Monday, March 09, 2009


After all the time I've spent with my neighbor's cat, I can't help wonder what drives them. I've never been much of a pet person besides the random goldfish and beta that I kept as a teen. But how much do fish really count when they're really only good for looking at?

Larger animals likes cats and dogs truly interact. They remember you, they show anger, they show love. My dad had a family beagle and cat when he was young. You can tell when neighborhood pets visit he'll be friendly and playful with them. While I think he enjoyed having pets, he said pets were dirty.

My mother, on the other hand, is scared of anything that walks on all four and has a mind of its own. Seriously, my friend's cocker spaniel, Lady, took off into our house once and headed straight for the master bedroom where my parents were watching television. As I rushed down the hallway towards the room, I could hear a shrill voice exclaiming in terror as Lady happily greeted her newly found friends. While my mother cowered and panicked over the presence of the dog, my dad called summoned the dog to him and gave her a friendly pet on the head.

This past couple months is the most time I've ever spent with a cat. Loki is incredibly moody. Early on, it seemed he was always happy to lay down on the ground and allow me to stroke his belly. But there have been more and more days when he'll try to grab and bite my paws if I attempt to pet his underside. How am I supposed to know when it's okay or not okay to be rubbing his belly? Okay, maybe he's playing because he purrs the whole time, but, ouch, his claws and teeth are sharp.

When his family was out of town for several days, he was coming over all the time, not only during the day, but at night, meowing at the front door for attention. I came to understand why mothers have such a hard time when their infants keep crying. He grew so bold as to attempt to hop in my lap when I was squatting down to pet him. He'd proceed to snuggle his face into my hands or arms and position himself so he could take a nap. It was adorable that this animal trusted me enough to curl up and fall asleep on me.

Most days, he just wants to play. It's not that he even wants to play with me. He simply likes having a human around. If I go out to fetch the mail, he'll follow me. Sometimes he'll stay "undercover" by moving quickly from one shrub to another to keep up with me as I proceed down the sidewalk. Other times, he'll run along side and even dart directly in front of me so that I almost step on him. He's amazing obedient, not crossing the street until I encourage him to. Even though he wants to explore more of the new surroundings near the mailboxes, he'll come when I call that it's time to walk back.

During each of these activities, he'll have a variety of meows which I wish I understood. There's the obvious door call which either means "come out to play" or "I'm lonely let me in." When I first see him, I'm guessing he's say "hello." But there are other times, when he sits in my lap, or when I'm watching him play in the scrubs when I have no idea what he's trying to tell me. I feel like I need the equivalent of the DVD that teaches you how to distinguish between different baby cries.

Tim enjoy playing with Loki as well. I think he also finds it good for me to have a friend when I'm alone at home. Our neighbor's are supposed to move this summer when their house is complete. We'll be sad to see the cats go. Tim's asked what we'll do then. He's joked a couple times about kidnapping the cats but obviously that's not an option. While a cat would be fun, I'd feel bad forcing the cat to be outside since I'm allergic to them. Besides, there's no guarantee we'd find a cat with a personality similar to Loki's.

1 comment:

teahouse said...

I'm like you - bad cat allergies. But I'm really into my fish. I have African cichlids, and they're more interesting than most fish - extremely intelligent and really fascinating to watch; they're very territorial.