Who is my neighbour? In my case it is my cat, Tasha. She arrived some 15 years ago along with her litter brother. He died 3 years ago (kidneys), and I recall him with affection whenever I pass his grave in the garden. Tasha continues to remind me that God gives us the ‘lower’ animals to love in their own way.
Tasha and I live in a three-story Victorian house so we are not over crowded. She rarely comes upstairs because she is tempted by the radiator half way up. I can’t recall her ever visiting my bedroom Right now she is behind me in my study (almost exact Covid distance) and fast asleep. She looks pretty fit – her coat in fine fettle. Later, she will review the garden to make sure that we have no other cat visitors. And she will enjoy the Shubunkin in their pool – they must be their fourth or fifth generation.
Of an evening she will spend her time with me in the drawing room. She is a discipline fad: I am required to stroke her quite actively: I have to extend my thumb nail so that she can clean her nose and mouth. Quite recently I find I am required to clean out deeply into her ears. Cleaning ears is quite difficult for cats on their own. Her timing is good, but she will wait for me to turn the television off before she goes for her supper in the kitchen.
She loves visitors. And she clearly prefers women. That’s lucky because most of my visitors are female. We don’t eat in the dining room – ten places are too many for the two of us. So she sits at the kitchen table where my late wife used to sit – she is optimistic.
I have a sense that many people see cats, however apparently domesticated, as more fundamentally wild than we see dogs. And the evidence of their genetic history appears to support this. Where a dog may be totally involved with, and obedient to, its owner, cats seem (to me) their own person, who simply choose human being as a source of food and safety. Do you find it so?