I can see how far I’ve come when I can look at this scene and laugh instead of swatting the cat on the rump and reaching for spray disinfectant.
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Sherman is some sort of Burmese cross this lifetime. He’s a handsome and graceful cat whose major failing is that he has not been in a cat body enough lifetimes to understand the drill.
You can easily recognize a real cat because it will demonstrate a relatively stable set of behavior patterns that will shift slowly over time. Indoor or outdoor, the normal cat will have routine activities for every part of the day. Sherman acts more like a secret agent who is hiding out for a few lifetimes until all of the warrants have expired.
He can occasionally be found like this, carefully inspecting some non-cat activity, but other than that he varies his activity constantly as if to evade surveillance. He will position himself so he can watch us working but he is always ready to bolt at the sound of strange voices and strange vehicles.
He is so obviously hiding out that I have made the mistake of asking directly what is going on. Big mistake! He will give me a disgusted expression as if I have committed the unspeakable offense of breaking his cover and he will lope off and hide. I used to repair the damage and make peace with him. Now, I’ve resolved to accept him as he is, just another being with hidden secrets who is trying to get by.
So when I see him quietly sitting at the dinner table, I give him a pat to let him know I understand what he’s thinking and leave it at that. When we are ready to eat, he’ll assume his usual place at our feet.
As I finish writing this, he has left his usual place on my desk to climb up on my shoulder. Time for some man and cat bonding. We ex-career types have to stick together.