A funny thing happens up here in late November; the sun sets for the last time of the year, and I go into some kind of weird hibernation mode. It’s a good thing we have winter break at the school, because I become kind of lethargic and noncommittal. It doesn’t help that along with being dark all the time, it’s usually face-numbingly cold. And I have never been a strong believer in outdoor winter activities. Let’s just say I must be exceptionally devoted to my wife’s happiness that I am willing to tolerate basically the opposite of my preferred climate.
As part of an effort to minimize the winter grumps and be good neighbors at the same time, just before the holidays we adopted a fluffy young cat named Blue. One of his previous owner’s family members was uncomfortably allergic to him, so they needed to get him and all his fur-encrusted stuff out of the house. I am absolutely a cat person, though I am also occasionally allergic. Once we established that I wasn’t going to have a reaction to the little guy, we happily adopted him, and he’s been working his fuzzy little way into our lives since.
He’s part Siamese, so he shares the breed’s propensity for climbing things, being vocal, and occasionally having a look of goggle-eyed bewilderment. He’s only about a year-and-a-half old, and still a kitten in a lot of ways, but he is a mostly well-behaved little beast. It probably helps that we don’t eat at the kitchen table, and therefore don’t mind when he jumps on it, but he does have the habit of clawing the couch specifically to get our attention, because he knows he’s not supposed to. With his previous owners, he was very much an outside wanderer cat, and we would often see him out and about. I have the philosophy that indoor cats live longer, healthier (though admittedly less exciting) lives, so we have been working on turning him into a house cat. He seems to be adapting well, and we try to smother him with love and affection, while he holds our furniture hostage. Lately, the temperature has been on our side, since Blue will step out into the garage and decide that maybe even he doesn’t have enough insulation.
Things Blue can get in, under, or on top of are favorites, and he is capable of impressive vertical leaps, though he does sometimes miscalculate and then regret his choices. He is the first cat I have ever had who likes those ball-in-a-track “cat frustrators”, though perhaps because ours is broken. When shopping online for cat supplies, we got said cat toy in the same box as a bulk order of kitty litter, which crushed and cracked the cheap plastic. It still holds its shape (mostly), but if he is clever, he can get the ball out of there, providing a more rewarding experience than having the prize forever out of reach.
His vocality was something I had to get used to. In addition to being vocally expressive, Siamese are also known for having occasionally ugly voices. When Blue wanted attention at two in the morning, and would let us know by yowling around the house, I admit I came close to sticking him out in the garage to think about what he had done. But we seem to have grown on him, and now he will just come cuddle with us on the bed instead of sounding pitiful.
Blue is also a very affectionate and tolerant cat. He doesn’t mind being picked up and carried around (and will even request it at times), and seems to have mastered the art of the lap combo. One lap is good, and he will usually come sit on one of us, given the opportunity. But if we are both sitting on the couch or dozing off to sleep in bed, he will find the position that gives him Maximum Lap Coverage to melt and purr.
I think we are too dignified to ever refer to our cat as a “fur baby”, but as our first family pet, he is doing a fantastic job of being something small and adorable we can take care of, and we have done our best to spoil the little guy. Better to get that all out of our system now before we ruin a perfectly good hypothetical child with that kind of attention.