Published by the Rains County Leader on November 8, 2016:
After several weeks of more serious columns, it’s time for a Kitty update. Her fans will be glad to know that she is doing well. She has us trained to the point that we rarely resort to spraying her with a water bottle.
She is becoming more social, although it would be a stretch to say that she has become a lap cat. She occasionally jumps into David’s lap when he’s on his computer, but that’s usually because she wants to get from there to the desk so she can investigate all the papers and other interesting gadgets. She allows him to pick her now and then, too. The other day she actually sat in his lap long enough for me to get a picture as proof.
She still avoids my lap, but she tolerates my petting while she’s investigating what I have just put in her bowl. She does crawl onto my chest when I go to bed at night because she has learned that I always have a few treats in my hand. She sits quietly and even purrs a bit, but as soon as the last treat is gone, so is she.
She sleeps at my feet most nights, but I don’t fool myself that her choice of spots indicates any great affection for me. It’s just that, with eleven inches difference in our heights, there’s more room at my feet than at David’s. Besides, it makes it convenient for her to wake me by chewing on my toes when she’s ready for breakfast.
Even though she’s into her second year, she’s still a growing girl. I’m not sure how much she weighs, but when she stretches out completely, she’s over a yard long. I don’t think we over feed her. Other than the treats I give her at bedtime, all we give her is a slightly rounded one-third cup of food twice a day. We’ve avoided giving her people food except for an occasional kernel of popcorn or something that has jumped off the cutting board while I’m preparing dinner. Her normal reaction has been to sniff suspiciously and then walk off with her nose and her tail in the air – until I baked banana bread.
Last week I had a couple of bananas on the counter that had reached that stage of ripeness where the fragrance fills the house, and not in a pleasant way. Once the bread was in the oven, David commented favorably on the new aroma, but Kitty was oblivious – at first. Then, one morning while David was sitting on the couch drinking a cup of coffee, I took him a slice. She was no longer oblivious.
First, her ears and eyes appeared over the edge of the coffee table where he had set the plate. She looked a lot like a “Kilroy was here” graffiti from the World War II era. Then, she put her paws on the table and leaped onto the forbidden surface. No amount of scolding deterred her until David reached for the water bottle.
Finally, he relented and put a small crumb on his leg. She sniffed it, and then, instead of walking away, she nibbled it until it was gone. After that, any time he had banana bread, she had to have a taste. I don’t think she was doing any damage to her girlish figure, though. She only wanted the tiniest piece. Once, after she had visited David, she came to see if my banana bread was any better than his. I pinched off a crumb about a quarter inch in diameter and put it on a piece of paper on the floor. She chewed a tiny bit and then left the rest in crumbles spread out all over the paper.
Kitty is unusual in several ways – she’s not affected by catnip, she doesn’t particularly like being petted, and she’s seems to prefer dry cat food to anything else we have to offer. It’s just as well. Based on how aggressive as she is about the banana bread, if she really liked people food, we’d have to eat in the closet.
A LONG AND WINDING ROAD: A Caregiver’s Tale of Life, Love, and Chaos