I love cats.
I love all animals and adore dogs, but when someone asks me, “Are you a cat person or dog person?” I am finally admitting that my heart does indeed belong to cats.
I am savouring every moment with our cat, Pip. He’s 15 and not in great health. We lost his brother last year, so I am aware that our time with him is coming to a close. And that’s why everything he does delights me, even the foolishness.
His latest obsession is a large piece of brown wrapping paper. Something arrived in the mail and I made the mistake of ripping it off the box and throwing it on the floor. Now, when indoor cats find something new in their world, it’s like heaven. They are the nosiest creatures on the planet, so this piece of thick paper was instantly analyzed for several hours. Pip went under it, over it, lay on it and gathered it up like kitty litter. Then I wrapped him up in it like a present to show hubby.
“Where’d Pippy go?” I sang. “Where is he?”
Hubby went along. “I don’t know! Where is Pippy? Is he in the room?”
I swear I could hear Pip tee-heeing under the wrapping. He was fooling us. What a great game. I eventually pulled some off to reveal his face. “Oops! There he is! There he is!”
That little game is now the first thing Pip wants to play every morning, after a night of lying directly on top of my feet or nestled into my shoulder. He jumps off the bed and runs to his paper, which is now very soft, crinkly and ripped from all the wrapping and unwrapping. Before I’ve even had a chance to get my coffee or go to the loo, he sits on his treasure and makes Puss in Boots eyes at me until I bend down and go through the ritual.
We have another roll of brown paper that will have to be put into commission. This piece has had the biscuit.
And now he has another obsession. I finally found a cloth bag I like to take shopping instead of using plastic. I bought it at a craft fair. It has the shape of Cape Breton Island on it and says “Cape Breton Crew,” which I thought was cute for obvious reasons.
I was unloading my shopping one day and put the full bag by the kitchen as I went out to the car for more stuff. When I came back, Pip was freaking out over the bag. He rubbed his face all over it and was licking it and squiggling on top of it. It was like he’d never seen anything so beautiful. I ended up putting it in my study because I had Christmas gifts on the bed to be wrapped.
Pip lay on the lumpy bag all that day and night. He didn’t even come in to sleep with me. He was too busy rubbing his cheek all over it. Hubby and I looked at him and couldn’t figure it out. Then, I took a sniff and wondered if the few bars of peppermint soap I’d bought for a stocking was the reason for the ardour. Maybe it smelled like catnip?
The upshot is that I have to peel Pip off the bag if I want to take it into town. And now it’s filled with cat hair I can’t quite get rid of, which I’m sure the store merchants are thrilled about when they bag my purchases.
Pip has always been an indoor cat because we live in the wilds of Cape Breton. After losing our last cat to a fox, we made the decision to keep Neo and Pip indoors. But I’ve always felt guilty about it, although our bird population thanks us on a daily basis.
So now, aware that his time is limited, I take him out on mini jaunts to the compost bin or to fill the bird feeders. He sticks by me because he’s not sure about the snow and cold. He loves to go in hubby’s shed and had a mad, passionate affair with the lawn mower this summer, rubbing his whiskers all over the wheels and back end. (Probably because it smelled like grass, which he loves to eat when it’s available.)
Pip has a temper and has been known to swipe people from time to time, but when he turns over on his back and shows me his black paws, I always melt. He has the prettiest face and he loves us so much.
How do you thank a little creature for giving you their whole heart for their entire life?
You wrap him up like a Christmas present for as long as he wants.
Lesley Crewe is a writer living in, and loving, Cape Breton. These are the meandering musings of a bored housewife whose ungrateful kids left her alone with a retired husband and a fat cat who couldn’t care less. Her 10th novel, Beholden, is in bookstores now.