A constant companion

I used to think I knew something about cats. But then that was when they were all outside cats.

There were always cats on the farm where I grew up, just roaming around, hanging out in the barn or outside the back door or in the crib alley looking for mice. Their favorite place was probably the milk house as they waited for my dad to finish milking and bring fresh milk for their pan.

None of the cats ever came inside the house to sleep or eat or anything else, as I recall.

That was long before I had a house cat of my own, something I never thought would happen. But Maxine the 10-year-old cat has been my roommate for about six months now, so by now I understand that I really didn’t know much about cats at all before I had one living inside with me.

One big thing I didn’t realize is that cats shed. Maxine seems to be a champion in that department, but I expect she’s really no better at it than other cats. Even brushing her almost daily doesn’t seem to make a big difference, but at least I feel like I’m doing something about the issue. I notice that no matter how carefully I cover her favorite perch with a towel to try to contain some of the loose hair, there’s still plenty of it around. I try my best to stay ahead of it, but Maxine wins most days.

Shedding cats are never a problem in the barn.

Something else I didn’t realize is how sociable cats can be. Oh, my siblings and I played with the outside cats and kittens a lot, and we had our favorites, but it’s still not the same as having a sidekick with you inside. Considering she spent the first three days after coming to live here cowered under an end table, Maxine is now a great companion. Sometimes she’s too much, but mostly she just wants to be where I am. When I’m cooking she sits on a bar stool to watch, when I write she likes to leap up into my lap, and she’s happiest right against my leg whenever I get a moment to sit on the couch. As I read someplace, “Cats can work out mathematically the exact place to sit that will cause the most inconvenience.”

Being around barn cats never gave me a clue how much time they can spend sleeping during daylight hours. This quote must have been written with Maxine in mind: “Kittens are born with their eyes shut. They open them in about six days, take a look around, and then close them for the better part of their lives.”-Stephen Baker

Yep, that’s Maxine.