Window Cats

Betty, our older cat, likes to lie in her cat hammock in the kitchen window and watch the squirrels scamper on the back lawn; and the various birds that visit the feeders. She complains — with her scratchy meow — about some of them for unknown reasons. The doves, flickers and magpies are a particular source of irritation for her and she usually talks to them — expressing disapproval when they show up.

When outside, Betty prowls the flower bed below the feeder, keeping the birds away temporarily by her presence. She seeks the mice that live in the rock walls of that bed and will sit patiently watching for them in the vegetation. I’m not sure she has ever caught one, but she remains raptly tantalized by the possibility.

Neither Betty nor Jane, our younger cat, have any patience for the squirrels. Jane will occasionally lie in wait for one to come too close, then spring out and give chase. So far, the squirrels have been superior in these interactions. Betty prefers to just reveal herself if one comes too near, and they presumably find her size and fearsome countenance too challenging, and scamper off warily.

Betty’s window hammock is also a great place for a relaxing snooze, particularly if one of us happens to be sitting nearby at the kitchen table. The experience of reading the paper or working on my laptop requires some discipline, then, as there is nothing more likely to make you sleepy as a sleeping cat just a few feet away.

Jane has her favorite window seat, also. She likes to sit on the back of the sofa in the front room where she has pushed down a plump cushion to make a small nest. She can watch the cars, people, dogs and squirrels coming and going on the sidewalk, the street and in the front yard. She will sometimes comment on someone or something of particular interest, such as a trespassing dog, but she most often curls up and snores peacefully. That spot is also where Merrilyn sits if we watch TV, so Jane serves as a neck-warmer/pillow for her. Something about a gentle cat snore just behind your head is calming, peaceful and sleep-inducing. The sleepiness gets really thick when Betty falls asleep on the footstool between my feet and our dog, Rosie, begins to snore on her fluffy bed in front of the TV. I never wonder why I get drowsy watching TV.

Rosie also likes to stand guard over the house from that same spot on the sofa if no one is using it. She can press her chest against the back of the couch and, with her head even with the window sill, be our sentinel for any neighborhood malfeasance. If you happen to be napping in a nearby chair with Betty between your feet on the hassock, Rosie’s warning bark to trespassers is a sudden and rude awakening. Things can get very exciting when the mailman puts our mail in the mailbox or a delivery person drops off a package.

Our critters also enjoy watching out either of two French doors in our kitchen that face onto east and west patios. Rosie gets excited when a squirrel creeps up on her dog water bowl just outside, but seems forgiving of the chickadees and house sparrows when they trespass. However, the cats act as if the birds were coming there just to torment them and can’t wait to get outside where they could pounce.

These doors also provide direct sunlight in both the morning and afternoon, making a great place for a weary critter to have a sun bath. Then all concerns about trespass go by the way and what happens outside becomes irrelevant. Both Rosie and Jane curl up or just lounge splayed-out, but Betty loves the feel of sunshine on her very furry belly. Stretching out on her back with toes curled in the sunshine apparently feels like heaven, and makes me want to join her.

So, occasionally, I’ll slide the hassock up to one of our overstuffed chairs and stretch out just where the sun strikes in the afternoon. A snoozing cat or dog will usually join me. Even without curling my toes, it feels pretty good.

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