Susie and Delia are no different from me or anyone else in needing some tender loving care–once in a while. And Michael and I are no different in sometimes being too busy to give them some.
And the two of them have devised as many ways to grab our attention as a sports bar has TVs. Knocking things off dressers gets us up out of bed pretty quickly but doesn’t quite get the attention that’s sought. Jumping up on the dinner table–well it depends. Regular weekdays? Now, throw in rolling over on their backs, paws cupped above their heads, stomachs exposed and heads cocked to the side. Don’t you look cute, we coo. And Delia turns to her other side. Or Susie stretches to exposes more of her stomach. Who knew I’d learn to speak “feline” so well.
And apparently, I really have.
Lately, I find myself “talking” to cats other than Delia and Susie. The ones who live on our block.
Because we live in the city, we have lots of “outside” cats who live on our street. Without any concerted effort, my neighbors and I have created a cat commune in an empty lot between two buildings in the middle of the block. Somebody’s fashioned cat condos from old coolers. Somebody else brings daily dishes of dry food. During snow storms, I can’t count how many of us bring cans of cat food.
In fact, two of the outside clowder have taken up residence with two older women from Germany up the block. Two cement window boxes are lined with straw and a front porch is always filled with sunshine. How could any cat resist?
So, when I walk home, I find myself stopping to chat. Schwarz, the black one, lifts his head once in a while. The tabby scraps by my ankles.
At the other end of the street, the school children actually pick up and cuddle another of our resident cats.
On my block, it’s important to understand “feline”.
It’s a language that understands taking time to give each other attention. It’s a language that once learned demands taking time to dispense tender loving care.