The kitties in our family have to be as independent as they can. They don’t come into the house as a rule, not because we don’t like their company but because they need to be able to take care of themselves, as in growing substantial fur to be able to live out in the south-facing sunroom through the winter. We go away a lot and they need to be able to sleep out there. There is a swinging cat door in our sunroom that enables them to go in and out at will, and they prefer digging in the flower garden or leaf debris to have a bowel movement. One time, a fat raccoon stuffed himself through their cat door and somehow knew there was a loaf baking pan of dry cat food to gorge himself on. Of course, our kitties high tailed it out of there and left the coon to his own meal. Our neighbor kids feed the kitties (as well as the goats) when we go away for a long time but for a few days, they are more than fine.
Our cats are pretty independent. They don’t feign affection and will visit you if you’re weeding in the garden, walking through the onion row right where you are working and they will come out to greet you on the driveway, roll over to get their belly rubbed, but if you try to pick them up and maul them, they will run away. They are in charge. They embraced this independence we pushed on them pretty seriously.
My husband does not normally go away for very long but this past week he was up at Ridgway, PA at a huge international chainsaw carving event. He normally goes for only a few days, not a full week. And me, I am not normally home alone without him and not normally attached to my computer and desk as if I had shackles on. Right now, I am on deadline to complete my manuscript about alternatively raising and educating our kids- A Big Life. May 1 the completed manuscript must be handed in as polished and perfect as possible. I am not used to such focused, fevered dedication. I do little else but eat, sleep, go to the bathroom, and write. One hour’s walk is all that I am allowed. I have the phone, my e-mail and Facebook to connect.
This past week, it grew crazy cold for early spring and we got hit by a historic snowstorm. I decided to let the kitties in and hang together through it all. One cat severely hesitates at the door, walks around for a few seconds inside when I grab him and drag him in, but makes a quick run for the door in a very short amount of time. I think it is too hot for him. The other little shrimp of a cat, has found that he loves being indoors in the winter, however. He is at the front door in the morning as soon as his treat of wet cat food is devoured.
One of the reasons we made it a house rule of no indoor kitties was because a cat prior to these did not know enough to go to the door when she needed to pee and deposited it on our living room rug or other inappropriate places. These kitties however, have a voice and a brain and let us know when they need to go out.
This little cat who spent this past week with me, I’ve discovered has some amazing skills and quite a cat brain. One evening, I stretched out on the library floor up here in the loft on my yoga mat and put on a Rodney Yee tape to work out with. The cat got off the futon and came down onto the carpet alongside me. OK. Not weird. BUT, he proceeded to roll onto his back just like me and proceeded to stretch his limbs while I was. I had a Yoga for Abdomens tape on so I spent all of my time on the mat, mostly on my back. When I did “the cat” position, I looked over at him and would have been downright scared had the kittie moved into that one. He did not. But when Rodney instructed me to spread out my arms, the cat took his and stretched them out and touched his paw to my torso. It was the weirdest thing because this went on for the whole 20 minutes that I was on the mat, him mimicking me. I have NEVER seen this behavior before.
I guess my kitty knew we had to stick together, and he was there for me through this hard week of being alone, working very hard on my book, and I was there for him during this cold and snowy weather. How wonderfully strange.