Who among us, as pet lovers have not made the statement that “In my next life, I want to come back as my __________ (fill in the blank, be it cat, dog, or hamster)”. I’m on that gravy train. Life as my cat is oh so sweet. Life as any of my past pets has definitely impressed upon me that life can be easy if you live with me. My FHB might disagree but that’s a story for another time. Currently we are a one cat household. If I could read my cat Paka’s mind, that is just fine with her. A definite only child syndrome. She did have an older cat sister, but Lucy passed away after almost 2o plus years last December. Paka is six years old and when she arrived in our house, she was seven weeks old and Lucy really wanted nothing to do with her. Another only child mentality. Over time, Lucy began to tolerate Paka and sometimes cleaned her,seemingly haveing momentary maternal feelings. That would usually be followed by hissing. Siblings under the fur. We all grieved when Lucy died, but somehow, life does go on and Paka loves being in the driver’s seat.
It must be nice to have breakfast prepared every morning in your favorite dish with fresh water on the side. Paka stands in her spot near her food and I feel eyes watching me as I wash her dishes, drying them carefully (they are porcelain) and filling them with something I wouldn’t eat just by smell alone. But then again, I do not share the same palate as my feline. Breakfast appears to be serious business as she gets right to it and when I wake at 5:40 a.m. she accompanies me to the bathroom, in part to make sure I don’t dilly dally (a term my mother used incessantly) and get to the task at hand. She then watches us from some place on high, be it a kitchen stool at the island, or from the top of an antique buffet that my maternal grandparents brought from Germany that was made in 1912 for their wedding. Nothing is too good for Paka. The sun has not yet risen by that time so she finds the softest place on the couch, usually warm from my FHB’s derriere, after watching the latest news as he gets ready for work. It’s a nice arrangement. Soft and warm space, prepared with her in mind, I am sure she believes.
We leave in the morning and she somewhat sees us to the door, and on some occasions we forget something and go back minutes later and she is already in her spot dreaming of her next meal. We of course, are out there working to make sure she has the best food, or rather the food she likes best. Have you ever watched people in the pet food aisle spending a lot of time and sighing over the choices for their cat? Usually these are the folks that engage in conversations that start with “….I don’t know why I bother, she hates everything!” and then proceed to discuss the merits of chopped versus grilled versus pate’. I usually do the stealth move of reaching, grabbing quickly the usual (stuff that includes cheese) and try not to maintain any eye contact or it’s over. Litter is another issue. Paka is not too vocal except when she indicates her need to have the box changed. Usually she disappears, as she is a social cat and is always nearby. Then I look for her and find her sitting in the bathroom, in the dark, near to her litter box just staring. This is when I realize that I have been sent a mental message ” It is about time that you stop thinking about yourself and think about me and my needs. Have you looked at the box lately? It’s disgusting! When are you going to change it? Do you think I can lift 20 pounds of litter? Do you understand that you work for me and it’s not the other way around?!!!” or something like that. She supervises this process and I realize that I am apologizing for not being there for her and meeting her needs. Then I realize that I am in a relationship with someone who seems to have seriously narcissistic tendencies. My next realization is that I must like it in a strange way because when all is well, Paka sits on my lap, or next to my hip and we are both content. I definitely will be considering how I come back as my cat in the future, and also how to make sure that the cat food choices are more to my liking.
Have a good weekend. Keep yourselves and your pets safe. By the way, Paka means “cat” in Swahili.