I was feeding my little darlings yesterday, the three cats that share joint ownership over my life and body.
You probably suggest that I overstate the situation. No. The cats have first priority to my time. The world might think that IBM employs me but the cats have dibbs on my time and energy.
Nor does my lap belong to me. Whenever available, a cat claims it. Humans like me think their purrs on such events is a declaration of delight, joy or happiness. No, the purr is a declaration, "Victory is mine! This is my lap."
You should see when another cat dares approach the occupied lap. If I'm sprawled back in the recliner, the lap is also more wide open territory, capable of hosting two felines willing to share the space. 'Willingness' is negotiated via looks and sniffs, glances and tail flicks. Eyes narrow. Whiskers bristle. The newcomer exercises wariness as they shift into position - or they jump away, unwilling to trust that other cat, in effect saying, "Look at those shifty eyes. How can you trust that cat? Besides, I know what he does while you're away. I can't believe you still wear those shoes."
But I feed the little darlings several times per day. It's simple survival. If I don't feed them, they engage in intense staring contests with me, getting closer and more aggressive as each moment of starvation slides by. Tucker remains patient and watchful. Quinn sits next to me, somehow managing to convey pain and sadness with his eyes and whiskers. Lady, bolder and more impatient, takes a direct approach, getting on top of my keyboard if I'm on the computer, climbing up my chest if I'm not. With either manner, she looks me in the eye and says, "Merowr." I assume that's meow for "Feed me, slave."
If I'm asleep, Quinn will climb atop me and move his paws up and down like little furry pistons on whatever body part is available, extending and retracting his claws as he does, purring with desperate volume. He knows that doing this on my groin will get the quickest reaction. I've learned to protect my groin while sleeping so he goes for whatever else can be reached: stomach, arm, cheek, throat...whatever. Lady, being direct, will walk up to my face, start tapping my nose with one dainty, insistent paw, and say, "Merowr."
Once I'm into feeding mode, the meal selection must be made for them. They haven't learned to vocalize what they like or don't so it's a guessing game. I suspect this has much to do with what flavors are being offered. Tender Beef. Savory Salmon. Turkey Morsels. Trout. Mackarel. Tuna.
Right. Those are natural flavors for cats. Just the other day, I saw a small gray short hair domestic tabby stalking a cow grazing in a meadow. Creeping up on the cow, the cat gaged its moment and leaped forward. Seizing the cow's rear leg, the cat wrapped its front paws around the cow leg until it managed to topple the cow. Then, because cats play with their food, the cat became tossing the cow up into the hair and batting it around.
I'm sure the rest of you have seen the same thing.
I'm stretching my hunting example to illustrate that the canned flavors of cat food don't reflect a cat's prey afield. Where is Tender Field Mouse or Savory Vole, Delectable Robin, or Gourmet Hummingbird? When will those companies begin selling Bug & Spider Delight to replace Tuna with Cheese?
Because I have never seen a cat catch a tuna or make any cheese.
Causes Michael Seidel Supports
Kiva, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Propublica.org, Doctors Without Borders, GreaterGood.com