I have probably mentioned once or a hundred times how amused I am by our animals. Whether it is the calves frolicking in the field, or the pigs piling up to sleep, or the chickens rubbing on my legs waiting for me to pet them, they make me laugh.
Often, it is my dog, who likes to sleep on his back – literally poised on his spine with all four legs in the air – who makes me smile. More often (by force of number, I imagine) it is my cats who cause the mirth. They leap and fly through the air, they curl into the strangest positions, and they peek out from the depths of any cardboard box they can fit into. And I mean any box. Once, my eldest cat, Simon, pushed himself into a box so small that when it tipped over, he needed help getting his paws back out.
Recently, it has been the half inside-half outside cat, Tom, who has been the source of amusement. He has always been welcome in the house for visits, but it took him some time to venture past the back door. I’m sure this is, in part, because the other cats don’t like him. They sit and growl or hiss at him, and occasionally, one will swat him with a paw.
I know that Tom could kick the hiney of any cat in this house. They have lived an entirely pampered life, while he has largely fended for himself over the past decade. However, he has never tried to fight back against any one of the housecats. He seems to have decided to take their rejection as long as he gets to be indoors.
I often find him upstairs, UNDER THE COVERS of my bed. That cracks me up, but even more than that, if you plop down on the bed beside him, he will immediately reposition himself to spoon with you. It’s hilarious.
Tom still spends some nights outside, at his whim. But I don’t always look for him in the barn in the mornings now, because I can’t always remember where he spends his time.
So, the other morning, I was preparing to leave for work, and I was taking a truckload of straw with me. I walked out to the barn, hopped into the truck and fired it up. I pulled out onto the driveway and was headed down past the garage when I noticed my husband was outside, waving his arms.
“Tom is on the straw,” he called.
Sure enough, the cat was curled up, still sleeping, on top of my load of straw. I called his name, and he lifted his head and began to purr, but didn’t move other than that. I crawled up onto the roof of the truck and said his name again. Nothing but a twitch of his tail in response.
I began to climb the load of straw to get to him. When I reached him, he raised his head again and meowed.
“Yeah, I hear you,” I said with a laugh, “but I’ve got to go to work.”
I carried him down as gracefully as I could (read: not very) and set him on the sidewalk. As I climbed back into the driver’s seat, I heard my husband call Tom’s name and watched the cat bound up the sidewalk and disappear into the house. I’m sure he ate and then went straight to my bedroom.
He had a nap to finish, you know.
Laura Zoeller can be reached at email@example.com.