I grew up a dog person. Now I’m a cat person. This change happened when a cat was introduced into our young marrieds’ household by my spouse. It was only fair. I had swooped in with the pound puppy first. He followed by bringing home the stray kitten hanging around his office building’s parking lot.
That was the last dog we owned. Once she exited our lives there was no interest in replacing her. I was hooked on cats who followed by the carload.
Knick, a grey tabby, was our first indoor cat and one of my favorites. Early on we had tried bringing in a pal for him, but he would have none of it. After he had been given up by his family for adoption, he had spent six months in a shelter where he lived in a large room with about twenty other cats of all ages. I should have realized that a roommate was not on his wish list once he moved in with us.
Instead Knick was content to hang out with me as he followed me around the house. I adored being numero uno. I talked to him constantly, and I’m sure that cat understood a lot of what I was saying.
Working at home as most writers do, Knick was great to have in the office. He would warm his fur by the slider which let in the afternoon sun.
In between his frequent cat naps I talked to him about my writing. ‘Where was I going with this scene,’ ‘could this character be stronger’ stuff. I talk to myself a lot when I write, but this didn’t qualify. I was talking to someone who was listening to every word I said and who looked at me while I was talking.
After Knick died three years ago we were slow to consider acquiring another cat.
Then last year, after we had moved to a new house, we started talking kittens. Two sounded fun, one for each of us. We hadn’t had a kitten since the summer that a neighbor driving around our neighborhood was holding up a black and white kitten to ask if we had lost a kitten. We hadn’t but we ended up giving her a home with our family.
Archie (left) and Amanda (right) spent their first weeks with us preferring the cozy confines of the laundry room. Little did I know that once they began to explore our house that my office would hold limitless fascination. Amanda looks a lot like our old cat Knick.
Yes, two kittens seemed the right move for our new household. So I went online and quickly found them: a tiny brother and a sister from a litter deposited on a local vet’s doorstep.
So now I am comfortably settled in my new spacious office in our current home. The cute-as-can-be kittens are a year old. I am writing a book.
How’s that working out for me?
If you come to my house and knock on my closed office door, this is what you will hear.
“You can come in. But don’t let those #@%^ cats in here!”
Archie enjoys napping on my desk. I’m sure that he thinks I really don’t need to get to that file folder anytime soon.
That office sofa and chair, nicely decorated with fluffy pillows and furry throws hold no attraction for Amanda and Archie. Sitting in the windows, enjoying the best of the weather, is so, so boring.
But my cats beg to come in the office. What is the attraction?
Simple. They are still kittens. Kittens like to play, and my desk holds endless delights for them.
There is the tangle of wires and cables under the desk. Who wouldn’t want to chew on those and pull so hard that the printer cable disconnects?
Who wouldn’t want to walk on the keyboard, deleting any number of letters from the document displayed on my screen? How about thumping the touch pad to change what is shown on the screen?
The heat emanating from the screen is so pleasant that it makes the space between the screen and the portable keyboard the perfect place to settle in for a snooze.
Amanda doesn’t understand why I prefer typing on the keyboard to rubbing her ears.
And is cat hair good for a keyboard?
If I hear Siri talking, I know that Archie is standing on my cell phone. Did you know that the little circle below the screen on an iPhone is very responsive to the press of a paw?
So the cats are barred from the office. But does it end there?
Gifts are delivered throughout the day for me. Today we have the old slipper, the old sock, and one of several catnip mice on the premises.
Of course not. They sit on the other side of the door and howl, the perfect atmosphere for a writer’s concentration. They leave me presents. Since they are indoor cats, these gifts are not the usual small animal prey from the yard, but a selection of their toys brought from other rooms of the house.
And I do have visitors who ignore my restrictions, and upon entering, say, “There’s somebody here who wants to see you.”
From time to time, the sight of their cute little faces melts my resistance. O.K., I think. I’ll let them in. Every month they get older, and their kitten playfulness has to end one day.
All I have to report is: not yet.