Slim’s View: Cat Nipped

Slim Smith | Apr 12, 2012, 9:33 a.m.

Being a simple man, a trusting, innocent man, I did not recognize my imminent peril. About two weeks ago, Joy started making observations — to no one in particular, of course — about what a wonderful cat Tiger was. Tiger was naturally imbued with all sorts of great character traits — affectionate, sweet, smart. Joy judged — again, to no one in particular — that Tiger would be a great companion for the right person, maybe someone who lived alone and led a quiet, introspective sort of life.

Before you know it, I’m driving the 40 miles back to my apartment with this cat in the back seat.

It’s been a week now, and I think Tiger and I are beginning to have an understanding of the house rules. There is but one, of course. Tiger does as he pleases.

He’s spent most of the week under my bed. Using my dog logic, I thought maybe he was frightened. That’s what a dog would do if he were scared of something, after all. Now, I’m convinced that Tiger likes to get under my bed because he likes having a place to his own, a place I can’t comfortably access.

So he spends long stretches under my bed. Again, this is a change for me. Dogs like to be wherever you are. Cats? Not so much. Cats ascribe to the “quality time” canard. “It’s not how much time I spend with you that matters, it’s the quality time that counts.” Right. No dog would ever say that.

There is one odd behavior Tiger exhibits I cannot account for. Joy told me, among a few hundred other things that I should always leave the shades pulled up in at least one window, so Tiger could sit on the windowsill and observe the world passing by.

Well, I did this. I pulled up the blinds and sat Tiger on the windowsill. He went nuts, jumping down and running to the middle of the den where he stopped and looked back toward the window.

To approximate his demeanor, try this: Sit up with your back as straight as possible. Cup your hands and put them in from of your chest, fingers pointing down. Stretch your neck up as high as you can. Open your eyes as wide as possible.

This was the look Tiger had on his face after that first look out the window. He looked like a prairie dog on sentinel duty when a hawk has shown up on the horizon.

Now, I’ll admit I don’t live in the very best neighborhood, but still … every time I gather Tiger up into my arms, talk to him in my softest voice and pet him as I walk slowly toward the window, his head pops up like a jack-in-the-box and his eyes grow wide as saucers. This happens every single time.

So, naturally, I do this frequently.

But aside from the window phobia, Tiger seems to have settled in and appears to be satisfied enough — no cat will ever admit to being completely satisfied, I’m sure. I do like him, though.

Like I said, I never thought I would be a cat person. Of course, I never thought I’d vote for a Democrat for president, either. In both cases, it just doesn’t seem like I have much of a choice.

Slim Smith is a former Arizona journalist now attending school at Mississippi State University. You can reach him via email at slimmovingon@gmail.com. You can also follow his “new life as an old student” at http://anelderstatesman.blogspot.com.

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