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  • Last modified 524 days ago (Feb. 16, 2023)

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Another Day in the Country

An indoor cat

© Another Day in the Country

Something is wrong with Charlie,” my friend Phyllis says as she’s watching her beloved old tomcat. “He just not acting right and he won’t eat, so I’m calling the vet.”

The vet discovered a huge abscess under all of Charlie’s luxuriant fur, lanced it, gave him some antibiotics, and sent him home with the admonition, “I think, given the influx of stray cats in your neighborhood, that Charlie, at his age, should become an indoor cat.”

What a comeuppance for a downtown cat!

This beautiful, big, black-and-white cat with a fancy moustache design on his face was named after Charlie Chaplin because he sort of looks like a cat version of the star.

Charlie also is quite a character, demanding attention, wanting to interact — even entertain — just like the actor for whom he’s named.

He’s definitely been an outdoor cat as long as I’ve known him.

This cat lives to explore. He’s always outside on the move. His range in his town has included the main drag, which is several blocks from home base.

Charlie never meets a stranger of the human kind. You have to watch out because he’ll even jump in your car and ask to ride along to wherever you are going.

He’s an adventurous cat, and now he’s going to be an indoor cat?

I’ve been feeling sympathetic to Charlie’s dilemma, which as soon as he’s feeling better will become his owner’s dilemma.

How is she going to keep Charlie indoors? What’s Charlie going to do all day?

Phyl says she’s going to turn her little side porch into a cat playground. This I’ve got to see.

As I’m typing, my cat, Skeeter, is in the office with me. She’s an old cat, too, and has been my buddy for more than 12 years, I’m sure.

She’s playing with something on the bottom of my chair. I can hear her batting it around. She’s trying to get my attention because she wants something.

“You want to go outside?” I ask her.

She walks toward the hall, and I follow her toward the porch door.

“Come on. Go out on the porch,” I urge, holding the door open.

She looks at me and sits down.

Nope, she doesn’t want to go out.

“Then what?” I ask her.

She walks over to the refrigerator door and looks back to see whether I’m following.

“There’s no tuna in there,” I tell her. “Sorry, you’re stuck with just cat food, and it’s on the back porch.”

Who says cats don’t talk?

“Going out” for Skeeter is my back porch. Going out into the yard only happens these days if I’m outside working.

She can open the porch doors on her own — front or back — and if I’m out, she comes out, lounging on the deck, watching for intruders on what she considers her turf.

She’s not keen on visitors — feline or human. 

Jess is the one exception. Skeeter loves Jess and very much dislikes the fact that Jess has her very own cat at her house.

“Not fair,” Skeeter turns her head and won’t look you in the eye. “I knew her first.”

But then Skeeter forgives Jess, climbs up on her lap, stares into her eyes intently, and declares her unending love every chance she gets.

“You’re my Valentine,” she purrs.

Because I’m really not a cat person, I used to laugh. No, “laugh” isn’t the right word. Maybe more accurately I should say “be disgusted at” people who allowed their cats to claim the back of their couches as their favorite spots until there was a permanent cat-sized dip in the pillow. Now I’m one of those people! 

For years, I’ve put down a little rug wherever Skeeter is allowed to sit on the furniture, and she’s quite cooperative.

She has her side of the love seat, and I have mine. As we age, I’ve become more lenient. She now has the foot of the bed — only when I’m in the bed.

If she tries to move up higher, perchance to get within reach of a hand that’s outside the covers, all I have to do is raise a finger and she stops.

Like Skeeter, I’m pretty much an indoor cat during the winter, but I don’t really like it.

When I’m stuck indoors, I can wash up, sweep, rearrange, watch, work on the computer, cook, clean up, sweep, rearrange again.

My winter days are on redo, rerun, repeat, remember. I can hardly wait for January, February, and March to be over so I can realistically spend my days outside.

Once April hits, there’s always something to do out there: weed, mulch, plant, water, fertilize, thin, mow, trim, rake, plant some more. The jobs are endless.

It’s not as much fun being an indoor cat. It just isn’t. Unlike Skeeter, I don’t snooze away the day. I do mess around on the computer.

Hours fly by when I’m writing or when I’m working on photography projects. I have to remind myself to get up and move around. 

I reserve my reading until it gets dark, which is rather early in the winter. This means there’s quite a few hours to find ways to be productive, creative, enthusiastic, in the cold, cold winter, as an indoor cat who wants to go outdoors on another day in the country.

Last modified Feb. 16, 2023

 

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