you can learn from your cat… if you want to

Andy and Dougy are out of sync today. Dougy wants to play; Andy will have nothing of it; Andy is excited about birds outside the back door; Dougy’s licking his bum in obvious contentment. You just can’t predict the plan for the day with these boys.

Andy is the least predictable. He’ll walk up to me, give me kitten eyes, maybe put his little front paws on my leg in an inviting way. “Oh, you want me to pet you, darling pet,” I say, and reach down to stroke his soft wee ears or to scratch his kittenish chin. Purr-purr-purr! I’m all excited for our cat-human bonding moment!

Then, quicker than my hand can reach Andy to start the love fest, he gallops away from that very hand that dares to stroke his silken Persian magnificence!

“Rats! Foiled again!” I curse as my hand barely touches Andy’s fabled “nice tail”, the one he arches so gracefully over his back when I touch it, run it through my hand and say the magic words, “Nice tail, kitty! You have the nicest tail of all cats ever!” He likes this, so he generally lets me do it. It’s our “thing”!

Flattery usually fails on cats, though.

On the other hand, or maybe “under the other hand”, there is Dougy, a personable cat much like the idealized cat humans often think all kittens grow up to be. You know, kittens still, playful, affectionate, amusing, lap-dwelling lumps of love, which is to say meatloaves with personality!

(I thought I just heard a disbelieving voice say, “You mean they don’t???”)

I confess I am more like Andy than Dougy many times: “Give me my space. Don’t press your luck when I clearly am not interested in interacting with you just now. Leave me alone, I’m thinking. Maybe not about useful things to you, but I’m thinking, and it is pleasant for me not always to be social.”

Shame on us both! You saw in the video what our unsocial ways did to poor Dougy! He had to make his own fun! Hey! If I didn’t already do that myself, I could have learned that from my cat! In case you need a life lesson on having fun, I offer that one to you for free. We’ll call it “The Dougy Principle: Make your own fun.”

Incidentally, Andy is at my feet at this moment, giving me kitten eyes. “I want you to think I want something, which I don’t, but I will play my favorite cat game with you till you figure this out: When I sit at your feet giving you kitten eyes, I’m just trying to fake you out!”

I ignored him. No fuss about it, he simply moved on to find something else to do. Maybe I can learn from my cat if I want to!

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POSTSCRIPT: Dougy had to make his own fun this morning, too, and is a stronger cat for learning to tough it when everyone, cat and man, ignores him.

Honestly, though, sometimes he’s so frustrated he could just kill a bird!