Thursday, March 10, 2011

More Changes of Habit

The interests that cats have change from time to time; their interests evolve. It’s the same with dogs, and any other of the more advanced animals. It’s usually in the little things, though sometimes diet may be affected, as a cat decides it no longer likes a certain food or, as a human might say, he gets tired of the same old thing.

For instance, when we lived in the apartment, Tungsten used to enjoy lying on the armchair. That was one of her favourite spots. Now, she almost never resorts to it, perhaps because Renn or, less frequently, Tucker, occupies the spot. The orange one’s favourite place to snooze now is one of the dining chairs, the seats of which are softened with thick cushions. I often see her lying there - and just as often not, as her orange colour blends with the shadows especially in the evenings.

Renn has also found a new place to sit: on me. He is not a lap cat. I think his size originally mitigated against it, but it may simply have been that in his previous homes, it was discouraged, perhaps, again, because he is a hefty fellow. One evening, while I was working on the computer, he came to see me, as he usually does when I’m downstairs. He was moving around my legs, his back arched, asking for attention. Since he didn’t want to jump up on my lap - in retrospect, that was probably a good thing for me - I hoisted him up. He wasn’t too sure that was a wise decision; he can’t balance on the same area as Tungsten can - though he has fit into small areas before.

I started stroking the top of his head. After a minute, he stopped trying to get off my lap. After a second minute, he lie down, a little precariously, but eventually with some comfort. There he stayed for the next half hour, purring the whole time. Now, whenever he sees me at the computer, he wants up. I can’t do it every time, because though I can find items on the internet or read a letter like that, typing or anything that requires concentration - or two hands - requires my lap to be Rennless. But I attempt to give him some time each day. He seems to like it as much as an hour-long chest-rub.

Tucker has an interesting game. I’m not sure how long he’s been playing it. He scoops a kernel of hard food out of the bowl and hunts it. He will use his paw to toss a kernel onto the floor, which was mostly carpetted in the apartment, so he probably didn’t play this game there. He will then knock the piece of food about and chase it. He will run after it; he will creep up on it, stalking it; he will stand still, then pounce on it. It’s fascinating to watch, and demonstrates that some animals (the higher orders) have imagination. (I discovered this one day years ago when I watched Tungsten get off the bed by leaping into the air with all four feet poised as if she were jumping on prey. She landed normally enough, however, and simply walked away.) Tucker’s new game is, I think, an improvement over chasing a fuzzy mouse or a ball, since he gets to eat his toy at the end of it. (Though not always completely; I wondered why bits of hard food could be found so far from the food bowl - usually discovered when I crushed them unseen underfoot.)

Josie’s new thing isn’t something habitual - at least not yet, though I hope it will be. My Chubs used to be quite a reticent cat. She didn’t show her happiness a great deal; there were days when I worried whether she was indeed happy. But now she seeks me out more, purrs more. These instances I've mentioned previously. On Sunday, I woke up with, as usual, four cats on the bed with me, each in its special place. Josie’s is between me and the edge, with her big bum against me and her head pointing away. I started talking to her and she began purring, without me petting or stroking her. It’s the first time I’ve ever heard her contented enough to do that.

I’ve already mentioned Tungsten, but I will mention the fact that she fell the other day, trying to jump from the dining table to the top of the micro-wave oven. It’s a distance she’s covered easily many times before - and since - but in this case, she didn’t make it. She fell onto her side. She wasn’t permanently or even badly hurt, but I think it must have smarted. I don’t know whether it was just a case of misjudgement or if it’s because she’s getting old (she’ll be eleven in a couple of months). Whatever the cause, it startled me - and probably her, as well. Cats change their behaviour and interests; I can live with that. But I don’t like them getting old.

No comments:

Post a Comment