Friday, June 5, 2020

After the Leveller Visits

Neville’s enlargement of his world continues. I won’t repeat what I’ve already described about his explorations, though I will mention that each night, about ten o’clock, he has jumped on to the bed and lie there, purring and flexing his paws, happy at his new surroundings. This of course pleases me.

I had written earlier that Nevsky’s newly expanded horizons coincided with Raleigh’s passing, and that the newest boy probably thinks that now he is free to spend the time with me that Peachy took up in the past. I think that is accurate. But in speaking with an acquaintance about the Nev, I told her that he is now spending a great deal of time on the bed, both during the day and the night, and she responded that it must be because Cammie is no longer spending her time in the bedroom.

This is true, of course, but I hadn’t thought of its effect on Neville. The other three, having known Cammie a long time and lived with her before her blindness, had no reluctance in coming into the bedroom whenever they could. I often had to evict Josie, and sometimes Renn, from the room before going to work, so I could sequester Cammie there for the day. Neville’s trips into the bedroom had been furtive, and he ran out again if noticed. Now, he boldly jumps up on to the bed, rolls about, stretches and snoozes.

My princess is gone. She had priority, on the basis of seniority and disability. Now, however, it’s time for other cats to stake their claims, and on a basis of more or less equality. Death is indeed the great leveller, but it can level things for those who remain, as well as for those who go on ahead.

Thursday, June 4, 2020

Greetings and a Farewell

Last night brought a new customer to the Café Cosy. I saw Sable sitting by the fence, so I prepared some soft-food for her; she has the hard-food bowl at all times, but if I see her, I bring her something soft. I set the bowl down outside the screen door and came back five minutes later, expecting to see her enjoying the meal, and instead found this newcomer.

I’ve named her Jessel. I don’t know her gender for sure; I thought I detected some diluted tortoiseshell colouring but the lighting wasn’t good at twilight and, in any case, her patterns may be caused by something other than tortoiseshell hues. Sable was not to be seen and, in her place, Jessel cleaned her dish.

She seems wary but not overly frightened of people. She stopped by my bedroom window after she was finished dining. I will ask about her of my neighbours. But, whether known or not, with a family or on her own, Jessel will have a place to eat and drink, if she wants it.

On a related matter, Finn, the long-haired grey outsider cat, appears to be gone. He has not been seen for a couple of months. I had heard that his family was moving, so, thank goodness, they seem to have taken Finn. Readers of this blog would of course take their cats with them; they know, however, that with some people, such inclusion is not a certainty. But Finn was, it looked like to me, cared for, so I believed that he would be travelling with his people. Bon voyage, Finn.

Monday, June 1, 2020

Their Names Were Cammie and Raleigh

I received Cammie and Raleigh’s ashes last week. Because they were cremated through different veterinary hospitals, their caskets are different. Cammie has a simple one, like Parker’s, but in black. Raleigh’s is a little tomb. It’s amusing, in a way, that my princess’s ashes are in a plain box, while my ‘charity case’ reposes in a tiny mausoleum. Well, perhaps Cammie would not think it funny…

I have also framed their photographs. Cammie’s was easy to choose. It is my favourite picture of her. Her expression was often more dead-pan than this, but now and then, she appeared a little melancholy. Though she purred, and purred well, she always struck me as a little sad, perhaps wondering why she didn’t rate better subjects than the cats and human who lived under her suzerainty. But the photo shows her subtle colours, and the brilliance of her green eyes, before they went black.

Raleigh never had a professional photographer capture his likeness. I wish one had. Peachy was just not photogenic. He always had a slightly bedraggled look, his eyes droopy, his face tired. The impression thus created was belied by his behaviour when he was well. He would play exuberantly, and those big spatula paws of his made him look even more kitten-like than his actions did. In the end, I selected an image of him snoozing on my bed. I think at the time his fur had not yet been rid of all its mats, so he looked rather shaggier than he became. But this was him sleeping near me, unafraid, secure and content. My ugly spaniel.

I have run out of room on the little dresser for all the urns and photos of my departed friends, so I have now arranged things differently. Their pictures are on the wall above the dresser-top, which still holds their remains. I can see them all when I go to bed, and when I wake again in the morning. There are now two more than there were just a month ago. Their names were Cammie and Raleigh. They were my friends, and I will remember them.

Sunday, May 31, 2020

Wider Still and Wider

Neville is expanding his horizons daily it seems. A breakthrough came last night. It was nearly bed-time, and I was conducting some last-minute research on the computer. I heard Nev’s “Er…er…” (which is principally how he talks) preceding him into the bedroom. He paused when he saw me sitting at my desk, but came over as I held out my hand. He rubbed his face against my fingers for a minute and then, when I pushed back my chair and invited him, jumped onto my lap. From there, he made the short leap to the bed and lie down until I was finished at the computer.

Though Nevsky left the room when I did, he came back at 4.30 the next morning. I woke to him settling down on the bed, though Renn and Tucker were already there. Unfazed by their presence or by me re-arranging myself under the covers, he remained on the bed until I had to get up an hour later.

This represents the first time the Nev has been in the bedroom for such a long period, the first time he came over to where I was sitting, the first time on my lap other than when I am on the sitting room couch and, most importantly, the first time he lie on the bed while I slept in it. I doubt that he slept himself, but that’s secondary to his actual presence.

This afternoon, he spent more time on the bed, completely unconcerned that two other cats were already there; they were equally unconcerned.

With the re-structuring of the household after the loss of Cammie and Raleigh a fortnight ago, Neville appears to be feeling much more at home. He ventures into the bedroom when I am not there and, probably, has been in there to stay for a period while I have been at work. This is very good news, of course, not just for his level of comfort and sense of belonging here, but also for his potential adoption: people are more willing to consider a cat who is unafraid of new settings and new people, even if he has to be given time. Neville has been given that time, and he seems to be making good use of it.

Wider still and wider shall thy bounds be set;
God, who made thee mighty, make thee mightier yet.

Saturday, May 30, 2020

A Little Tolerance

Though none of my cats is a friend to another, they do tolerate each other. Sometimes, when I see them in certain situations, I can pretend that they are pals. Josie and Renn enjoy sleeping on the bed, and quite often they will snooze there at the same time, which may be construed as snoozing together. At such times, my Chubs, who dislikes the proximity of other felines, won’t mind the big boy actually touching her, even overlapping her; she would, however, never allow it under other conditions.

In a world in which there is too much hostility, a little tolerance – no matter how little – is most welcome.

Friday, May 29, 2020

Work Had to Wait

I thought I would work on my computer a little this evening. I came into the bedroom to see this. There were birds active on the lawn outside the window, and they had caught Josie and Renn’s attention. As you can guess, my work had to wait.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Time for Two

The feline dynamics of the Cosy Apartment have changed somewhat in the almost two weeks since Raleigh and Cammie died. This was to be expected, and has been, in fact commented upon by a number of this blog’s readers. But how things have changed and why have initiated some thoughts on my part.

I have noticed that Josie has become much more needy - or, perhaps, more insistent that I pay her attention. If she is awake and sees me come in to the bedroom, where she is usually lying or sitting, she makes it clear, through voice or action, that she would like some time with me. She is also more demanding, and demanding more often, that I give her some Z/D hard-food - part of Cammie’s staple diet, which Josie gets as a treat.

For his part, Neville is also more affectionate, in his own way. His way is finicky. There are times when he hides under a chair to avoid me interacting with him. There are other times when he lolls about on a cat-tree platform, clearly wanting me to pet him. When I do he purrs and obviously enjoys the touch.

Ruminating upon these changes in behaviour, I realised that these two were the ones most affected by the two who are gone. Though I tried to give my Chubs as much time as I could, Cammie necessarily took up a great deal of it, not just in petting (she liked to lie on my chest on the bed), but in feeding and medicating. Josie was clearly watching this and taking note of the proportion of me that my princess was receiving. Now, the Great White can demand much more of me. Further, since Cammie is not receiving Z/D, it no doubt makes sense to Josie that she should inherit her late sister’s portion.

Out in the sitting room, where the Nev is normally found, he would have seen Raleigh acquire much of my time. While I was rubbing Peachy’s fuzzy head, or his fluffy chest, I would watch Neville, who would, much of the time, be watching us. I thought then that I was encouraging the newest boy, showing him that, since Raleigh was enjoying himself, Nevsky might want to partake of some attention. It may have been the he was receiving the opposite impression: that I had little time or effort to spare for him, as I was giving it all to Raleigh.

I think the changes in Neville and Josie, along with the fact that neither Tucker nor Renn seem to have altered their behaviours or attitudes much since Cammie and Raleigh departed, suggest that I may be correct. It also suggests that my cats - and cats in general - are shrewd observers, and intelligent thinkers.

It saddens me that this proves two of the beasts wanted more attention than I was giving them. Even when one tries to distribute one’s affection fairly, there will, unfortunately, be those who seem to receive more than others. It’s impossible to explain to those cats who feel left out that others are not favoured with extra affection, just extra time. To a little creature unable to comprehend completely, though, time and affection are, regrettably, often the same thing.