Out of the doghouse

I have been in the doghouse for a few days, ever since my older cat found out that I wrote a post about my younger cat. (Even now he is watching to make sure that I write “older cat” and not “other cat.”) He has been in the house much longer than she has, and he does not accept any explanation for the fact that she was introduced to the internet first.

He came from an animal shelter, but it was quickly obvious that he is a “people cat.” If people are in the house, he is determined to be with one or more of them—he is happiest when several people are in the same room. Sometimes he goes from person to person demanding attention; other times, he just sits or lies in the middle of the group and happily listens to the voices. At nighttime, he has the uncanny ability to cause every member of the household to believe that he spent the entire night sleeping in his or her bed.

He is very much an athlete. He likes to jump onto high pieces of furniture. When he is in the mood, he even sleeps atop the china cabinet. He likes to prowl along a row of bookcases from one end to the other. When he is in a wild mood, he likes to run full speed across the room, onto the bookcases, from one end to the other and back again, and then out of the room. When he is not so wild, he likes to balance himself on narrow surfaces—a handrail that is about two inches wide but curved, or the headboard of the bed, which is less than an inch wide—and walk from one end to the other and back again. One of his favorite tricks is to walk the length of the headboard, climb onto the round bedpost until all four feet are on that curved surface, and then jump from there onto the top of a six-foot-tall bookcase.

Only rarely is he a lap cat. He would rather lie or stand next to a person on a couch and be pet. Sometimes he will walk back and forth on and off the lap; he has also been known to perch on the arm of an occupied easy chair and demand attention.

He also likes to sit on a four-legged stool and supervise cooking in the kitchen. He watches the actions of the cook with interest, but his favorite human food is cooked chicken. His love for that smell makes him forgetful of the house rules, as he will climb off the stool onto the counter in search of the chicken. Like a two-year-old child, he has learned the meaning of the word “no,” and he responds with a similar sound when he is removed from a place where he does not belong. He often joins the family during meals, and if the smell is to his liking he will try to get from the floor to a lap or chair and from there to the table. Sometimes—as with the Thanksgiving turkey—he has to be closed in a bedroom for the duration of a meal so the rest of us can eat in peace.

Like my younger cat, he expects a great deal of attention and affection when everyone has been out of the house for a few hours or has been asleep for a few hours. He is very vocal about his needs and desires. When his food dish is empty, he runs back and forth between the nearest person and the dish with such anxiety that sometimes we tease him by saying, “What’s the matter? Has Timmy fallen into the well again?” He is never resentful of our teasing, although he does lay back his ears and object to the line, “I t’ought I taw a puddy-tat.”

Black cats are supposed to be bad luck, but he has brought the family nothing but good luck. He is a beautiful cat with short black fur and yellow eyes. He generally is a very forgiving cat, and now that I have written about him, I believe that I shall be allowed out of the doghouse. J.

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