Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Who's in Charge Here?

Thank you for your prayers and good thoughts, things seem to be calming down with Reggie and her to-be-ex-spouse.

I sometimes think it is a mistake to let a cat know there is a line of communication possible between him and me. Our cat Snaps bothers me off and on all day long. When I walk through the apartment, he trots ahead of me, trying to lead me to the door to the balcony or into the bathroom. He likes to go outdoors once in awhile, but needs me to open the door. He likes the water in the sink turned on just a trickle so he can get a drink (he has his choice of two other sources, a big bowl and a cat fountain). As soon as he senses I am waking up in the morning, he comes up and begins to nudge and lick, wanting me to get up – and turn on the water in the bathroom and/or feed him a little treat. I know he enjoys getting me up, he purrs the whole time. He discovered by accident a few years back that if he nudges his treat bowl, it makes a noise I will notice and put some treats in it, and some days he wants a treat every half hour. Sometimes he wants to lie across my forearms when I’m trying to write or surf the 'Net. The only thing he doesn’t do is dig out a cat toy and try to get me to play with him. I don’t know why it hasn’t occurred to him to do that, but probably some day it will.

The alternative to having a cat trying to get me to do things for him, is a cat that just lives here and sees humans as incomprehensible creatures who (possibly, he’s not sure) are a source of food and occasional, unpredictable strokes. It’s more interesting to get occasional glimpses into the mind of a cat than not, though there are days when I wish I had no idea there was a definite, if furry, personality living with us.

What’s interesting is that there is a second cat living here who is very much an enigma, at least to me. She bothers my husband for attention but doesn’t have any amusing demands for water or games. She’s not even very interested in playing with the other cat. Well, there is one thing. When she hears me building a salad, she will become very apparent in the kitchen, hoping a can of tuna is involved, because she has established a right to lick the remnants of an emptied tuna can. She is otherwise totally uninterested in human food.

Have your pets managed to teach you any tricks?


Julie said...

Omigosh! I've had cats all my life and various of them have trained me for all sorts of things. Charlie would sit on my desk waiting for me to gently toss a paperclip so he could catch it between his front paws, with a soft little clap. Max insisted I allow him to lick the paper I peeled off a new stick of butter. Chloe takes every opportunity to lead me toward the bowl of crunchies in the hope I'll add more. It doesn't matter if there's already plenty in there; I am supposed to add more, because new is better. Jack jumps onto my legs and waits for me to "make a lap," adjusting my position so he can make himself comfortable.
Daisy would sit in the utility room doorway while I was scooping the box, and saunter in to use the clean litter as soon as I was done. Not unlike the line in the ladies' room at some event. Evidently I'm quite a trainable human.

Linda O. Johnston said...

Oh, yes, Monica, our dogs have trained us well. If we don't seem to understand Lexie when she barks to go on our enclosed front porch to watch the world go by, she'll pull at our arms with her paw. She does that at dinnertime, too. Meantime, Mystie squeaks her rubber balls, demanding to have them thrown or kicked. We are definitely at their bark and call.

lilmonkeysmom85 said...

Our dog, Peppermint, will pace between my youngest daughter and where ever I'm at in the house if she is fussing. If anyone of us sits on the four wheeler, Peppermint is instantly jumping up on the seat to take a ride.
I also had a cat once, a tom cat, who was an inside/outside cat. He would come in and before he would eat his dry food we had to stir it up some and before he went back out he would rub and meow until we brushed all the hitch hikers from his fur. I guess he wanted to look nice for the females that hung around next door.

Monica Ferris said...

It's amazing how much they can communicate without verbal language, isn't it? But as my husband often remarks, "They haven't got anything else to do."

Lilmonkeysmom: "Hitch hikers?" Do you mean things like cockleburrs? Or ticks?

Anonymous said...

What would happen if, say, in one of your future books, Betsy has a kitten foisted on her (by Alice, perhaps? -- she DID, after all, practically coerce Betsy into keeping that crow!), and she has to deal not only with the kitten itself, but the reaction of Crewel World's resident cat to this "interloper"?