Friday, January 15, 2010

I Have a Code Id My Doze or What I am Learning from a Cat and a Dog While Lounging on the Couch

I asked for it, really. I've been bragging for months that I have not had a cold or flu in four years. Tuesday morning I thought I has having an allergy attack so I got up at 6:30 a.m. and changed the furnace filter. I'd checked it a week before and thought it was fine but my incredibly painful and narrowed throat suggested otherwise. Indeed, it was fuzzy. Not black or grossly dirty but, well, fuzzy with dust. So I switched it out. Usually a few hours later my throat would be fine. Not so this time. So I may have to acknowledge, after several days suffering in the headache, sore throat, earache, sinus pain department, that I have a cold. You can be sure if I'm lucky enough to have a long hiatus between colds again, I will not be bragging about it. Because clearly this is karma, yes? Or I'm just due.

So this is how I found myself lounging on the couch, feeling grumpy and miserable and alone. But wait. I'm not alone. I have Gracie and Smokey and PJ, the cats, and Shadow, the dog, to keep me company. Far as they're concerned, prayers have been answered. I am finally where I belong, all the time, except for when I creep into the bedroom to try and sleep at night. Gracie and Smokey are relatively well balanced cats, emotionally speaking. They like attention, but like most cats, they do not need attention. Their dignity is in tact. Fine examples for an independent woman of a certain age.

On the other hand, PJ is a cat I often describe as "the neediest cat in the world." I have also noted before that he is the best example to me of why neediness is not an attractive quality. Everyone who loves cats loves a lap cat, surely. I do too. But this cat gives me no time without his considerable weight balanced in some way on my body. Laying on my side on the couch, watching tv? No problem. He curls up on my hip. Not next to it, not snuggled behind in the crook of my legs like Gracie likes to do. This fellow perches on my hip, which is less than comfortable for me. It makes me feel, too, that I am his slave because any sudden move could roughly dislodge him and send him tumbling. Try to sit up and read? Good luck. Reading, to PJ, is an invitation to lay on the paper. Or to keep scrunching above it as I wiggle to try to insinuate my discomfort and discourage him from his position, until finally he is effectively resting on my bosom, fur in my face, as I try to turn pages.

And then there is the question of food. Being sick gives one license to eat while sitting in front of the tv, yes? It is also an invitation and challenge to PJ and Shadow to join me in case I want to share, or maybe drop a morsel or two. Typically, PJ is at my right hand, once moved from my lap, and Shadow sits at my left, one eye on PJ, one on me, as if to say: "Do you not see that cat there? Wouldn't you like me to move him for you? You're not thinking of giving him anything, are you?"

Naturally I want them to respect my space and that this is my food and so I have been trying to ignore them both while eating. PJ doesn't give a rats ass. He just continues to wait at my side. Shadow, on the other hand, has lately taken exception to the fact that this cat is spending so much time on the couch with me. And Shadow is doing something a friend told me her cats would do when she had offended them. Shadow is giving me the back. Yes. She looks at me imploringly. Shows me that she is being very polite in not chasing the cat and not stealing food from my lap. And then she simply turns her back on me and waits. Head high. Regal. None of the slumping and sighing she's done in the past when I deny her requests. She is working me, people. And next to those moody eyes, this is her best tactic. So far it's not paying off, but it does make me feel that I have offended her terribly and threatened her status.

That's my little report from the infirmary today. Right now it's time to warm up some leftovers and see what psychological ploy the fur family will use on me this time.

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