23 November 2012

Vacuuming with Cats

Welcome back. In a recent post on this blog, I reported that my wife takes the lead on fix-it chores in our household. If, instead of cheering “Go, Girl!” you bemoan the lot of the harried wife who, even in this modern age, must still do it all, please search for my older blog posts on laundry and food shopping. You’ll learn that I handle those chores. In fact, in my very first post, I mentioned that I also do the cleaning.

This accounting isn’t to seek acclaim or refocus the target of your bemoaning; it’s only so I may get to vacuuming, which I’ve never discussed.

Wait! You’re reaching for paper and pen or pencil, leaning forward, preparing to take notes about the ins and outs as well as the arounds and unders of vacuuming. No need. This post is really about cats. It’s just that when I vacuum I think about cats.

Vacuuming with Lassie

I know I’ve boasted too often about Lassie-the-cat’s intelligence. Allow me one quickie.

The first time I approached Lassie with a vacuum cleaner pushing decibels she started to panic. Holding up my hand, I shouted over the noise, “Stay! You’re ok.” From that moment on, she never panicked. If I told her she had to move, she did.

Vacuuming with Lassie and Rex

When Rex-the-phantom-cat joined us, there was little affect on my vacuuming. No matter what Lassie did, the moment Rex heard me carrying the vacuum, whether or not it was turned on, she was gone.

Oh I would be a little careful vacuuming where I couldn’t see, but we rarely discovered Rex’s hiding places. Those we did find were inaccessible by vacuum. For example, she would squeeze far under a sofa.

Vacuuming with Lassie, Rex and Boss

When Boss, the cat of lesser intelligence, joined Lassie and Rex, vacuuming became a challenge. One never knew what Boss would do at any time, much less when the vacuum cleaner was operating.

Lassie’s demeanor wouldn’t calm Boss. Lassie would watch her, thinking, There she goes again. Hiding with Rex was forbidden by Rex; besides staying in one place, however safe, wouldn’t suffice.

So I would vacuum carefully, expecting the worst. As I advanced from room to room to stairs to another floor, I would repeatedly glimpse Boss speeding elsewhere.

Oh, no! I’m so sorry, Boss.
Vacuuming with Boss and Henry

When our son’s cat, Henry, came to haunt us for a year, Boss was the only resident pet. Because Henry was intrigued by Boss, as he would be by a mouse or catnip, the cats had to be kept separate. That was accomplished while vacuuming by closing Henry in the basement.

Having been coached by our son, Henry enjoyed vacuuming the basement with me. He was neither afraid nor a problem, though he was adept at being everywhere. Turn around, he was on a table. Turn around again, and he was sitting in front of me.

Wrap Up

And now it’s just Boss. I hesitate to say she’s gotten smarter, yet she is taking advantage of the entire house when I vacuum. If I’m on one floor, she’ll escape to another. Of course any frightened cat would do that, but learning to do that was a major achievement for Boss.

Thanks for stopping by while I vacuum.


Photos that have appeared on this blog are available as prints or greeting cards at the Retired--Now What? Etsy website (http://www.etsy.com/shop/retirednowwhat). There’s end of the year free shipping within the U.S. if you use the code “FREEShip2012.”

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