Preview of Coming Attractions

Over the next several months, I will be traveling across the country in search of cat stories, visiting innovative cat rescues and shelters, interviewing eccentric cat lovers, leading vets and behaviorists and so much more. To view my travel schedule and learn more about my Cat Behaviorist business, please visit http://www.thecatbehaviorist.com/ . If I will be in your area and you feel you have some interesting cat stories to share, please don't hesistate to contact me via my website.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Channeling My Inner Cat


Ostensibly, the bird feeders and the ensuing wildlife that gathers around our pear tree are for the benefit of the cats. But I find myself similarly entranced by the flittering motion, the bright colors and varied personalities of these little critters who feed on our seeds. The cats have three comfortable views of the tree. In the living room, they can recline on the chaise lounge or in a comfy cat basket filled with soft pillows both strategically placed next to the window. In the dining room, I placed a Queen Anne settee in front of the window (a cleverly disguised cat bed—defended against my husband’s aghast “More cat crap? When does it end?”) Upstairs, the window in my office looks down on the pear tree. The elaborate cat tree affords an alternate perspective (I am allowed a surplus of ‘cat crap’ in my private space).

Some lazy mornings, when the children are at their adorable best, all of us will pile into the oversized chaise, Aaron & I, the kids and most of the cats to watch the birds. If we’re lucky, Allegra and April form a naming cooperative, “That red one is Joey Jo-Jo” “No, Joey Jo-Jo James.” “That’s a cardinal.” “What is that? It looks like the cardinal but not so red?” “Maybe that’s his wife?” “Julie!”

Chester, the petite, scrawny tailed squirrel provokes our young Calico, Gussie, into the ‘Aka-ak-ak’ hunting call of the inexperienced cat. I have come to suspect that Chester is actually two squirrels, but my children insist that he is a singular entity. He (or they) is a breathtaking acrobat (though unfortunately very camera shy) who hangs by one hind leg, gently swaying upside-down as he munches on nuts pilfered from the bird feeders. I purposely didn’t buy ‘squirrel-proof’ feeders, knowing next to nothing about wild birds, my only concern was entertainment for my indoor cats. However, it seems that Chester is the affable sort who doesn’t mind sharing with his winged companions, as all species tend to dine together.

On weekday mornings, when I have survived the daily struggle of getting the girls appropriately dressed, fed, brushed, with bags packed and faces cleaned, dropping them at their respective schools, hopefully with a minimum of clich├ęd (‘she’s looking at me! She touched me!’) bickering from the back seat, I return to my silent home. The quiet up-turned faces of my cats greet me with an invitation to join them on the chaise. Together we can lose time, shedding ourselves in the dozy comfort of warm cats and flighty birds. I gaze out the window, 13 pounds of heat-radiating fur toasting my hip, another 10 blanket my feet, and a modest 6 grazes my elbow. Together we blink and watch and wait for nothing in perfect bliss.

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