Saturday, February 7, 2009

Pitter patter of tiny paws is as distinct as a cat's meow

I don’t have kids, but I do have cats. A pride of nine mischief-makers who crave special attention. And just like a parent of human children, I do my best to cater to their individual needs.

Visitors have trouble telling some of them apart. Four are black. Three have grey markings. Two are tabbies. I know each of them by sight, even a sidelong glance. Just like a mother asked to tell her twins apart.

The other night, I was taking a moment to repose on the couch. But the cats weren’t sleepy. By nature, they are nocturnal beings who sleep most of the day. They ran and jumped and played with balls and catnip toys. They batted each other’s tails and caterwauled as they wandered through the house going about their nightly activities.

Lying there with my eyes closed, I knew exactly what each cat was up to. I knew them by their meows. Their gait. Their method of play.

Even when they jump onto my bed in the middle of the night and it’s too dark to see, I know them by the touch of their fur and heft of their body.

Knowing who’s who doesn’t mean it’s any easier to get them to behave. Right now they are galloping through the tax receipts I spread out carefully on the floor in categories. The cats take a running start, land on a pile, and slide like a pitcher coming in to home plate. The tiny scraps of paper swirl around them like confetti. I’m left to pick up the pieces – er, papers.

For the fourth time, I’ll be re-sorting them.

I’m not complaining. I’m feeling lucky that the receipts barely dodged one cat’s vomit and another’s need to mark territory with a little bit of liquid courage.

Tune in to read tomorrow. I’ll tell you how I give my felines individualized treatment to encourage harmony in my crazy cat house.

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