(I wrote this dairy over at GOS as part of the care giving series.)
Sometimes as a caregiver you have to learn things. Sometimes you have to be the teacher. My Mom was a dog person. She was use to her old dog Ruffles who did the doggy things like coming when called. She had never really had the experience of being a cat owner or to be more accurate being owned by a cat. Then the unexpected happened and she let a little black cat into the house and Pixie took over her life. As a person who owned cats all her adult life I had the task of trying to teach Mom the fine points of cat behavior. One of the most frequently heard sentences during that time was “Mom she’s a cat.”
Pixie was born an outdoor cat. Being the smart one of the litter she realized that this house that was attached to the shed where she was born was a lot nicer then any old shed. She also realized that this woman who came out and gave her food was the world’s biggest push over. So she pranced into the house and refused to leave. Lesson number one if you feed a cat inside and let her come in and wander around like they own the place don’t be surprised if they end up owning the place. Mom she’s a cat.
Even though Pixie decided she liked the house it didn’t mean that she was done exploring. Open the door and she would zip out and explore. Mom came up in tears one evening before we got her to retire because Pixie had zipped out the door and she couldn’t find her and she would be lost and scared and wild animals would get her, etc. I went downstairs and took the flashlight. I had to gently tell Mom to hush and listened for the bell on the collar. Reaching into the bushes I pulled out the little miscreant and handed her to Mom. Lesson number two bells on collars are useful things when you have a young mischievous cat. Mom she’s a cat.
The house had an old basement. Pixie soon discovered a crawl space she could zip into. It had a lovely echo when she yowled. Mom got panicky when Pixie would zip in there. She was going to get stuck, she was scared and crying, etc. I would explain to Mom that she wasn’t crying because she was scared. She was listening to her voice echo. She was exploring and getting filthy. She was having fun. She would come out when she was good and ready. Mom she’s a cat.
Mom and Dad loved Early American furniture and had pieces that had the scrollwork on the bottom and were low to the ground. Pixie loved exploring underneath them. Mom would get worried that she would get caught underneath and couldn’t get out. I had to explain to Mom that cat’s bones are made of Silly Putty and they can get in and out of spaces that an ant would have trouble with. Mom she’s a cat.
Mom always worried if she couldn’t see Pixie. That wasn’t a bad idea since if she was quiet it usually meant she was into something. Unfortunately Mom seemed to feel that if she called Pixie that she should answer and come like her dog Ruffles would. I had to explain to Mom that cats do not come when called. They come if and when they feel like it, maybe. Mom couldn’t understand why when I called Pixie would check and see what I wanted. It is all in the tone of voice I explained. Usually I was in the middle of something and Pixie learned that the tone of voice that said “get out here now before I swat that cute little butt that was probably doing something you know you shouldn’t be.” Mom she’s a cat.
Mom liked to sleep on her back. Pixie wanted her on her side. I had to explain to Mom that a cat can curl up better when served by a curled human side to nestle against. Everything is about the comfort of the cat. Mom she’s a cat.
After we got Mom to retire I would frequently come home and find her sitting in Dad’s recliner with Pixie on her lap. Mom would beg me to take the cat so she could get something done. She couldn’t understand why Pixie wanted to just sit on her lap or take a nap there. I had to explain that to a cat the lap is sacred. That is their favorite place to be. A cat does not like giving up lap time. It is the most comfortable place for them to be. Mom she’s a cat.
We lost Mom to a fatal heart attack around 3:00 a.m. on May 26, 2010. Pixie was with her. She stayed with her until my brother got home from work around 3:30 p.m. My Mom loved this little cat and Pixie loved her. She would not abandon her until another of her humans came to take over. Mom she was your cat.