03 July 2013

Black Cat in Summer

It is a funny thing about the black cat. It is summer now, and though the rains have been too steady, he doesn’t require shelter the way he did during the bitter, snowy winters. Whereas I think he lived under the deck during the cold months, now the cat doesn’t need protection from the elements and can live out of doors. So he has taken up residence outside of the door of the cabin!
            I arise in the early morning, brew my coffee and wander out to the cabin. When I open the back door to the house the black cat is already there awaiting me. He meows his greeting (or perhaps it is his complaint that I have slept too long) and then jumps between my legs as I head down the stairs. I am a bit afraid of tripping over him and breaking bones in my body, and so I walk stiffly and carefully with my legs spread wide, like the Frankenstein monster. The cat speaks to me the entire distance to the cabin, occasionally swiping its paw at my leg. When I enter the cabin door he stares inside (a bit indignantly, I imagine) watching my movements. I set my coffee mug down and move back toward the door. I slip out and pick up his bowl and he jumps at my arm in some alarm that I am removing his feeding station. I rush back inside, empty a can of food and some hard meal into the bowl, step outside again and place the bowl down. He doesn’t even say thank you, but moves directly toward the food. I return to the coffee and computer screen.
            And whereas in winter he would eat and then head back to shelter, now he finishes his meal and lays down directly outside the door on the welcome mat. In fact, he is blocking entrance: ingress or egress dislocates him and he is not pleased when he is disturbed. He reluctantly returns to the mat with a look of exasperation and displeasure on his visage and lays down again to his rest. In the heat of the day he sequesters himself in the cool brush outside the cabin and comes out only at my comings and goings expecting some feeding at each. And what intrigues me lately is the fact that he does not leave the environs of the cabin. He has taken up residence: he doesn’t move from the cabin’s perimeter, as if he were a guardian of the premises. But I think what he guards is the expectation of the next meal: he guarantees by his presence my return!
            And lately, he requires more than food. Sometimes he demands attention, and I sit down on the porch steps or the walkway to the cabin and I scratch his head or tickle on his neck; he rolls over onto his back and insists that I rub his stomach, and if I stop he slaps me with his front paw. He looks at me with half-closed eyes and I think he is happy. What we have here is a relationship. And if I turn about in my chair right now outside of my door the black cat sleeps guarding my door and preventing my leaving home. 


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