Monday we talked about begging cats and how we facilitate them. Tuesday we explored some of the rituals we share with our cats. What about helping cats—cats who help? Here are some of the chores our two cats engage in with us.
Lily helps me make the bed. She especially likes bed-changing day when the sheets are snapping overhead and floating down onto bed. She likes to dive under them, leaving a lump in the bed as I try to make it. When I’m tucking the sheets in, she claws at the mattress as if she’s helping with that task. Sometimes she lays on the blanket so I can’t spread it out. So my chore is interrupted by a play session. Fun for both of us.
Lily is my kitchen buddy. I’ve already shared secrets of her tendency to beg. Well, she’s a gluttonous girl. She adores food and she knows where food comes from. No, not the growing fields or the grocery store, but the refrigerator and cupboards and she’s always on hand to give a paw in case a morsel of cheese or something else yummy to her tummy falls onto the floor. Yup, she’s the clean-up crew.
If I leave a lower cupboard or drawer open during food preparation, she’s in there immediately examining the innards, as if she’s taking inventory for my next grocery shopping excursion. And speaking of grocery shopping, Lily always—I mean, always—helps put the groceries away when I return from the store. Imagine her with a little checklist making sure I came home with all of the right yummys. Once I’ve emptied a grocery bag, she’s inside it checking to see if I left anything in there.
Lily is my office assistant. She likes hanging out with me in my office. I’ve learned that there are certain things on my desk that Lily does not think belong there and she bats it off my desk just about every day. She sits and watches me work sometimes, keeping me on task, but also enticing me to take breaks. My breaks, in Lily’s world, consist of petting her and playing with her. Sounds reasonable. It’s certainly a calming, relaxing, fun way to spend a few minutes. If I don’t take a break when Lily thinks I should, I feel the paw on my arm or hand. If I keep working, I start to feel a little pokey claw. Okay, it’s time to take a break.
Lily loves to help clean out closets and drawers. This involves interesting things for her to check out, maybe boxes to explore, and eventually a temporarily empty shelf or other space which, of course, she must investigate.
I call her to action when I’ve lost something. I dropped an earring the other night and couldn’t find it. Lily found it for me. She didn’t want to give it back, but she found it.
She’s good at giving me something to do. She leaves fluffs of fur everywhere she goes, not to mention sand from the litter box. It seems that I always have cleaning to do because of Lily and Sophie. I guess that’s the girls’ way of keeping me busy and in shape.
Oh, and both cats know about my fascination for taking bird pictures and they will often point out birds to me. Sophie told me about a flock of cute bush tits the other early evening that had invaded one of my native plants. She and I sat together while I took pictures of them through the window.
Lily’s into cat photography and she lets me know when a neighborhood cat is in the yard.
Yes, cats can be helpful. They even let us know when someone’s coming to our door or when there’s anything unusual going on in our yard—a visiting dog or raccoon, for example. And I still maintain that cats can be every bit as useful as an alarm system as a dog can. For example, if the cat suddenly dives under the bed in the middle of the night, pay attention: there could be a prowler in your yard or coming through a window.