None of these photos are of today. Today was far more… vigorous.
[Photo shows Fey, a grey ticked cat with a white stripe down her belly, white paws, white chin, and a white four-pointed star on her nose, with yellow-green eyes. She is lying on her side, with one paw curled over.]
Today was one of the first days it was warm enough to take Fey out again since last fall. As usual, she was not happy with the actual feel of being lifted and put into the PetPocket. But everything else about her behavior — even including loving to sleep on the PetPocket — has always seemed to show that the good part of these walks tends to outweigh the bad (although when you’re dealing with someone whose only language is Feline, it’s always possible you’re missing something major). So I took her outside.
She never likes the elevator, and she never likes traffic although she can get used to it. But generally by the time we are out of the building and away from the lines of people flanking the entrance and going “ooooooooo kiiiiittteeeeeeee”, she calms down and starts looking around.
[Photo shows me out in my powerchair with Fey peering out of her PetPocket.]
This being our first day out, she mostly wanted to duck down inside with widening pupils when we were near traffic. So we headed down a side road to get away from the noise (which frankly wasn’t my favorite thing either).
And then we heard it. Some kind of chittery bird noises up in the air. And Fey stopped worrying about traffic and poked her head up, ears pointy, whiskers out, eyes wide but
pupils normal, nose twitching like a rabbit. This is why we go on walks.
[Photo is a closeup of Fey looking around out of her PetPocket.]
We found a tree with a bird’s nest in it and Fey just stared up and whipped her head around to get all the different birds in her sights. I sat around in the parking lot and tried to maneuver the chair wherever her head was pointing. After about half an hour we went home and she curled up in bed with me for a few hours.
But it doesn’t end there. This kind of thing never does. As it started to get late, I heard a “worrreeeauwwww” (and assorted other multisyllabic cat words) coming from the living room. Usually I go out and if she wants water she goes to the kitchen, and if she wants play she goes to the living room. She went to the living room.
Usually our play is pretty predictable. Nearing 11 years old this year, she doesn’t run all over as much as she used to. She likes to sit or lie on the couch while I wave a Cat Dancer back and forth in wide sweeping motions that come near but don’t touch her head. She bats at it for awhile, sometimes more enthusiastically than others. If she catches it, I give her some fish flakes (she loves them so much she’ll eat them out of my hand) and then wait for her to finish grooming herself. Then we do it all again if she wants to. I know most cats like to act as if the toy is prey, but she has made it clear she generally prefers the slower pace of trying to hit it as it whizzed by her.
Well, this time, I got out the Cat Dancer and started to wave it back and forth. WHAP. She hit it on her first try, which is unusual.
[Photo shows Fey delivering a WHAP to the Cat Dancer.]
Then she got me to move it all over the couch while she chased and scrabbled and leapt into the air like a kitten. Her accuracy was way beyond usual and so was her interest. She stood on her back legs and whapped it again and then worked her two front paws in a rapidfire back and forth motion until she had to sit down. Then she did it again. And again. And flopped onto her back to scrabble at it from that position and just kept going.
[Photo shows Fey on her back following the Cat Dancer with her eyes while her two paws are bent into different stages of grabbing at it.]
When I offered her the second round of fish flakes she nipped me (with a “HEY don’t stop now!” sort of look about her) and went back to chasing the toy everywhere until I was finally the one who had to stop from exhaustion.
[Photo shows Fey lying on her side and attacking the Cat Dancer with her claws out.]
When I first bought the PetPocket I had figured it would be better than sitting at one particular window all the time, and that maybe it would fuel her imagination for future play. But I never expected it to be this extreme. Her play suddenly got far more complex, lively, and strategic. And I could tell she was saving up imaginary small animals in her head to hunt back home with the cat toys.
And today has made it clear things still work that way for her. She was nearly doing backflips and probably would still be playing if I weren’t worn out. She hung out in the living room for awhile hoping for more, but has come in and curled up next to my head now that she realizes I’m not going anywhere.
[Photo was taken seconds after the previous photo. Fey is lying on her side. The Cat Dancer is near her belly. She is reaching for it with both front paws, and has her mouth open to bite it with her fierce white fangs showing.]
If you want more cat blogging, AnneC has done a great post on finding out why Nikki (an 8-year-old Siamese) was doing a bunch of things that seemed to make no sense. I am already liking her new cat blog Felines Are Wonderful a lot.