Sometimes persistence is a very physical thing, sometimes it’s more cerebral.
Cats dislike closed doors, and will have you come and open the door just so they can look inside and see if there may have been anything that might at some time have been of interest to them. After even only a quick cursory glance, they may see that there was nothing of interest in there after all, and will simply walk away without apology. After all, you exist to fulfill their needs, and their needs aren’t all that great—what does it take to open a door, or put out some food, or move over in bed, or toss the toy, or pet them for the 32 seconds or two hours they want? Oh, and there are several other things that should be done, but we can leave these for another posting.
My house is very small, and without very many doors. The ones that exist are rarely closed, except those to the outside.
In this case, however, the door in question is the entry to what may be seen as “the good life” by the feline members of my household. This is the Spare Kitty Room, as I have no need for a spare bedroom, and often it actually contains a spare kitty, a rescue of some stripe or other, or a foster.
It can also contain a sick kitty, one who is actively ill with some acute or chronic illness as rescues or very rarely a regular resident may be, or one of the very seniors who needs a little extra care. Often, the room is only used as an observation area to isolate which kitty has been leaving the really awful stuff in the box, or to see if I can determine why so-and-so is eating with less enthusuiasm.
Now, why would they associate a room with “the good life” which I associate with illness and recovery? For the same reason I was always envious of my accident-prone brother—he got all the attention, the extra gifts, the time out of school, lots of special treatment I never got! Both humans and felines can easily forget or ignore the side effects of illness when there is some treat involved.
In this case, the room is warm and cozy with the best bed, one’s own litterbox, usually special food and sometimes it’s available all day, not this ungenerous twice-daily dash for the dishes before it’s taken away again. A nice window with a bird feeder directly outside provides entertainment, and, because the Spare Kitty Room doubles as my art studio where I perform non-computer-related activities, they get special time with mom, and having mom’s lap to one’s self in a house with multiple cats is apparently worth more than food.
Right now, Kelly is in there because she was the one found to be emitting the nasty stuff in the box. She is very upset by the dominance of Mimi’s Children, so she’s in the room having quiet time and getting special attention.
So Peaches will patiently sit and look up at the doorknob, sometimes dozing off. I don’t think Peaches is the type of cat who reflects—in fact, I think her mind is most often nearly empty with only one thought at a time taking up a small portion. She is about 18 years old and her age may have something to do with this, but I don’t think Peaches was ever the introspective sort, just quiet and consistent, pretty straightforward.* I’m not sure she’s even considering why she’s looking at the doorknob, only that if she does it long enough, she will get some sort of reward. Her focus can stay entirely on the doorknob, and when the door opens it can move to what is waiting inside.
I know she’s up there right now, waiting.
*As a footnote, Peaches did show some innovation at one point in her time here when she considered becoming a photographer. Read “Area Senior Cat Finds Muse in Photography” in the writing area of my website. I caught her in action, trying to use my camera.
Buddy’s people loved his portrait, and told me the story of how Buddy came to be a part of their lives. Hearing the story, and knowing a painting of a black lab chewing on a stick in the back yard is something most lab owners can relate to, I asked Buddy’s people if I could have prints made of the portrait to sell to others. They were thrilled! The prints are being prepared now, and the information is on my website under “commissioned dogs“, with Buddy on the top.
Even though Buddy was a gift to his mom and this is her story, he hangs out with his dad, too, especially sprawled on the floor next to the favorite recliner. In Buddy’s mom’s own words…
“When I was age 10 and having a particularly rough time of it, as children will do, my parents surprised me with a black lab puppy who I named Buttons. He continued to be a source of joy, and my very best buddy, until his death at age 11 ½.
“After Jack and I married at age 24, I always pointed to black labs and sighed over missing my old one, and always wanted another, but because of the usual hectic life schedule with overtime at work, etc., we never adopted another lab.
“Jack went yearly to a fund raiser banquet for Ducks Unlimited. They raffled or auctioned off decoys, prints, ceramics, etc. of water fowl, dogs, and outdoor scenes. These always included various Labrador dog items and on occasion, a live Labrador Retriever pup. The first time Jack went to the banquet, he came home and told me he got me a lab. I was beside myself, and hurried to lock away our monster cat* before he brought the dog into the house. Well, he went back out to the car and came back in with a lab print! So after that, every year our standing joke was that I asked Jack to get me a lab when he went to the banquet. Sure enough, every year, he would come home and say he had my lab. And he always brought me a lab print.
“Fast forward to our fifties, and I was having a particularly sad time of it, again. My Dad had serious health problems, and had just been in the hospital 14 times in 4 months.
“So Jack went off to his yearly banquet, and once again, I asked him to bring me a black lab. He came home early that night, and I was very surprised. So he said that there was nothing more he was interested in bidding on. When I asked if he bought anything, he just handed me AKC papers. I, literally, couldn’t stand up, and sunk to the floor crying. Jack brought the pup in, and the poor pup must have thought I was crazy. I sat on the floor, with my arms around him, crying for 30 minutes, with happiness. My dear husband wanted to cheer me up, and he couldn’t have done it better. I wanted to name the pup Buttons after my first black lab. But the pup was too big for a Buttons. He was 13 ½ weeks old and was 32 pounds. He was named the next closest thing—Buddy.
“A postscript to this story: I always prayed that when I ever did get my new lab, that he would not have some very bad habits that Buttons had. I didn’t want him to bark outside, nor to bite people in an attempt to protect me. Well, our Buddy lives up to those virtues. He can walk past the neighbors’ dogs when they are tied up, barking and growling, and he doesn’t even look over. Nothing fazes him (except food!). I would like to add, that I know Buddy really is Buttons come back to me.”
Thanks, Jan, others always enjoy a good dog story! And by the way: *the monster cat is “Tibbie” who can be seen on my website under “commissioned cats“, you can see the attitude just by looking at the portrait.
Brother and sister Mr. Sunshine and Ms. Mewsette cuddle on the crumpled bathroom rug, arms about each other and tails entwined. Honestly, I couldn’t have posed this, but it will certainly be a piece of artwork in the future!
Cookie’s nose making a cold, wet dot on my wrist as she exudes happiness. Namir swatting my elbow so I’ll come close enough for him to tuck his paw in my hand while he gazes up at me. Jelly Bean sitting next to me loudly purring and blinking his eyes in bliss. Kelly talking her way through her upward-downward cat postures when I enter the room. These are my valentines, and then some. How could I miss that I am adored?And they don’t need a special day to let me know about it.
I didn’t take this photo on Valentine’s Day, but close enough; I just wish the light had been a little better. However, the greatest Valentine’s gift my cats give me is the constant inspiration of their activities and personalities.
Thanks, everyone! It was a great Valentine’s Day!