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The Forgiving Felines (The Cats, Part 4)

Pet ownership has brought with it some surprising adventures. One unexpected adventure has been the opportunity to explore the concept of forgiveness in cats.

Cats are, notoriously, underfoot. This truism is especially so when they’re being fed. It was probably only about two weeks before I first accidentally kicked Kiwi while trying to prepare their food in the morning.

I was devastated. I felt so bad. I knelt down and apologized to her. She had been so skittish when we first got her, and now that she was out of her shell, here I was kicking her. Granted, she threw her body right in front of my foot as I was walking, but I didn’t expect her to understand that. I rubbed her head and told her she was a good kitty and that I was sorry.

Surprisingly (to me), she didn’t care that I had just kicked her. She was mostly just interested in the food I was preparing to feed her.

These days I trip over the cats all the time. They don’t seem to care, and so I don’t either. So long as they’re not actually hurt, I’m fine.

We also draw a firm line at not letting the cats in the bedrooms. My wife is mildly allergic to cats, which is convenient in that we are on the same page regarding this policy, but even if that were not the case I would never permit animals in the bedroom. However, our cats seem to believe that they are the feline reincarnations of Ferdinand Magellan or Hernando de Soto, because every closed door is a challenge to them. And our bedroom most of all, since they see us going in and out and it absolutely kills them when we’re in and they’re out.

Consequently, it’s not entirely uncommon to open up the door and have a cat attempt to rush inside. Each of our cats have been inside a few times, though not for very long. I’ve perfected a method of exiting the door where I use my legs to prevent cat entry. My wife has yet to master this technique, so I’m occasionally called upon to extract a cat from the bedroom.

A few afternoons ago, the unstoppable force of my foot met the evidently very movable object of Gillie’s face, as he attempted to rush his way in and I attempted to stop him. He seemed quite taken aback, and ran down the stairs.

I knew I hadn’t gotten him hard enough to cause damage, so I just let him have the time that he needed. After a while, he came back upstairs and meowed at me, and I pet him and told him he was a good kitty. All was well.

Domestic cats inhabit a world that must seem incredibly strange to them. I’ve read a few articles suggesting that cats just see humans as big, weird cats, but if that’s the case then it must be utterly baffling to them when we get in a car and drive away or shove them in a cat carrier and take them to the vet, things that cats are not known for their ability or propensity to do. But regardless of how they see us, and despite the fact that we are constantly telling them no, they can’t do whatever thing they’re currently doing (usually involving claws and furniture or trying to sneak in someplace they’re not allowed), they still seem to enjoy having us around. I find this fascinating.

Maybe it’s just because we feed them.


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