I am retired, 70, and an extrovert who enjoys being around people. Since the virus became a little too “close to home” for me again, I am trying to be more aware of where I go and if there are a lot of people in a small area. I still eat out or visit with my close friends. So still my entertainments are: calling friends: little things too do around my home; donate things I don’t need; keep records in order for taxes; and watch Netflix and YouTube. But my special entertainment star is Norie, my 12 year old, slightly plump, black cat.
Norie is a friendly, funny, intelligent, and mischievous cat. In fact in some ways she is a lot like me. She has given me so much companionship, fun, challenges, and lessons during this pandemic. She makes me laugh; gives me someone to be responsible for; helps me get exercise; and listens patiently to my conversations with myself. We have a great relationship of trust, and love; though I must admit that I have spoiled her.
We both enjoy our quiet times here in my condo, or on the screened in porch depending on the weather. Sometimes she goes off in another room and sleeps or sleeps on the bed by my recliner, where I watch TV. We both enjoy a leisurely life and take a nap when we feel inspired to do so. Sometimes if I lay down and fall asleep, she curls up against my back or behind my knees. I love when she snuggles up to me.
We both are fascinated by the birds, squirrels and rabbits which visit the bushy area in front of my screened in porch which I keep supplied with bird food to lure them to a perfect vantage point for both of us.
Interestingly Norie has been teaching me a lot about taking care of myself. What better pet is there to teach such a skill? Cats are tuned in to their bodies’ needs. If they are sleepy, they take a nap (actually sleep a large part of the day). If they are hungry, they eat. If they are full of energy, they play. If they need affection, they seek affection from other cats or people they love. They take care of themselves.
Norie appears to have a sense of responsibility and self-worth. Norie has chosen certain routines for me. She wakes me up usually at 6:30 AM, (or a little earlier if she is lonesome) which is perfect for my medicines and our breakfasts.
If I call, “Norie, there’s a bug!” She runs into the room looking quickly from side to side and sometimes steps on the very thing she is seeking and gobbles it up. I praise her for rescuing me from this impudent invader, while giving her a treat and praising her for protecting me from bugs. There have been a few times she has faked catching a bug. I love her sense of duty, mischievous nature, and desire to let me know she is “there” for me.
I never had a cat before Norie and I did have a second cat, Sister, who I had to put to sleep three years ago. But they both taught me a lot about self confidence. They don’t seem to worry about whether they are important or valuable. They know they are. They know their purpose in life. They don’t worry about whether they are doing a good job; they just do it with everything they have.
Norie has this habit of lying on her back and either looking at the world from a different perspective or just sleeping. Many times I come around the bed to find her on her back just looking around. I can’t help but laugh at her shock when she sees me laughing.
She keeps me company by sleeping on my bed while I type on my keyboard. She gives affection by rubbing against my leg, licking my fingers like she would groom a kitten, and once she gave me kitty kisses with her rough tongue on my cheek twice while I was resting on my yoga mat.
So what are some of the missions of a cat?
They are there to remind us to be aware of other living beings. They are there to teach us responsibility and kindness. They provide the company and comfort of having another living being close by during lonely times. On cold days there’s nothing quite as wonderful as a warm cat curled up against your back or stomach. Two bodies exchanging warmth and friendship.
Cats can teach us about following a schedule (often their schedule). I don’t know how it is but Norie sometimes wakes me up between 6:30 and 7 AM. Sometimes I can persuade her to let me sleep a little longer with a very sleepy voice. But I check and be sure she has food first, then go back to sleep. She does wake me up earlier than that if she has been awake and by herself for a while.
Yes, they are a responsibility, but one with minimal care but a lot of attention and interaction, which usually can be done sitting or standing. They are a fascinating, intelligent creature and with love, consistency, and understanding can make a loving, delightful pet and friend.