I have three cats who are teaching me about life and parenting. My oldest cat, Lizzie, likes to be picked up. She’ll come up to me in the kitchen or the bathroom and look up at me, waiting. I’ll pick her up and tell her how beautiful she is and how much she is loved. She tells me how smart I am.
My middle cat, Jessie, does NOT like to be picked up. She will sit next to me on my couch where I can pet her and rub her back, telling her that she’s beautiful and so loved. She tells me how smart I am.
My youngest cat, Mama, does NOT like to be picked up. (I think she’s been listening to Jessie and thinks that being picked up and cuddled is for babies.) Mama likes to sit on the arm of my couch, behind my head. I put my arm over my head to rub her back and I tell her that she’s beautiful and really loved a lot. She tells me how smart I am.
Jessie loves to go out during the day – especially during the summer. With all the rain we had at the beginning of summer, she was not able to be outside as much as she would have liked. She’s making up for the lost time now. She’ll go out in the morning when I get my paper. She’ll come in for a little time at noon, when I open a can of cat food for lunch, and then she’ll go back outside until dark.
I’d like for her to come in about 8:00 or 8:30 because that’s when I start to lock up the house for the evening. For the last several weeks, when I call for Jessie to come in for the evening, she’ll look at me and smile so sweetly, telling me that she’s sorry, but she doesn’t understand English! The only English word that she really understands is “food”.
For a while, I tried bribing her to come in by telling her that I’d get her some extra food. She came in for a while but, at one point she decided that she’d rather stay outside, thank you very much! I know that she’s grown up now and capable of taking care of herself but in my mind, when the sun goes down, the denizens of the night come out to feed on beautiful cats! Trains and cars go whizzing by without any regard for the innocent cats who might be walking across the tracks or the street.
I have spent a few restless nights waiting up for her to decide to come in at 1:00 in the morning. A few nights I was even able to sleep until 4:00 in the morning, stumbling to the door to see if she was ready to come in. She was and she did, so I stumbled back to bed for another hour and a half.
In retaliation for this rude behavior, I told her that I was through bribing her! If she wanted to stay outside all night, she could face the consequences.
About this time, Mama decided to join Jessie outside in the evening. Mama is always up for more food and has no problem accepting a bribe! I discovered that I could let Mama out about 7:00 and, when I went to call both the girls in at 8:00, if I mentioned food, both cats would come in without any bother.
The jury is still out, but I’m thinking of paying Mama extra to be a cat herder for Jessie!