My cats, litter-mates named Magellan and Archimedes, are almost nine years old — senior citizens, in the cat world. They don’t frolic or play often; though, when they do, it nearly always ends with some degree of booty-shaking, yowling, and pouncing. My husband insists that boys just like to roughhouse, but I cannot support the violence they perpetrate against each other and usually wind up consoling whoever happens to lose the battle while the winner struts victoriously away.
They are more content to sleep most of the time. In fact, they can nap just about anywhere, anytime, and in any position. How have they mastered the art of sleeping, which so often eludes me? They don’t live with the constant fear of interruption (as I do, from them, when they happen to be hungry, or bored, or feeling snuggly, or cold, or just ready for me to be awake). You see, they are the only kids in the house, so they don’t have to worry about their tails getting pulled or their ears getting yanked by tiny fingers when they aren’t paying attention. Thus, my cats sleep soundly any time they wish, which, at their age, is most of the time.
However, when they are awake and longing for attention, they demand it insistently, much like human children do. They greet us excitedly at the door each day when we arrive home from work, ready to be held or stroked or given catnip. They sit on books I’m reading, chew off edges of papers I’m correcting, plop down in front of the screen when I’m typing, and stand on my chest and meow until I acknowledge their presence (sleeping used to be blissful, prior to their arrival — a similarity to a baby’s first few months, I suppose, but this has gone on for eight long years).
Furthermore, I find that, when I really need alone time, one of the two cats is always underfoot: they swish their tails in the water while I bathe, they hog the covers at night, and they jump up onto board games, knocking pieces over like they are getting paid to do it. They love to aid in kitchen chores, the extent of which consists of sitting directly behind whoever happens to be stirring the sauce or washing up dishes. In the way children do, beating me up or down the stairs or into the next room is a fun game we play every single day, over and over. Solo yoga has always been a dream of mine, but, luckily for me, they decide to help with that each day, too.
When I need them to, say, kill a spider, though, neither cat can be found. Their helpfulness only goes so far. Their lives are all about their own comfort, almost all of the time. It’s lucky for them that I love it when they are content — our relationship as a family is perfect.
Love and peace.