Several years ago, local author Niki Anderson wrote a best-seller titled “What My Cat Has Taught Me About Life.” I thought about that title as our own kitty, Milo, recently celebrated his first year of owning us.
We had set out to adopt an older female feline, so I wouldn’t be the only girl at home. We ended up with another hyperactive baby boy. Go figure.
Milo had been a perfect fit for our family, but we’re not sure if he knows he’s a cat. In fact, he often acts more like a dog. He runs to the front door to greet all arrivals (providing he isn’t napping, of course).
When bored he’ll bring his current favorite toy to wherever the family has congregated, and one of his well-trained humans will drop whatever they are doing to play with him.
He uses his nose like a bloodhound – loudly sniffing and snuffling while following whatever scent intrigues him. And he enjoys a good belly rub.
However, now that he’s outgrown his kittenhood, he’s exhibiting more catlike behavior, and indeed I’ve learned some things from Milo. Here are just a few:
• It’s OK to go a little crazy and bounce off the furniture late at night.
• You don’t have to like canned tuna.
• When you find a patch of sunlight, stretch out and bask in it.
• It feels nice when someone brushes your hair/fur.
• If you are hungry or thirsty, complain loudly and your bowls will be filled.
• It’s fun to lurk behind corners and pounce on people.
• Sometimes baring your teeth and hissing is the only correct response.
• When you need affection you get better results sitting on someone’s lap than you do rubbing against their ankles.
• You are never too old for hide and seek.
• If you need help doing your job (like killing spiders on the ceiling) it’s OK to accept assistance.
• Yawning and walking away is a great way to get your message across.
• A favorite toy is more fun when you share it.
• In the middle of the night, the top of the stairs is not the best place to sleep.
• Dignity is important. If you miss your landing while leaping from the couch to the windowsill, just walk away and pretend that you weren’t really that interested in looking out the window, anyway.
• Sometimes just being with the people you love is enough. You don’t have to say a word.
• Everyone needs some solitude, and if you have to hide under the furniture to get it, that’s OK.
• Teenagers shouldn’t sleep all day. Sit outside their doors and make noise until they get up.
• It may be the 21st century, but playing hard to get still garners lots of attention.
• If you can’t clean up your mess, at least cover it up.
• Sometimes the best response to confrontation is to hold your head (or your tail) high and just walk away.
• Spending hours on personal grooming doesn’t mean you’re narcissistic; it just means you like to look your best.
• Purring is a great way to express emotion.
As I write this, Milo naps on the floor under my desk. Every now and then he flops a paw proprietarily across my foot. A warm breeze from an open window tickles my shoulders, and I turn to see an arc of light streaming across the back of the sofa.
I’d write more, but that patch of sunlight is calling my name. A little basking is in order. I think Milo would say I’ve learned my lesson well.