1.08.2011

Constancy, thy name is cat

Good morning, all!  It's the "Mom person" here.  I'll try to keep this brief, I promise, and turn the blog back over to "the kids." 

You know, I was thinking last night about one of my favorite quotes, by Jean Cocteau, which reads "I love cats because I love my home and after a while they become its visible soul."

Very true, I think.  Dogs are wonderful.  And my own home will never feel complete without one.  The sound of Tucker & Phoebe's welcoming barks and the sight of their furiously wagging tails as I walk in the door makes my homecoming complete, whether I am returning from a two week vacation or a 90 second trip to the mailbox.  Still, though, dogs being dogs are not content to just lounge about at home.  They want to go out in the world.  See.  Do.  And part of the joy of a dog is having a little fur person who is ready, willing, and able to accompany you to wherever you might want to go.  They'll never say they don't want to go.  Never say "ok, I'll go, but I'd rather go somewhere else."  All they want is to be with you.  To accompany you into the world.  You know, the whole "my dog, my co-pilot" thing. 

As such, however, dogs are very public.  There they are at the end of that leash, a living, breathing, barking, sniffing, wagging testament not just to their genetics and their own individual back story (reputable breeder, backyard breeder, puppy store, shelter, rescue) but also to whatever training and socialization they've received from you.  Cats are different.  Unless you're talking about Norton the Scottish Fold Wunderkind they are, to greater or lesser degrees, homebodies.  They don't, usually, have a burning desire to go out and conquer the world.  They're far more inclined to want to stay at home, enjoy their creature comforts, enjoy our company when we're home, and then, when we leave, to welcome us back from our travels in ways as individual as the markings on their coats.

 And as I arrived home last night (it was pretty late, and I was tired and cold and weary in both mind and body after a long, stressful week), I glanced over, as I do every night when I come home, to the sunroom window, looking for a certain striped face.  As always, I found it ... a face very like (ok, exactly like) this one:


It was, of course, Tanner, sitting sentry at the window waiting for my car, which he has done unfailingly since he was about a year or so old.  And save for the times when I go away for a weekend or on vacation, which seems to both "unset his Mom clock" or damage his little cat feelings (or both), he has not missed a single night that I can recall.  I don't know how he knows when I'm coming, since though I do usually arrive home between about 5:30 and 6 pm, there are nights, such as last night, when I get home much later.  And even though my sister, the kids' Aunt K., had been here, and even though he'd been fed (food is very high up on Mr. T's priority list), he was still there, waiting. 

It's not like he comes running to the door when he hears me pull in ... by the time I am coming down the street and am within view of the house, he is already there in position.  As though, like those shows about "psychic pets" he knew when I would be coming, even though my arrival time last night was at least three hours later than normal.  Not that I think he is psychic.  Far more likely, his keen ears are tuned to the sound of the car that has brought me to and from this house every day of his four plus years, and which he himself has ridden in many times.  Whatever the explanation, though, it is difficult to describe the feeling I get when, after a difficult day, I come down the street, look up into that window, and see him there waiting for me.  Most nights, it could be argued, he is just eager to see the source of his beloved meals arriving home to prepare his evening repast.  And certainly, I see the truth in this.  However there are times, like last night, when all his basic needs have already been met, and still there he sits ... peering avidly out into the dark, anxiously anticipating the arrival of little old me.

Unlike the dogs, or the other two cats for that matter, Tanner's circle includes no other humans than me.  My sister "Aunt K" has been living with us here now for over a year, and before that, she lived just down the street and was a regular visitor here.  Still, despite her best efforts, Tanner refuses to be seduced.  He no longer runs from her, and seems to understand that she is now part of the "pride," but that is as far as it goes.  Despite the fact that she is the regular provider of meals when I am away or late at work, just as she was when she lived down the street, he does not, it seems, see the point of forming any closer alliance with her, or any other human.  I am, as far as that goes, his whole world.  It's a heady feeling, one that fills me with indescribable tenderness, and also a huge worry.  The dogs and the other two cats would, I know, eventually adjust to new homes if, God forbid, something happened to me.  I'm not sure that Tanner would.  Fortunately, even though it seems that I daily seem to find the ever-encroaching evidence of crow's feet, and the anniversary of my fourth decade on this planet is imminent, I don't think I'm going anywhere anytime soon.  And, and as much as I hate to think of it, it's a pretty sure bet that I'll outlive him.  What is also fortunate is that he himself is still young and healthy, which means I should have many more years of looking for, and finding, his striped face in the window when I arrive home at night.

Have a wonderful Saturday everybody, and as always, thanks for reading.

5 comments:

Caren Gittleman said...

you brought back some wonderful memories when you were talking about Tanner sitting in the window waiting for you.
When I lived in Cleveland (for most of Bobo's life) I had a first floor apt. EVERY DAY without fail (we are talking for over 10 yrs)...wherever I went, when I would come home I would see him in the window. At night if he sat behind the curtain I would see his silhouette. Like you, it comforted me and always made me smile.
When I would go out of town, my friends who would watch Bobo said he would sleep by the door (instead of standing watch at the window).
It saddened me when I moved to Michigan because my apt was on the second floor and Bobo wasn't able to see my car pull in. Can't tell you how much I missed that.
On another note...our Sheltie....has NO DESIRE to go outside (unless he has to pee)...has NO DESIRE to go into the car....I think he is quite strange! He also HATES taking walks. I think that he thinks he is a CAT!

Winnie said...

That is a lovely post...

And, following what Caren said above, the Lady Of The House's mum has a 19-year-old cat who thinks he is a dog. He has always answered to his name and comes when he's called just like a dog.

(They still keep me out of his way though).

Love and licks, Winnie

Old Kitty said...

Beautiful Tanner is so incredible!! That's so sweet that he waits for you - it must definitely be such a wonderful thing to see his face looking out the window as you return!!

Take care
x

houndstooth said...

We had a cat like that. Blizzard was solid white and we were told he was deaf, but I found it to be rather selective. He only wanted to be with me. Other people meant nothing, he terrorized the dogs and while he was a protector for our other cat, they were not particularly close. But every morning he had to be in the bathroom with me while I took my shower and got ready for work! :)

OKcats said...

I know exactly how you feel! My Zachary, who was a gray and black tabby like Tanner, was my cat and only mine. I was with my ex at least 5 years before Zak accepted him, and there were still times after that when Zak would run from him, hide under the bed and growl. And every cat has their own specific place where they are when I get home at a usual time - either in a window, by the door, sitting on a particular chair watching the door when it opens. I do love that. I always feel a bit bad when I come home late or early and catch them still groggy upstairs, obviously not expecting me home!