive interaction with them at all. She hardly leaves our back bedroom/bathroom area where she has her own litter box and her own food and water bowls. Because my husband's work schedule requires him to sleep in the daytime, that room remains dark most of the day, so we also sometimes refer to her as "Bat Girl" and she squints at real daylight.

CL (dancing with delight in the hall outside the master bedroom at 6:30 am)----Meow! Meow! Oh, joy, I hear Mom's alarm clock, it's breakfast time. I know she loves encouragement and welcome to the new day. Meow, Meow, Mom, it's breakfast time, breakfast time, breakfast time! Come on, Mom, we're starving, not sure how we made it through the night. Come on Mom, pick up the bowls, I'll show you the way to the kitchen. Do you really have to pee? Underpants now, Mom?? Really! Who cares?? The kitchen is this way, Mom! It's breakfast time! Oh,joy! Oh, joy! It's breakfast time! Come on, LM, help me hurry Mom. She just keeps getting side tracked. Doesn't she know this is one of the 2 best times of the day??

LM---Okay, Mom, I'm ready to come in off the porch. You're the best, Mom. It's so nice to see you (as he repeatedly rubs his face on my ankles). Sure, eating now seems like a good plan. It'll get CL to shut up and you can finish getting yourself ready for school. You're the best, Mom. Thanks.

So it goes til all 3 are fed and shut in their separate eating rooms. Each also has his/her own sandbox, but those (as you know if you have cats)are not exclusive. As a matter of fact, it seems to be some accepted form of sibling rivalry to befoul each other's sand boxes. Little Man usually finishes eating first, and depending on his mood, goes back out on the porch or strolls off down the hallway to wait to go in to CL's bedroom when she comes out, to see if she has left any breakfast (FAT chance!) or to use her sandbox. While he is checking out her space, she runs, belly swaying from side to side, to the laundry room to see if Mom has been careful enough to pick his bowl up and put it on the washing machine where she can't reach it, becaus LM almost always leaves just a little bit in his bowl for a mid-morning snack later. But if CL gets to that bowl before Mom does, the snack is gone, Hoovered up, as it were. It's hard to speculate on CL's inner life. We have serious doubts about whether she has one beyond the 2 high spots of every day: breakfast and dinner, except the spectacular thrill she has when she is able to "score" an extra ration from one of her siblings. Sometimes Dad carelessly leaves the master bedroom door open without thinking about GOL's full food dish and sometimes Mom doesn't get it fully latched and one gentle head butt will get it open. OH, Joy!! Extra chow!

GOL is a picky eater and a snarky sibling. She wants to graze all day, or turn up her nose at what's offered all day. But whether the bowl is empty or hardly touched, when it's time for the next meal, she wants it to be her own decision; and if she catches one of the other two trying to eat her food--whether she plans to eat it or not--the sounds coming from the back bedroom indicate the wisdom of approaching with a whip and a chair. She puts up with Mom, cuz Mom's the feeder, but Dad is "the Man." She waits up for him to get home from work, then climbs on his chest and snuggles under his chin, rubbing her face on his beard; then stares lovingly into his eyes (which revives him with a start because it causes her wiskers to go up inside his nose). Living in the dark bedroom and sleeping "swing shift" hours has her eyes permanently dialated, so when she does venture into the rest of the house or, very infrenquently, out into the normally-considered-delightful screened porch, she squints, which makes her look grumpier than usual.

LM, altho the youngest and neutered, is the alpha cat. He, pretty much goes where he wants, in spite of slow and grumpy siblings. He spends most of his days on the porch, watching squirrels and birds, especially occasional cattle egrets, in his back yard. He still plays with toys and loses his finishing school manners about occasional "people food" treats. But he is about as good natured as a bored little boy in a house of "old lady" siblings can be; and when he does occasionally stalk or jump one of them, it's just because "I was just bored, Mom, and they need the exercise. They are just NO fun!"


Blogger Autrice DelDrago said...

We all need a GOL in our lives!

7:59 AM  
Blogger commongal said...

What a great little family!

4:11 PM  

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