In Our Own Backyard…Cats and kids – they’re all alikeI think I’ve been hanging out around cats too much. I’ve heard that what sometimes happens after your kids grow up and move away is that your pets seem to start assuming human characteristics that are uncannily just like your kids.
By: Wendy Johnson, Pine Journal
I think I’ve been hanging out around cats too much.
I’ve heard that what sometimes happens after your kids grow up and move away is that your pets seem to start assuming human characteristics that are uncannily just like your kids.
A case in point – in the wee, small hours of the morning one day last week, I awoke to the sound of Mufasa, our big yellow male, making the characteristic howling moan he emits just prior to throwing up a hairball. And sure enough, after just moments he made a horrible retching sound from somewhere out in the living room and it was all over.
It wasn’t until my husband was headed for the kitchen the next morning that he noticed the little yellow female, Sunshine, flying down the hallway ahead of him. She ran straight up to the spot where Mufasa had hurled up the hairball and pointedly stared at the offending heap, then at Ken, and then back at the hairball – as if saying, “Take a look at what HE did!’”
And then, after a few days of the recent oppressive heat, Ken and I were both dragging around the house sluggishly and trying to keep our distance from each other, since even the vaguest proximity seemed to generate even more heat. Taking their clue from us, the cats seemed to skulk around the house looking miserable and giving each other sideways glances.
I had noticed that both of them seemed to be shedding lately – probably a natural reaction to the heat – and as a result they had started to develop mats in the undercoat of their long, thick fur. I decided that the only thing to do about those mats, since they couldn’t be combed out, was to snip them out with scissors. I knew it would have to be a team effort, so I recruited Ken to help me.
I secured Sunshine under my arm, wrapped in a rather large beach towel to keep her from biting or scratching me, while Ken wielded the scissors and went to work on a rather large mat along the fur of her back. Suddenly, Sunshine summoned up a wild, primitive yowl followed by a heart-stopping hiss. Ken was halfway through snipping out the mat when she bolted away and flew down the hallway. Mufasa must have alerted at the awful sound and came charging down the hallway as well to find out what was going on.
In the meantime, Sunshine hid under a small storage chest in the front entryway, with the half-snipped-out mat in her fur sticking straight up at a rakish angle and her eyes as large as saucers.
Mufasa went into a crouch just in front of her hiding place and just sat there and stared at her. We decided our window of opportunity for doing any more work on Sunshine’s fur had expired and went on to other things.
About five minutes elapsed before a chorus of spitting and growling erupted from the living room. I sped into the room just as both cats jumped into a snarling heap, rolling around and around and fighting one another, all the while setting up an ear-splitting din.
“STOP IT!” I yelled, hoping the sheer volume of my voice would shock them into submission.
No such luck. They were far too hot and cranky to let up, and they rolled around and around on the floor in a fiery clinch. I finally risked life and limb by actually pulling the two of them apart. Once they were separated, they calmly turned and walked away from each other in stony silence.
“What in the heck was all of that about?” asked Ken.
“I’m guessing,” I replied, “that Mufasa must have said something mean about Sunshine’s fur…..”
And then there was last night. Ah, last night. We were awakened from a sound sleep as Sunshine thundered into our bedroom, followed by a chorus of squeaking. We figured she must have captured some ill-fated mouse who had somehow managed to find its way through some nook or cranny into our otherwise airtight house. In the morning, I discovered she’d left the mouse carcass next to my side of the bed. It was then I recalled reading a recent article about pet behavior that said cats often do that very thing as sort of a “warm and welcoming gesture – kind of like bringing flowers,” the writer said. She must have been hanging around cats too much.