When we hosted Jordan, one of the cats from the shelter, during the storm-that-wasn’t a couple of weekends ago, it occurred to me how territorial my cats are, especially given the tight confines of a one-bedroom apartment. They have clearly staked out their favored spaces and, being creatures of habit, they don’t stray much from those spots.
The cat of longest standing in this household is Raven. She is an unapologetic diva, the Queen of the Bed, who spends all day on top of or under the blankets in my bedroom. Making the bed with Raven is always fun. At one point I used to have a bunch of throw pillows neatly assembled against my headboard but Raven made it a point to toss them all around, even though some of them were probably bigger than she is. (She is on the petite side.) She does deign to allow the dogs and me to sleep there at night, but we have to put up with her walking all over us until she finds her perfect sleep position. She also wanders around on my night table and knocks stuff off, which causes Munchie to bark and me to have to get down on my hands and knees in the morning to find what fell under the bed. Nighttime is an adventure with Raven, but occasionally she will just settle in for a cuddle, and all is right in Raven’s world. She is the boss of us.
Luna is my desk cat. She lies on top of my work papers and my desk calendar and the mini-notebook where I write down my spending as if they are comfortable little pillows, and she never gets angry when I gently remove whatever it is I need at the moment from underneath her. The real bonus to having a desk cat is the ability to reach over at any time and give her a tickle on her chest and tummy, which are incredibly soft, like angora fur. Sometimes she’ll grab my hand in her paws and pull it toward her, hugging it, careful not to extend her claws. However, she is also a kneader, which IS painful because she DOES use her claws. Most of her kneading takes place on the couch or occasionally the bed, if Raven is feeling generous and lets her on there. I have to inch away or bunch my clothes or the blankets under her reflexive retracting fingers to avoid the pinches. But she doesn’t care; she’s just expressing her extreme happiness. Who am I to deny her?
Newest arrival Mimi has at least three favorite spots, all in the living room, not including under the couch where she vanishes every once in a while, perhaps when she needs a moment of peace in what can sometimes be a chaotic household (although more often than not, on a typical weekday, I’m at the computer working and/or reading, the radio is tuned to Carmel Holt on WFUV, and everybody is peacefully asleep). She likes to lie on the big standing boxes that hold my framed pictures (which I never unpacked but just leaned up against the wall under the window in the living room) so she can get the benefit of the breeze and keep an eye on the birds. She also enjoys draping herself over the back of the chair, which doesn’t look all that comfortable but she doesn’t seem to mind. In fact, that seems to be her prime “yelling at Mommy” position when it’s time for breakfast or cookies. Her absolute favorite spot, though, is on top of the back of the couch. If I sit in front of her, she has to touch me, maybe just to let me know she’s got my back. Mimi is a great cat. I’m so happy I took her home so she’s able to live out her golden years in utter contentment. Clearly, she relishes her role as the guardian of the living room.
Last but not least, there’s my soul cat, Savannah. Savannah is the bathroom cat. She spends most of her day in the bathroom doorway or curled up on a box just outside the door so she will be sure to see me any time I head in that direction. She always has to be in there with me; she is the leader and only permanent member of the bathroom entourage, making sure I never relieve myself alone. And if I accidentally close the door before she notices I’ve gone in, she busts her way through or, if it’s latched, scratches and jiggles the doorknob until I let her in. She’s been known to hang out in the sink, especially in the summer, when the porcelain is cool. When I brush my teeth, she stands on the toilet and reaches out to me – “Give me some pets, please! Rub my face!” – and how I can resist? I cannot. She often presents her enormous belly for stroking, a position that isn’t limited to the bathroom. She is like velvet, more plush than even the most expensive stuffed animal. She is the cat I share my most intimate moments with, the only living thing that has recently seen me naked!
So even in a little space like this apartment, the girls have all staked out their personal private areas, but one thing is clear: They all like to be near ME. They don’t pay much attention to each other, or the dogs, but they sure do love me. And the feeling is definitely mutual.
P.S. Let’s not forget Jojo, Raven’s sister, who is down in Morgantown with Darian, keeping her company and being her “emotional support animal” while she’s away at school. (I read an article recently in the ABA Journal, of all places, about college kids needing “emotional support animals”, so evidently it’s a thing.) I’m grateful for Jojo, who has always been Darian’s cat, living almost exclusively in her room when she wasn’t trying to escape for outdoor adventures or sitting on top of the kitchen cabinets. Darian actually brought her to the vet today because she’s had a little cough, which might be asthma or might be allergies. In general, the vet was surprised that she was nearly 12 years old because she’s so healthy and presents much younger. Good old Jojo, giving my kid comfort far away from home for years to come!