Saturday, June 7, 2008

Taking care of the Daddy

Saturday was one of LT’s favorite days, because that was one of the days that bacon was most likely to happen, and bacon was one of LT’s favorite things. Some days, he thought that bacon was even better than a good fresh mouse. So, when LT woke up on Saturday, he padded into the house, sniffing expectantly. No bacon yet. That was okay, often the bacon wasn’t cooked until later in the morning.

LT settled down outside on the deck, watching for intruders. Miss Rudy came walking out of the trees and greeted him with a hearty meow. “How are you on the beautiful morning, LT?” Miss Rudy asked. Look at the clear sky, and hear all the little critters rustling around in last year’s leaves. Oh, I can have a great outdoors breakfast today!”

“I’m thinking about bacon, myself,” said LT. “It’s a maybe bacon day.”

“LT, it’s the Mommy that makes the bacon, not the Daddy,” Rudy reminded him. “I don’t think we’ll see bacon today.”

“Darn, you’re probably right,” LT grumped. I’m going to be glad when she gets home.

When the Daddy got up a little bit later, he made himself a pot of coffee, which although it smelled good, LT knew from experience would taste terrible, and even burn his nose if it was fresh. Daddy filled LT’s food dish and placed it on the table. “Well, at least we still have that routine, even if there’s no bacon,” thought LT.

The Daddy looked sad this morning. He read his book, which was lying on the table, munched some toast and drank his coffee for a few minutes, occasionally reaching out to rub LT’s head. “Well, old man, it’s just us today,” said the Daddy. “We’re on our own, and unless I get any calls to go to work, I’m just going to have a quiet day around the house. I think I’ll wash some clothes, read my books and maybe take a nap.”

LT sat with the Daddy until he got up, trying to purr as reassuringly as he could. He saw that the Daddy needed some comfort today, and decided that he, Peep and Miss Rudy should be the ones to provide it.

As soon as the Daddy got up, LT streaked into the living room and asked Peep if she had heard what the Daddy had said. “Yeah,” Peep said. “He sounds pretty sad. I was glad you were sitting in there with him, and I could hear you purring all the way out here! Why don’t you go tell Rudy that we need to have a Daddy day, and we’ll take turns sitting with him, or in my case, on him. He likes it so much when I sit on him….”

“Humph,” said LT. “You mean you like it, but he does seem to enjoy stroking your fur when he’s lying on the couch and you’re on his chest. I think we may even need to do an all-cat blitz later.”

Peep’s eyes widened. “My cat mommy told me that all-cat blitzes where only for when there was an emergency cats needed to tell the people about. Why would we want to do that – it’s noisy!”

“I was thinking of more of a quiet blitz, where we all sit with him or near him at the same time and purr. We’d be telling him something, but instead of telling him there was something like a mad raccoon or a fire, we’d be telling him that we love him.”

“Oh, LT, that’s so sweet – you’re an old softie,” Peep said as she rubbed herself along LT’s length.

LT orchestrated a day where the Daddy was never without at least one cat, unless he was in his radio room. Miss Rudy followed him when he did laundry, patiently sitting outside while he loaded the washer or dryer, and carefully getting out of his way if he came out holding a load of clothes. As the clothes began to pile up on the table, waiting to be folded, Miss Rudy made a nest of them, sniffing them appreciatively. “I like this detergent. A nice springy smell, but not too strong,” she sang as LT followed the Daddy from the computer room into the living room.

When the Daddy made the bed, Peep burrowed under a newly laid sheet and wiggled her hindquarters high while crouching her head low, presenting a humorous site, particularly since the end of her tail was just out from under the top edge of the sheet. The Daddy laughed, and gave her a little swat on the rump. She turned and made as though she were attacking the hand through the sheet, and he played along, poking his hand down where she could catch at it. He then bundled her up in the sheet, trapping her and cried, “Aha, I’ve caught you now!” and rubbed her all over for a moment before releasing her. She emerged from the sheet with her fur going in all directions and a look of complete surprise on her face. They hadn’t played like that in a long time, and Peep loved it. She purred and wreathed herself around the Daddy’s outstretched hand. He gently picked her up and put her on the floor, saying, “Peep, I really do want to make the bed with clean sheets. We’ll all like it better that way.” So, Peep let him finish his work, watching him from the floor.

Late in the afternoon, the Daddy lay down on the couch and turned on the television. Miss Rudy jumped up and settled on the back of the couch, and LT jumped up onto the trunk. Peep came in and settled on his chest and purred as loud as she could, even when he wasn’t stroking her. The Daddy soon dropped off into sleep but the cats stayed with him until he awoke, aside from a bathroom break or two.

The Daddy spent some time in his radio room during the evening, and LT took that duty, sitting outside where he could see the door and still keep a watch on the yard. That way he could protect the yard and watch the Daddy. It was an efficient use of time, and LT liked being efficient.

And when it was time for bed, the Daddy found himself with three cats for company. Miss Rudy snuggled onto the Mommy’s pillow, Peep settled onto his chest, and LT sat on the floor near the door. “I don’t know what’s up with you three, but you’ve been good company today. It’s almost like you want to make sure that I’m not missing Mary Rose too much,” said the Daddy.

The cats all just smiled. It had worked.

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