Monday, August 28, 2006

Orange Cat Loves Inanimate Objects

Orange Cat, who is in all ways the world's most perfect one-eyed, stump-tailed diabetic feline, has a peculiar relationship with inanimate objects. He's a very loving beast, so when an inanimate objects does him a favor, he makes friends with it. Like when the window is kind enough to show him a bird, or a squirrel, he will often headbutt it and purr at it.

He has figured out that people water comes in glasses, and he wants to drink your water. But he's not willing to take the chance that you might be drinking NOT-water, so any time we come out with a glass of anything - orange juice, wine, tea - he gets on our laps and cranes his head like a demented giraffe trying to ever-so-subtly get a nosefull of your beverage. When I have not-water, I take a moment to let him sniff it, whereupon he looks grumpy about it and curls up on my lap to sulk that I have the audacity to have a glass of something he can't steal when I'm not looking. If it IS water, I have to keep the glass protected from him at all times, because if I look away for even a second, he'll go head-first down the glass, ears neatly tucked back, as far in as he can get to get my water. And if I keep it covered, he remains alert for moments of uncovering, going so far as to attempt to interpose his head between my face and the glass when I take a drink!

The best moment, incidentally, was when we'd had some people over and someone had had a vodka tonic on ice, and there was about an inch of melted ice standing in the bottom of the glass, with a little bit of vodka in it, after the party was over and we were cleaning up. Orange Cat emerged from where-ever he was hiding, and sniffed around the living room, looking for any forgotten food. (Of course we took away those plates first! We're not stupid!) But the glass, since it was basically empty, we had missed. He bounded up onto the chair, went headfirst all the way into the tall glass, smelling only the water, took a single lick, tasted the vodka, and recoiled in disgust (cats are not among the animals that can get drunk; alcohol is just poison to them), and couldn't get his head out of the glass now that he was panicking. I rescued him, but I laughed really hard.

Orange Cat is also a big fan of books. He discovered early on that hardbacks make excellent face-scratching units; if you're sitting and reading, it's guaranteed he will eventually come and scratch that ever-itchy side of his face (the side with no eye) on the corner of your hardcover. This also works reasonably well for him on softcovers -- the back top corner of all my paperbacks is rounded off from Orange Cat using it to scratch and rub against. But he apparently gets the part where all PAPER is the same, but not where its bindings are different. I'm not sure if it all smells the same or what, but he also tries to treat magazines, newspapers, and even single sheets off the printer the same way he does hardcovers, and then looks both startled and puzzled when the magazines flops away rather than scritching him, and the newspaper just makes a lot of noise and gets him nowhere.

Orange Cat keeps me company in my home office a lot during the day, sleeping down under the desk (a convenient cave) near my feet. I find this particularly convenient on cold winter days, because he's quite accommodating about sleeping on my frigid toes. But I'm never entirely sure if it's that he wants to be near me, or if it's because he's in love with my CPU, which sits under the desk. You see, it's warm, so he curls up against its side, and whenever the hard drive spins up, he thinks it's purring at him ... and he purrs back. The two have a very friendly relationship based on snuggling, purring, and shedding, meaning that doubtless my CPU is chock-full of cat hair. I'm scared to even look.

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