Sunday, August 29, 2021

Cosier Days

Not yet September, the weather has nonetheless turned cooler, though this is a relative description. The diurnal temperatures are very pleasant, while the nocturnal are not much lower than normal for this time of year. Even so, it is a change, and the cats have obviously felt it.

While the beasts are still haunting their usual spots, there is a general shift toward the cosier locations in the Cosy Apartment. Portia still lies on the carpet in the sitting room, but she has taken to snoozing in armchairs more often.

Neville, despite his long fur, has sensed the approaching end of summer and is more often seen in the high-sided cat-bed in the sitting room.

Tucker has decided that, in addition to the cat-bed under the micro-wave oven stand, the soft hammock between two tall bookcases is a snug place in which to rest.

Yes, there is that indefinable difference in the air now. The sky is the same blue as it was last week, the leaves still green, and the sun still strong. But each is marginally less vibrant, minutely blander. The autumn with its mellow tints, thinner sunlight, and air that is both crisper and softer, is almost upon us, and the cats here are behaving accordingly. Except for Renn, who ruins the subject of this entry by doing nothing different at all.

Friday, August 27, 2021

Why Laps?

Indeed, why laps?

I have sometimes contemplated why cats like to lie on human laps. Not all cats do, of course, but a startling proportion of them do. There are a number of obvious reasons why the location is chosen, such as the warmth generated by the human body. But, by and large, whatever the lap has, I would think a cat can find elsewhere, and to greater advantage.

Consider the physical aspect of where the cat lies on a human lap. Every human is shaped differently, and, since every cat is, as well - at least to cats - there seems to be an unlikely chance that cat will fit human perfectly. The feline physique, being, seemingly, boneless, can adapt itself to a variety of shapes and contours. Yet I cannot convince myself that these are more comfortable than not. A plain cushion or carpeted floor would appear to be a more attractive horizontality. 

Not every human has a sufficiency of padding, to make a cat’s tenure upon the lap easy. Some people have too little, and are boney. Some have too much and take up the cat’s space. Some have it in the wrong places. Again, then, there must be more appealing locations for the average cat, such as one of the many beds with which most cat-households are equipped.

Heat is a probable benefit to lying on a lap. Yet, once more, nature or artifice would surely provide better than a human. A heated cat-bed gives just the right temperature to the feline temperament, while a sun-puddle, having warmed the right spot on the floor, has an allure most cats cannot resist.

What is it, then, that a human lap has that nothing else possesses? I am forced to conclude that it is the human himself. There can be no better way for a cat to show his affection for his person, while simultaneously relaxing, snoozing or sleeping, as best he can. It is the closeness of the two, human and feline; the ability of the human to feel the cat’s purr, and the cat to receive pets and strokes; the unstated comradeship that is thus manifested. I believe that this is the secret of the lap; this is why cats choose an angular or misshapen lap, inclined the wrong way; two fat parallel bars, with an inconvenient crevice between; knees that protrude and thighs that don’t provide enough foundation. They belong to the cat’s human, and by snuggling there, as only a cat can, the beast tells the person that to be with him, the beast would endure discomfort and inconvenience, forgoing the many better stations of ease he could find.

Between cats and humans, then, the lap is the seat of friendship.

Monday, August 23, 2021

The Sound of Appreciation

Having recorded audio evidence of Tucker’s strange cries, I thought I would record more sounds from the beasts. This one comes from Neville. It’s not as otherworldly as the roly poly’s, nor as inexplicable. The Nevsky is the only cat I have, or can remember, who vocalises his anticipation of a good meal. You may have to turn up the sound on this; it is what I hear at most meal-times as Nev’s bowl approaches him, sometimes even before the food is ladled out.

Sunday, August 22, 2021

The Good Saturday

Most weekends are good because I don’t have to work. Some, however, are better than others. Saturdays themselves are the better half of weekends, and while all Saturdays are enjoyable, some are more so, for different reasons. This past Saturday was a very good one.

It rained all day. It has been very dry here, and we need moisture, even though it is quite late in the agricultural season. The smoke that has hung beneath the clouds due to the forest fires in other regions has been washed away; I had nowhere pressing to go, so I spent most of the day indoors, grateful for the fresh scents and cooler temperatures that came with the rain.

But something less meteorological made the day a good one. Each of the beasts I live with contributed its share. Tucker and I spend much time together. He tends to stay in the same room as I, sitting at the dining table, hoping for a bit of human food, then following me into the sitting room or bedroom. We play and talk. He ate a very good amount of food, and was a happy fellow.

Portia saw me enter the library during the afternoon and hurried after me, leaping up on the ottoman there. She wanted to lie on my lap. So I sat down and was pinned in place for about twenty-five minutes, while Po purred in reaction to being petted and brushed. I had things to do, but this was better.

I had to shave more mats from Neville’s fur. He dislikes it but puts up with it. He hates being gathered up and taken to the bathroom, and he hates the detailed attention I give his hair. I cut off all the mats I could find and let him go. An hour later, I sat on the couch for a few minutes; the Nevsky got up from his cat-bed and jumped up on the couch and settled on my lap, which he hasn’t done in weeks. I rubbed his face, his cheeks and his chin; he purred and drooled. We sat there so long – more than half an hour – that I missed the beginning of my usual Saturday evening radio programme. But I didn't mind.

Come bath-time – a greater pleasure in itself this weekend as the temperature made a hot bath enjoyable, as opposed to the merely adequate warm baths taken during torid weather – and Renn came to wait with me while the tub filled. His forefeet curled into little fists as he lie on the bathmat and listened to me discourse about various things. My big boy loves bath-time, and I draw the bath much more slowly than I could otherwise, to give us time together.

The movie afterward was entertaining, which added to the evening. But I had company. First Renn curled up beside me for an hour. When he left during the intermission, his place was taken by Portia, who lie on my lap for the remainder of the show. Afterward, there was time enough for a snack for the beasts, and so to bed.

This was my good Saturday. It doesn’t take much these days to make a good day. Four cats usually suffice.

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

The Old Gang

I have written before about my cats aging. So far, my oldest two, Tucker and Renn, are doing well. Tucker is using the stool up to his favourite chair at the dining table; he doesn’t always use it, either to go up or to go down, but he does half the time, and knows it is there for him when he needs it more often.

But they continue to grow old. I noticed it especially this weekend, when I observed Renn’s fur. Much of it has always been black, with a red tinge to it in the strong sunlight. Now, there seems almost as much white amid the black. He may be asking soon for Grecian Forumla for Cats.

And as for Tucker: I’ve mentioned before that there’s much less roly in Mr Poly, but sometimes I am surprised at how much space he no longer takes up. His weight remains good, though it diminishes bit by bit. He is pretty active, considering his sixteen years, and purrs more than any of my other beasts.

I am lucky to have them, my old gang. I hope to have them still, when they are my older gang.

Sunday, August 15, 2021

Tucker Calls His Home-world

For many years, I have been attempting to capture in an audio-recording the mournful cries that Tucker emits now and then. These eerie wails never come in my presence, though I need only be in another room – not absent from the apartment all together – for them to issue. What they mean, and why the Tuxter makes them, I cannot say. He has always made them, and they seem connected with no discomfort, pain, hunger, fear or other apparent emotion.

Whenever he has uttered them, however, I have been too late in seizing my telephone in order to record them. Then, after an embarrassingly lengthy amount of time, I realised that my roly poly sometimes repeated the cries a few minutes after a first series. This did not mean that I would have my telephone handy when the moment arrived, but it gave me warning.

This afternoon, while in the bedroom, I heard Tucker begin them. These are what may constitute my cat’s reports to his home-world…