I worry about Josie sometimes.
Tungsten is a lap-cat. The orange one is my original cat and the top-cat of the household. She knows she can get my attention whenever she likes. Renn is shy about many things, but not when he wants up on my lap, or a chest-rub. He comes up to me, arching his back, and holding out a paw. Tucker, too, is timid, but he knows I like him and will rub up against me twenty or thirty times a day and, if he feels very neglected, which means I haven’t petted him in the preceding nineteen and a half seconds, will lie on the floor and twist about, trilling.
Josie is different. She does ask for attention, waddling along until she abruptly tips onto her side, as if struck with a sudden heart attack. That means she wants some petting. She will also jump up on the table and lie across my papers. There is no mistaking the intent in that action.
But my Chubs usually doesn’t consent to sit still for long, even for a good feeling. She will sprawl for a minute or two, enjoy the stroking of her face, then sit up and walk away. Sometimes, she will repeat the procedure. I am never sure if I’m doing it right in her eyes, or if she feels uncomfortable in one place for too long. When she does lie still, it is usually on top of a cat-tree which is an inconvenient spot at which to pet her.
Perhaps she feels safer on top of the cat-trees. She doesn’t care for other cats getting physically close to her, though it’s less of a problem at night; it’s been suggested to me that a bed is a kind of ‘neutral zone’ for cats. Rarely, she will tolerate another snoozing cat near by. However that may be, while I am petting her, she is often watching out for movement and noise, maybe too preoccupied to enjoy herself.
She also likes the tunnel. She used to lie in it when we lived in the apartment, but it was on carpet then. Now that it is on a hardwood floor, she still lies in it, even sleeping. Cats love enclosed spaces, and a tunnel is as enclosed as it gets; it even conforms to her curves. And, once in a while, if a drawer is open and Tungsten isn’t already there, Josie will jump in.
In any case, I think Josie gets ignored compared to the other cats. She will let me know that she is present, and that she likes me, but otherwise, she is unobtrusive. When the other three are on the couch with me, Tungsten on my lap, Renn on my right side and Tucker on the arm of the couch to my left, Josie is snoozing at the top of a cat-tree. When she meanders past from having a drink or nibbling a snack, I will call to her, try to get her to come over, but she passes by, thinking her own thoughts, and climbs up the inevitable cat-tree to peer out the window. She’s a loner, as I’ve mentioned before.
I can’t help thinking that she’s not getting her share of attention. Yet I suppose she asks for it when she wants it. Tucker needs constant reminding that he’s safe and liked, Tungsten will enjoy a head-rub at any time, but Josie is her own cat. She’ll consent to a petting when you want to give her one, but only so much and no more. When she is watching me stroke Renn’s head, she probably isn’t envious, probably isn’t wondering why him and not her. She has her beloved top platform on her cat-tree, her view out the window, her food for snacking, and a human to rub her fuzzy face when she wants him to.
And, once in a while, she lets me know I’m doing the right thing. Saturday mornings, I wake up late - never as late as I’d like these days - and all four cats are in their places on the bed. Last Saturday, I petted Josie for what must have been a quarter-hour; she rarely sits still for that long. She purred her two-tone purr and then she licked my face. I can count on two fingers the times she’s done that; she’s not a face-cat. But that morning she was, for a couple of seconds.
I worry about Josie, but maybe she’s happy anyway.