Love and Accommodation

It occurred to me today that accommodation is a two-way street with cats, probably more often than we credit them for. I was home sick today, and re-reading Naomi Novik’s In His Majesty’s Service at the dining room table, when Callisto jumped up to say hi and get some pets. I scritched her into a happy cat puddle in no time, and spent several blissful minutes reading and giving her forehead and cheek pets. After a while, though, she became restless, got up, and walked to the edge of the table, looking ready to jump off. I, however, wasn’t quite ready to give up my fluffy buddy petting time yet. (Fluffy buddy petting time is almost certainly the title of a porn video somewhere. Bet you a dollar.)

Anyway, I made a plaintive complainy noise that sounded kind of like “Marr!”

She immediately turned around and looked at me.

“Marr!” I said again, and petted the spot on the table where she’d been lying just a few moments before.

And she came back, laid back down, and submitted to a couple more minutes of scritches, though she got more and more and more restless, evidenced by her tail (whip-whip-whip-whip-whip) and her increasingly aggressive nibbles on my fingers as I petted her. And then she plain couldn’t take it any more: she jumped up, made a grumbly noise at me, and leapt off the table. But it struck me then that Callisto, for many moments, put up with an activity that wasn’t particularly rewarding for her in response to nothing more than me making nonsense sounds and gesticulating at her.

I’m not saying that my cats don’t ignore me when it suits them. (Most creatures do—humans are most certainly not exempt.) I’m amazed at how two very different species can find ways to express affection that are intelligible to each other, and I think people who talk about how cats do things solely when it suits them either:

  • Don’t know cats very well;
  • Have dicks for their cat companions;
  • Haven’t been paying very close attention to how their cats accommodate them in their own feline way; or
  • Are falling prey to confirmation bias.

Or some delicious combination.

Cats: more caring than they get credit for! (Admittedly a low bar to clear, at least as far as pop culture is concerned.)

Addendum to the last post

So in my last post, I described Callisto’s periodic assplosions as “random.” This is a completely false characterization. They’re not random at all. They’re directly traceable to one cause: the fact that she exhibits Labrador retriever-like tendencies to eat anything and everything that comes across her way. This has included items like curry, pieces of tissue paper and (most alarmingly) kale braised in onion. The most recent escapade: half of a chicken breast fried with copious amounts of garlic powder. My boyfriend and I are much better about keeping food off the tables and counters now, but we screwed up last night.

The results have been predictable.

Kittens, man. I’ve forgotten how they inspire both love and a desire to throttle.

*blows off cobwebs*

It’s been a while since I’ve posted. Law school kind of blew up in my face after Eric died, and then I adopted a kitten, whom we named Callisto (“the most beautiful” in Greek, also synonymous with “Get off the counter!” and “Stop trying to eat that random piece of paper”). All my energies have been focused on a) trying not to flunk out of law school, and b) raising a kitten, up to and including dealing with various kittenish assplosions. Aside from the random gastrointestinal upheavals, she’s pretty amazing, and I want to write more about her. Until I find more time, however, please enjoy these cute pictures I took of her a couple months ago.

Callisto, looking all swank
Callisto, looking all swank
She is the hilariousest when shes playing.
She is the hilariousest when she's playing.
Enjoying a prime bit of sunny windowsill like a cat should.
Enjoying a prime bit of sunny windowsill like a cat should.

I still miss Eric. Some days a lot more than others. Callisto reminds me of him in some ways–she’s the same kind of attention/affection whore, and like Eric, she’ll try to eat anything at least once, and most things at least twice or three times. She’s marginally brighter than Eric, though that’s not saying much, because Eric, bless his departed heart, was dumber than a sack of wet hair.

In short: life is pretty good, if insanely busy. I want to update more, but that’s probably not happening till May.