What must this domestic landscape of sofas, unworn shoes and constantly present laps look like to our feline friends?by Rosalind Jana / April 17, 2020 / Leave a comment
The other day I let my girlfriend cut my hair. I sat on a stool in the bath while she trimmed it with nail scissors, discarded curls collecting around my toes. I’m relieved to be rid of the split ends. But more so, I’m glad that the chop seems to have put a stop to one of our two cats acting as a small, purring alarm clock.
Previously this cat had been waking me daily at 7am under the misapprehension that I was a fellow feline in need of grooming. I understand the confusion. If I were her, I too would have observed the cloud of frizz across the pillow and got to work detangling with my teeth. I’ve seen her do it to her brother many times, a fierce tussle morphing into maternal fussing as she pins him down and briskly licks the fur between his ears. Annoying as it was, I found myself strangely touched that she afforded me the same intimacy.
I have spent a lot of time recently putting myself into the mindset of a cat. I’d like to claim that it’s a pastime borne entirely of the unprecedented number of hours currently spent stuck indoors, but any pet owner would know I was lying. It begins the minute an animal enters a home. From the moment we become responsible for keeping these creatures alive we observe them closely, noting their funny habits, sleep patterns, and the minutiae of personality, physicality, even bowel movements. We wreath them in nicknames and narrate their lives, speculating about their inner worlds and discussing them as though they share all those messy human feelings like resentment, longing, and shame. At first it’s a novel form of entertainment. Over time it becomes an integral part of loving them.
Lockdown has definitely upped the narrative stakes though. With the two of us constantly rattling around the house with less work than usual and more time than ever, the focus on our cats has reached fever pitch. It’s evidently endemic. WhatsApp notifications spill in from friends updating us on the comic foibles and complex sensibilities of their own feline companions. Our…