Newsday Tuesday – Rituals We Share With Our Cats

Do you have special moments you share with your cat? Are there little habits or routines you and your cat engage in? If you’re like most humans with cats, you have a list of them. One that most of us can relate to is the wake-up call, right? Does your cat wake you up at about the same time each morning—whether you want to get up or not? I guess if you typically feed your cat in the morning, she’s more likely to make sure you’re up to do so. I suppose some cats are simply bored by morning and want a little company.

How does your cat wake you? Lily sits on my pillow and mews quietly a few times. If I don’t respond, she starts playing with the cords on the window blinds. These are wooden blinds and they clunk against the window when disturbed. Yes, it gets my attention and Lily knows it. But if I still don’t get up, along comes Sophie who starts biting my hair and pulling it. Ouch! Then she’ll dig at the covers and try to snake her way underneath. Actually, if I say, “NO!” the girls will usually lay off for several minutes. But they always come back, so I always get up.

And there are fun rituals or routines the cats and I engage in. I drink my coffee with a straw. When Lily sees me pluck a straw from the container in the mornings, she excitedly follows me into my office and waits. She waits for me to pull out the scissors and snip an inch and a half or so piece off the straw and flick that end piece in her direction. She loves to try to catch it in mid air, then she bats it around and chases it. After a few moments, she sits and looks up at me, meaning “flick it again.” So I do. It’s playtime for her and it puts a smile on my face.

About once a week or so, when the girls appear to be bored, I’ll decide to give them a catnip treat. And always, on those days, when I walk into the kitchen and open the freezer door, they start getting excited. Lily will follow me and dance around my feet. Sophie waits with eager eyes at the cat tree. How do they know that I’m getting catnip and not ice for my water or something else? How?

So I sprinkle a little catnip on the cat tree and around their scratching bed thingy and they go into another dimension. How do they know I’m getting catnip? I believe they tune into my mind pictures. Yes, I have clairvoyant cats. Does anyone else?

The sound of crumpling paper will bring Lily from the far corners of the house because she loves chasing and leaping for wads of paper. That’s another activity we enjoy fairly often.

And of course, there’s Lily’s fascination for carrying things in her mouth. She decorates the house with her growing array of tiny stuffed toys. (I just bought a little stuffed otter for her collection at a sea center last week.) I put her toys away on cleaning day and within a few hours, several of them are scattered across the floor again. I love it when she brings one of her favorite toys to me and drops it at my feet with a little “Prrrrt?” I don’t know if she’s saying, “Here’s a sweet token of my over-the-top love for you, Mommy,” “Here, you watch my kid,” or “I’m large and in charge and I can put my toys anywhere I want and I don’t want them in that dumb basket.”

What does your cat say to you?

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