Keeping despair at bay (part nine)

As many of you let me know, last Sunday you received an announcement that a new blog was available on my website, but when you clicked on the link, it led you nowhere.

We have Kitty to thank for that. One of her favourite spots to lie when I am working is spread out across my hands. (Over the time she has lived with us, I have had to become quite adept at typing when she is in this position). That day, I was doing my final copy edit, getting ready to schedule my piece for the usual Tuesday posting, when she woke up, stretched and, while walking across my keypad, managed to send the instruction to post the article immediately. I deleted the post because it wasn’t yet in its final form, but the email to all of you had already been sent.

Quick escape artist

Kitty is a key component of the pandemic keeping despair at bay strategy in our house. We have had many cats over the years, whose company we have enjoyed, but Kitty – as anyone who knows her will confirm – is a very different kind of cat. In the dignified way of cats that makes them so superior to dogs, she quickly wins the affections of those who spend time with her. No simpering or begging on her part is involved, but no one who has met her has been able to resist her charm.

Kitty moved in with us just a few weeks before Donald Trump was elected, because my dad and his wife could no longer manage her. She was so horrified by the outcome of that election that she quietly slipped out of the house while we were all glumly watching the results and went missing for more than a week. Thanks in no small measure to the determination of our then-11-year-old grandson Leo, we eventually found her holed up in the rafters of a neighbour’s garage, and she has not been outside unsupervised since. (She was as relieved as the rest of us to see the change in occupants of the White House earlier this week.)

She still makes the occasional bid for freedom but, in a way that reminds me of the inmates of a Kingston prison who manage to escape, only to be captured a couple of hours later at the mall across the street, if Kitty does manage to get out of the house, she just sits and waits for one of us to bring her back inside.

She enjoys the outside, so she now joins us in the backyard during warm weather, kept from running off by a harness and leash.

It’s a cat’s life

Kitty is a tiny cat, weighing in at just under six pounds and, even though she looks like and has the energy of a kitten, she is 12 years old. My partner and I spend an inordinate amount of time admiring her and talking to one another about her various antics. Whether she is sleeping on my partner’s chest during an afternoon nap, getting high on the contents of her catnip sock, napping on her blanket on my desk while I work or helping us work on a puzzle, we think she is fascinating. We are a bit embarrassed by this, having long been quite dismissive of those who are so tied to the animals in their lives.

Happily, she seems to like us, although it is probably more accurate to say that she tolerates us. Like all cats, she has her own routines that don’t involve us and is not interested in kowtowing to what we might want her to do, but she regularly seeks us out throughout the day, talks to us (admittedly, especially when she thinks it is time for dinner) and likes to curl up in our bed at night. When sleep is elusive, the sound of a nearby purring cat is better than any official sleep aid I have tried.

Shared custody

Fortunately for both Kitty and us, our closest friends are as smitten with her as we are. The first winter Kitty lived with us, we worried about what arrangements we could make for her during our stay in San Miguel. These friends, unasked, said they would like Kitty to stay with them while we were away.

Now, whenever we go away, she goes to her second home. Even if we need to be away for just a couple of days, she never spends less than a week with her other people. They have built her a little cardboard house, and as soon as we drop her off, she settles in to it. She has her daily routines with them just as she does with us and, like kids in a happy shared parenting arrangement, seems undisturbed by having two homes and all of our names on her file at the veterinary clinic. Of course, we haven’t travelled for almost a year, but Kitty has continued to spend regular time with our friends, even if we are just at home.

What can I say? This little furry creature has made all of us her doting servants. Especially during these strange and often difficult times, she is often the best part of our day.

3 thoughts on “Keeping despair at bay (part nine)

  1. I read your blog faithfully but rarely comment. But your comment about the superiority of cats has dismayed me. I’m asking for a retraction… lol. I do agree that our fur family members have helped us immensely during these challenging times.

  2. Your remarks have predictably prompted the comments of insecure dog lovers. Whichever species you champion is based on the attributes you prefer. If you value loyalty and (dogged) companionship, dogs are your choice. If independence and discretion are what you admire, it’s cats, paws down. If tricks and antics entertain you, the eager canine brings down the house. If dignity, occasionally relieved by playfulness, commands your respect, cats reign. On a practical level, cats control rodents, dogs may deter intruders, so that’s a draw. But here’s the thing. Cats can learn to use a litter box indoors, and discreetly bury their waste outside. Dogs, even indoor ones, have to go outside, and if you live in town, you have to stoop and scoop. I rest my case.

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