Friday, January 6, 2012

Cats, unfortunately, do not hibernate

The older Rudy got, the more she wished that cats hibernated in the winter they way bears do.  The cold was rough on her old bones, particularly her back legs where Grey had stepped on her a few years ago.  She'd wake up achy, ache throughout the day and sleep sporadically as she tried to find a comfortable position. 

If only she were a bear.  She could spend the whole fall eating everything in sight without worrying about her svelte figure, crawl into a snug little den and sleep away the winter, waking up as the weather started to warm up.  Rudy even had her den picked out.  There was a shelf at the top of the closet in the big bedroom where the Mommy stored unused blankets.  It would be absolutely perfect.  She'd rearrange them so they were soft underneath and pretty much blocked the light while letting in fresh air.  Then she'd snuggle in and *poof* it would be spring. 

She sighed.  She wasn't a bear.  She didn't hibernate, and no amount of wishing would make it so.  She did tend to sleep more in the winter, especially if the Daddy was working a lot.  When people were home she felt obliged to keep to her post in the kitchen where she could monitor the comings and goings of the human and feline population.  Any sign of Fuzzy, and she'd sound the alarm, hissing and meowing at full volume.  She didn’t mind that the Daddy fed Fuzzy outside, but he was not supposed to come in and eat her food too.  It was bad enough that Daddy fed him and Loaf Cat her special cat treats, but she wasn't going to let him eat her delicious squishy food. 

Rudy also kept an eye out for burglars.  You never know when someone might break into the house and try to steal her cat toys, or even perhaps some of the humans' stuff.  She wouldn't much mind if they took things like books or papers, but she'd fight someone who tried to take the computer or the television.  She used those things and enjoyed them.   Sometimes she'd fantasize about what she'd do if a burglar came in.  She'd hiss and spit and meow really loud to let the other cats know there was a problem and then she'd wait until the burglar wasn't looking and then nail him in the back of the knees with both front paws, claws fully extended.  She didn't think any burglar could withstand that.  He'd go running from the house in pain and fear from fearless Rudy.  She sighed as she thought what might happen if the burglar didn't run away.  He might try to hurt Rudy - kick her, or even shoot her if he was the kind of burglar who carried a gun.  Realistically, Rudy thought she'd probably head under the bed if someone mean came in the house, but it was nice to imagine herself being a very brave cat. 

She looked at the calendar from where she lay.  January.  Early January.  More than three months until the first day of spring, and that wasn't guaranteed to be anything like warm.  The Daddy and Mommy had talked a few times about one year when it snowed all the way into May, and snowdrifts were as high as the doors on the cars.  Well, maybe she couldn't hibernate, but at least she could take a little nap now, and then after she woke up and had a little snack she could nap some more.  It was the next best thing to hibernation. 

Sunday, January 1, 2012

A New Year's resolution

The yarn lady went to bed early on New Year’s Eve.  She wasn’t feeling too great and decided to make an early night of it.  That was good for Clem because she wanted to check her email to see if she’d received any more responses on New Year’s resolutions.  She was hoping to get something from Rudy who’d said she would ask for suggestions from the Cat Club when they met on Friday night. 

So far she’d heard from Tatum and Ursula, Runa and Emma’s crew.  Ursula said to resolve to eat as much as you can whenever you can and to nap frequently.  That didn’t sound like what Clem knew of resolutions.  They were supposed to be things that made you a better being.  Although she supposed if she ate and slept a lot she’d be a happy cat, and therefore might be even nicer than she already was.  It still didn’t seem quite right.  Tatum said he was going to resolve to love his beloved Daddy even more and become a snugglier cat. 

Runa said dogs don’t make resolutions, as they were already perfect, especially pedigreed German Shepherds.  Clem didn’t think that applied to her at all.  She wasn’t a dog, she had no pedigree, and she knew she wasn’t perfect.  Purrfect, maybe, but not perfect.  She doubted that Runa was perfect either, but since Clem had never met her she’d give Runa the benefit of the doubt. 

Emma said that Buddy laughed at her when she asked him, so that probably meant he wasn’t planning to make a resolution.  Kid said she was resolving to keep in touch with Lemuel.  She’d heard from him a couple times through various animals, and didn’t want to lose her friendship with him, even if he was way down south.  Emma said she hadn’t decided on one yet.  She’d never considered making one before, and thought that she was a pretty nice cat, although there was always room for improvement.  Ziggy resolved to be friendly to Samma, even when she was annoying.  Samma was Val’s mother’s dog.  They’d moved in with Val recently, and both Samma and Val’s mom were still getting used to living in a new place, so they needed a little extra attention.  Bella told Emma that she resolved to stick to her diet.  She was proud that she’d lost so much weight, and wanted to lose even more.  She never wanted to be as skinny as she was when she was at the puppy mill, but she wouldn’t mind looking more like a Chihuahua and less like a corgi with a pointy face. 

Clem logged in to her email account and saw an email from Rudy.  She opened it and saw it was a really long one.  Wow, so many suggestions!  The Cat Club had decided to make a joint resolution to reach out to other cats in the area.  They knew there were more around, but hadn’t made any effort to contact them.  That was interesting, but didn’t help Clem.  She was both too far away to ever get to a meeting, and wasn’t allowed outside in any case. 

The guy cats weren’t sharing their resolutions if they had decided to make them.  Rudy said in her opinion that most males don’t talk about that kind of stuff in groups.  Even if they make resolutions or promises or whatever, they don’t want to seem soft and therefore just keep their mouths shut.  Peep had predictably (according to Rudy) resolved to find new ways to help the Mommy and Daddy around the house.  Clem laughed when she read that.  She’d heard about a number of Peep’s schemes for helping out.  Hopefully these new ideas would not involve ending up with bigger messes.  Ladybug resolved to catch more mice.  She said that their house was kind of old, and mice were coming in this winter, and their human was seriously skeeved by the mice.  Bunny resolved to listen more carefully when people were talking to her.  That one made Clem feel a little sad, because it wasn’t Bunny’s fault that she couldn’t always hear what was being said.  She was getting a bit deaf.  However, it could only help if she tried to listen better.  Greymalkin resolved to be a mellower cat.  Rudy’s comment on that was “Thank the Great Cat!”  Rudy felt that Greymalkin was a bit of a control freak, and said that she needed to take a chill pill.  Well, only time would tell on that one.  Rudy said that she herself resolved to protect the Mommy from bees, wasps and any other stinging creatures that came into their yard.  She said that everyone helped with that, but she was going to make an extra special effort this year to either kill the critters or let the Daddy know there were nests.  The Mommy’s sting allergies kept getting worse, and Rudy didn’t want anything bad to happen to the Mommy.

Clem looked at all of these resolutions and ideas, and then thought about her life with the yarn lady.  Recently the yarn lady had been sad because of a kitten named Hadley that had gotten stepped on by a repairman.  She only knew the kitten and his human because of an internet friendship, but she was still sad because she’d seen his picture and heard the stories about how he’d come to live with Elyse and Aiden (senior cat of the household).  Clem looked at the emails again, and sat thinking and watching the clock.  It was getting closer to midnight, and she knew she needed to decide soon if she was going to make her resolution by midnight.  As the minutes ticked by Clem thought about Hadley and how sad and worried Elyse was and how it would be horrible for the yarn lady if anything happened to Clem. 

Clem watched the clock and exactly midnight she announced to the empty room that she resolved to be a safe and careful kitten this year.  Having done that, she climbed into the yarn lady’s bed, snuggled next to her and said very softly so as not to wake her, “Happy New Year”.