They don't much care for me, the cats who live in this house. They tolerate my presence, certainly, and only one of them hisses at me on a regular basis. I consider this to be a fairly positive thing, especially since not too long ago my sister and brother-in-law's cat, Oscar, suddenly turned on me. I'm not doing so well in the "making friends with felines" arena.
I have a theory they've heard, through the kitty grapevine, that I'm a traitor. I willingly, even intentionally, sent my own much beloved baby, Kenya, to live for a time with my parents. This is nearly unthinkable, but at this point in my life, also unavoidable. Kenya is living like a queen, truth be told. My mother dotes on cats - has her own, in fact - but somehow seems to still find time to play and stroke and fawn over my darling so much that I begin to wonder if she'll even want to return home to me.
Doesn't matter. Word still got out and kitties aren't so enamored with me as they once were. I'm convinced this betrayal of mine is the reason. Why else? Cats always, always loved me. My whole life.
Well, then yesterday while I wasn't paying any attention, Cinnamon made a plan without consulting me first. My morning routine during the past couple of weeks includes a ten o'clock beading fest strategically timed to allow me to watch Ellen's show. I am completely in love with Ellen and her show; she's incredibly funny and her positive outlook is infectious, not to mention she's so clearly kind and generous and does these just-plain-nice things for people. So I watch her show. And I'd put the pillow into my lap after sitting in a comfy chair, and was about to start stringing beads. Before I could even gather those beads up to resume the necklace I had begun the night before, Cinnamon had jumped up into my lap, halfway on me, halfway on the pillow, turned around a few times, then purringly settled into my work space. What to do? I can't disturb a purring, snuggling cat. It's in Cat Lovers 101: The Definitive Guide to Sharing Space with a Feline. Okay, I made that up. But it would be in there if such a book existed. (Actually, such a book could most certainly exist already, I might even wager it's likely!) It's the rule, though; you can't disturb a sleeping cat and hold your head up high. Unless they deserve it, of course. But it's almost always the rule.
My leg had not fallen asleep and I was basking, instead, in the glow of she-who-has-missed-kitty-luvin-for-far-too-long and is now receiving the nectar.
It lasted for, oh, perhaps 15 minutes, this glorious thrill of petting and purring. We even received a jealous visit by Mystic, "the baby" who frequently hisses at me if I pet her more than three strokes at a time. She was mortified. It was written all over her face. "Somebody's getting attention and it's not me. How could it be? Who is this woman? I thought we had a united front!!!" And so on. Her look conveyed much. Then she ran away, her evident disgust intermingled with anguish.
Then the 15 minutes were over. I knew this because Cinnamon started to slide. She jerked her eyes open, put out a tentative paw. I gently cupped her shoulder so she wouldn't slide any further. She twitched. Hmmm. So far so good. I increased the pressure. She was still sliding. Quick as the fastest flash you ever saw, she nipped my hand with her teeth, bounded away and was gone with a sniff. I'd barely had time to pull my hand away after the bite.
I avoided her throughout the day. That cat is dangerous. Deceptively so.
Then hours later when I should have been in bed asleep, I was forcing my eyes open to catch the end of some edge-of-my-seat criminal investigation show on TV, lounging on the sofa (I swear that contrary to appearances I actually had a pretty physically demanding day in between these cuddle-fest-couch-potato moments, really!) when not one but two kitties settled on and between my blanket-covered legs. Hmmmmm! Look at that! Together. They're cuddling with MEEEE! They love me! I shifted a bit. They'd not asked my permission, after all. Surely I could move just a smidge. Two sets of eyes turned my way. "Do you want us to stay here? Really? Because, Missy, seems to us we could be anywhere in this big old house. It's you who's missing the kittyluv, not us!" I felt it in their eyes. And I knew they were still not my friends. Not really. They'd turn on me the second I did something wrong.
Ten minutes later my legs had that burning, tingling sensation known to all cat people. I wasn't allowed to move. It's the rule.
Wait a minute. I can make the rules here, too. They're not MY baby kitty. I can do what I want. Comfort is allowed. And I moved. Both my legs at once! How dare I? They were off. Running in a parallel stream into their mommy's room. Where she knows the rules. And it's dark in there too.
It may be weeks, even months before I get this pleasure again. But it was worth it.