My friend Ellen assures me that pets feel the emotion of their owners and react.
Okay, I accept that about dogs. Our Pepper would run whenever she thought George and I were about to argue because she could feel the tension between us. Many a fight ended before it started because we laughed when she took off down the hall. Our Dreamer would get on my lap and quiver when I cried. She never did any other time.
But cats? Ellen assures me they do and I might believe her now.
We have two incredibly spoiled tuxedo cats (I may have mentioned them before). Maggie hasn’t slept with us for years and Scooter only bothered George at night. But during the last weeks of George’s latest and last illness, both cats slept with me. It wasn’t a matter of there being more space on the bed. They cuddled with me. Scooter used my legs as a pillow and Maggie slept against my side. This lasted for two weeks after George died when they quit.
So what do you think? Did the cats pick up on my sadness and worry? Were they comforting me? I think so. I believe they were using their warm little bodies to keep me warm, to keep me company. It helped.
My favorite author and dearly beloved wife of 46 years announced yesterday, “I finished the book,” I knew several things. One, she is still nowhere near her deadline; Jane is a twit who used to do her homework on Friday afternoon. Two, she is entering the Draft Phase (it could be called Rewrite Time) during which she will do four (or more) complete rewrites of said book. And three, I’m going to see a lot more of her for a while.
Five years ago we retired to a three bedroom, two bath apartment, and you would think we would see a lot of each other. But we communicate largely through email and intercom from my study to hers because this is really a one bedroom, two study, two bath apartment. In Draft Phase, however, Jane will use the Editing Chair, and it is in the living room so I will have to actually see her physical presence from time to time.
The Editing Chair. Jane has lower back problems (Duh! She’s a writer!) But she is also horribly cheap, after years of her pain I convinced her that a good chair, although expensive, would be worth it. And we bought a Scandinavian objet d’art that is the most comfortable thing ever sat upon and has table attached which holds the draft copy at a perfect height. With its ottoman and its kitty furniture and red pen table next to it, this whole configuration occupies most of one end of our living room.
Her Cheapness also allowed me to buy her a laser printer a few years ago because it prints so quickly, but I know she still uses the ink-jet printer because she believes it is cheaper. And she will run a complete draft of the book, three-hole punch it, and place it in a binder. The electric hole puncher keeps me out of the loop at this point. This used to be my odious duty because Jane insists on reusing her paper for different drafts and it was really really hard to keep the drafts straight.
So picture the great author: in her nightie, feet up on the ottoman, back comfortable in her big chair, cat on its stand providing a Muse, binder on the table, red pen in hand—she’s editing up a storm as long as she doesn’t have to go potty. It’s nearly impossible to get out of that chair!
A bunch of things I’ve learned about life from our pets
2. From Goldie, my cockatiel, very crabby after laying fourteen eggs in a week: Sometimes being a female sucks.
4. From my peach-faced lovebirds Bone Crusher and Scarface: Separate cages are often better for a relationship.
5. From Scooter the Wonder Cat: When you’re really good looking, you can do anything you want.
6. From Dream, the black cocker: When someone is crying, climb into her lap and lick her face.
8. From Bridgette, our Irish setter: If you can reach it, you can eat it. (I’ve since had to unlearn this.)