Chuck Brooks: Eye spy you, knave!
In my column Oct. 27, I dedicated the entire space to sharing with you stories of Willy, my cat. At the time, I mentioned it would be fun from time to time to return to Willy and so, this week, that's exactly what I'm doing. Six months later, welcome to Chapter 2 in "Life With Willy!"
Since I last wrote, Will has acquired a new behavior that, for the life of me, I cannot figure out. It's one of those behaviors that has a pet owner saying, "I don't know what you're trying to tell me." This behavior, however, is irritating to the point of "Shut up!"
If you're a cat owner, you will understand this next part better. If not, then you'll just need to trust me.
Depending on the volume and the consistency of a cat's "meow," it could be right up there with waterboarding as a means of torture. Willy has rarely if ever used that "meow," but with this behavior he's demonstrating, that meow is alive and more than well. Here's what he does.
I have a hallway that connects the living room with the den and the bedroom. Willy and I have created a game I call "Who Can Stare The Longest Without Blinking." It's also combined with a little of the old "Peek-A-Boo."
You're probably thinking I maybe have lived alone too long, but seriously, it's what we do. He'll position himself in a recliner that's angled away from the hall. He'll get in the corner of the chair and allow only his left eye to be seen. So I'll stand in the doorway of my bedroom, right next to the den, and I'll cover my face with the doorway minus my right eye. I'll slowly begin to show my entire face and leer at him, but he remains solid and steady, only showing that left eye. Then I'll make a quick motion with my head, taking it totally out of his sight, before slowly returning to my original pose of my right eye aiming at his left one.
OK. You have the picture? This may or may not be what started his latest "thing" while in the den. Game aside, here's what happens. If I am heading to the den and he sees me moving in that direction, he'll race ahead of me, jump in the chair, watch me as I enter, and he'll bat me with his paw as I walk by. Seriously. What the heck? Then I sit in my computer chair, my back to the chair and Willy, and the "fingernails-on-blackboard" meowing begins.
For a while, I would tell him to be quiet. That wasn't working, so I would ask him what was wrong. That did nothing, so I would say, "Shhh!" Laughing at my tireless efforts, I ignored him. Nothing was working. The meowing continued as though he had a vendetta. It sounds like he's in freakin' pain!
Only as of late have I discovered a new approach to getting him to stop. I turn around in my chair and simply look at him; my lap apparently looks inviting, so he jumps off the chair and onto my knees, crawls up on my shoulder, and there is where I cradle him like a little tyke, and he finally shuts up.
And my purpose for sitting down at my computer is thrown out the window. THIS is my life with Willy.
Another behavior of his I've regretted allowing to become a habit happens at bedtime. The final task we do before retiring is I clean out his litter box and then drop some treats in his dish. I crawl into bed, lying on my back, and I wait. Most nights, it's but a few minutes if that. Some nights, I have to wait longer until I decide "I'm not letting a cat dictate when I fall asleep!" and I roll onto my side, only to have him there milliseconds later. This is what he likes/does.
I'm on my back and the little nimrod jumps up, front feet onto my chest and across it, and he lays down across my upper body. His front legs hanging on the right side of me and his back legs draped across my left side. And if he could talk, I'm sure he'd say next, "OK. Begin petting me, knave." I do just that.
I'm sure it's quite a sight. I have my C-Pap mask on, talking through it to Willy. The time he stays there varies nightly. It could be a five-minute lovefest or it could be "Wham, bam, thank you knave," and off he flies. He rarely returns while I am awake.
The next time I normally know he's present in the bedroom is in the morning when daylight is fighting its way into my room, triggering Willy's appetite and thus his need to have me feed him. Willy, Willy, Willy.
I don't know what I would do without the little bugger. It'll be eight years this August when he entered my world. It took a bit of getting used to, but he's certainly a keeper. We have our stories, that's for certain. But I gotta go right now. He's gesturing to me his food dish is empty. And the little guy hates to have to wait. The King beckons me!