04 May 2012

Cat and Man--Henry and Me

Welcome back. As forewarned or promised, depending upon your feelings about felines, I’m going to tell you more about Henry, our son Noah’s evicted, staying-temporarily-with-us cat. Henry and I have fallen into a routine, at least when we’re on our own.

Henry-The-Cat’s Wake-up Call 

I open the basement bedroom door to release Henry by 7:30 AM. He begins his daily brief--how he spent the night, how he’s feeling, issues that need discussion. He continues his chronicle as we proceed to the main floor, where, after stops at the scratch pad and water bowl, he explains impatiently why I must entertain him.
 
Henry waiting in a paper bag for the shoelace to move.
First, however, I brush him in a hopeless attempt to reduce the loose fur. After a few minutes, I tire of following him around the floor on my knees. He takes another water break, and it’s playtime. 
 
If I don’t select the day’s entertainment, he will. He’ll drop a puff ball in front of me, sit, watch and wait. If I don’t respond, he’ll return to his stash, grab, say, a string tied to a stick, drag it to my feet, sit, watch and wait. If I still don’t respond, he’ll just keep trying. 
 
Henry selecting the moment’s entertainment.
Chasing a string, Henry can do a back flip, forgetting that he’s no longer a kitten. 

Henry-The-Cat and Wildlife

A fall photo of the wooded area behind
Warren’s house and the rear deck stairs.
For our first two months together, after a short playtime, I would scatter black-oil sunflower seeds on the rear deck, near the sliding glass door. The colony of squirrels that dwells in the trees behind our house posts sentries. Soon after the seeds hit the deck, one or more squirrels would scamper across the open grass area, up the deck stairs to feast. 

Henry interested in and bored
with squirrels on the rear deck.
With the arrival of Henry’s targets of stalking and slamming against the glass door, I would depart for the upstairs computer. By the third month, I stopped the daily seeding. Henry had reached squirrel overload. If I seed now, he'll still watch the squirrels or birds, particularly the red cardinals, but only watch, rarely attack. 

Oh, get this! Before I stopped seeding, I came downstairs once to find Henry communicating with a fox! This was late morning and, don’t forget, the deck is on the second story of our house.

I figure the fox had sought a squirrel brunch and was dazzled by Henry. Henry gets along with dogs; what does he know from foxes? I shouted instead of grabbing a camera, and the fox scrambled away. (I checked the phone number of Animal Control, but didn’t call. The fox looked and acted very healthy.)

Henry-The-Cat on His Own

Henry carries Noah’s
Halloween wig from
the basement.
To amuse himself or prepare for my return, Henry often lays out puff balls or string or sometimes Noah’s Halloween platinum blonde wig from the basement. I once timed it perfectly to see Henry coming from the basement, carrying the wig, looking much like a feline Santa.
Henry’s lap-time.

Henry-The-Cat’s Evenings
  
Late afternoon and early evening, before and after I dine, Henry advises me that I should sit and read or watch the news, so he can hop up and relax in my lap. My role is to pet him until he naps or shifts into self-cleaning mode.

Launch Central: The radio (gray) 
between plants on the 
room divider behind the chair.
On my lap one evening, Henry opened his eyes much too wide--always a warning sign. Some manner of bug was exploring the ceiling or wall behind me. After I refused to let Henry climb over me to inspect the bug, Henry dropped to the floor and leaped onto a radio on a room divider behind me. 

As I faced forward in the chair, the bug flew over my head. Henry followed, jumping from the radio onto the top of my head, where he prepared to launch himself into space after the bug. Finding the launching pad a bit too slippery (unrelated to balding), he extended his claws, gripping tightly for the microseconds it took my cranial nerve endings to scream and my hands to reach, grab and toss him to the floor.

“Whoops!” Henry was so apologetic. 

Henry-the-cat.

Wrap Up

Although demanding, irrepressible Henry is smart, amusing and always surprising. I won’t mind visiting him after Noah retrieves him. If only it were today.

Thanks for stopping by. I’ll show you Henry's wall on Tuesday.

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