Published in the Rains County Leader on September 20, 2016:
Roget’s thesaurus shows a number of synonyms for the word fickle: inconsistent, changeable, unpredictable, picky, and choosy among others. Any of these words describes Kitty, especially the last week when we’ve been away a lot playing with Spike. For new readers who don’t know who that is, Spike is a Great Pyrenees mix who likes for us to come over for a visit when his people are out of town.
Kitty has become so domesticated that we feel comfortable leaving her on her own while we house sit. We are close enough to drop in a couple of times a day, and as long as her food, water, and litter box are in good shape, she seems perfectly happy to be mistress of the manor in our absence.
She does show some signs of loneliness, or so I’m told. As summer comes to an end, fall activities kick in at the church where I work part time. This means letters to participants, Facebook and email updates, newspapers ads, bulletins and bulletin boards, and other assorted duties of a secretary/go-to person. Due to my increased workload and the fact that we now have satellite internet with unlimited on-line access at home, David has been dropping me off at work on his way to check on Kitty and staying there until time to pick me up instead of spending the day at the office with me, using the church internet connection. That means that, when Kitty is at her neediest, he’s there and I’m not.
I think I have written about the campaign I launched some time ago to encourage Kitty to become more of a lap cat. While she lies on the couch at David’s feet when he watches TV or lounges on the end table or ottoman next to my chair while I write, she avoids actually crawling into our laps like many cats do. When we try to pet her, she often responds with small bites or gentle swats with her claws. I’ve been told those are expressions of love, but regardless of her intentions, they tend to discourage physical contact.
The exception is when we come home or when we first wake up in the morning. Although she still is not a lap sitter, she persistently rubs our legs and allows us to lean down and pet her – as long as we don’t try to pick her up. Apparently, that has all changed, at least where David is concerned.
When he has picked me up this week, he has regaled me with tales of how she jumped into his lap while he was working at his computer desk. It’s true that she doesn’t usually stay more than three or four minutes, but it still seems unfair. I have been working for a while to make her comfortable, luring her with treats that she only gets if she comes into my lap. She will come and stay as long as the treats last, but once they’re gone, so is she. Even then, petting is discouraged.
To add insult to injury, one day last week while I was not there, she actually allowed David to pick her up and sit down with her in his lap for a few minutes. On Friday, we went by the house for a few minutes after he picked me up because I needed some things for weekend meals. Kitty met me at the door with signs that she was glad to see me, so I leaned down and attempted to pick her up. She immediately rolled over and assumed a defensive position, claws and all, so I left her there and went into the kitchen.
That fickle little feline waltzed over to David and began rubbing against his legs. He leaned down, picked her up, and sat down on the couch. As she settled into his lap, they both looked at me with a “Nyah, nyah, nyah” look on their faces. I may have to visit the animal shelter and bring home a dog.
A LONG AND WINDING ROAD: A Caregiver’s Tale of Life, Love, and Chaos