F 1 D 0 -- 02 09 04 at 12 30


Each time we've travelled, the one I miss
is Shadow. She seems to miss me too.

Oh, she's just a black cat.

When we met, I was told that she's aloof,
and mostly ignores visitors. 

By experience since then is that Shadow attempts
communication all of the time.

She will stare directly at me. Stare
Hard. And I'm convinced she's thinking
something at that moment. And somehow
by doing this, she's trying to tell me

I'm not that good, so most of the time
I am certain I miss the point.

For matters such as cat food, she's getting
very good at talking.

It started when I felt like buying her a
treat. At our local warehouse store, they
had yellow tins of stuff. They looked like
generic tuna, but were cans of "Luxury
Beef Dinner."  To their credit, they had
a nice smell.

Ann got Shadow to eat dry cat food a long
way back, I think.  Ten years ago? Longer?
She insists it has been ages since Shadow
saw someone opening a can of cat food.

Well, for someone who has never seen this,
she got very excited. The sound of the can
opening made her meow incessantly, jumping
up my leg, and in between, pressing her fur
against me as she walked by. 

I didn't give her much; it was a treat. 

Uh, she licked the bowl very clean. She held
it in her paw, so the bowl was angled better.
When I caught on, I offered her the spoon.
Same thing. She'd hold the spoon, clean it,
turn it over, finish the job. I heard the
occasional sound of teeth against stainless.

I think she likes Luxury Beef Dinner.

Eventually, they didn't have any more of
this stuff at the store. You see, I do a 
lot of hunting for things reduced to half
price. That's how I found the tins in the
first place. There were perhaps a hundred
of them at the outset, there were ten when
I went back for more, and then no more. 

They did have a can of Frisky's Beef Dinner.
I got one.

I saw the same excited cat dance. But then I
put it down, next to the other food and water.

Have any of you seen a cat paw the ground
beside their food?

Yes, she was communicating. I'd seen this in
my own cats before. They bury bowel movements,
and this gesture is how the cat tells you what
is in the bowl. BM, not food. At least, not in
her humble opinion.

I encourage her, "Sorry, pussywussy, that's all
I've got. Give it a try."

And she did eat it. She did not clean the bowl.

Not long after that, I came across the same Luxury
Beef Dinner, but it was in a larger 284ml can. Is
that about ten ounces?

I receive the happy dance each time I open the 
tin, no matter what. But when I hit the jackpot,
the meows go silent, except for this intense purring.

The story so far is rather old. This happened
months ago.

But when we got back from our trip across Canada,
I was worried about Shadow. Did she miss us? Yes.
Would she be pissed off? Not this time. 

When we went to UK, she missed us, but was clearly
upset with us for being away so long. 

Jim cared for her this time around, and Alison
the previous time. I'm glad our neighbours help
us this way. Taking a cat on a road trip seems 
like a good way to traumatize a kitty.

I don't think it is universal. I have a friend
who visits family in Greenville SC with 
her new kitten, Kashmir.  She reports only 
good things from such weekend trips. With 
any other cat I've known, I recall a very 
frightened furball. They've never gotten 
angry, but just don't get the car thing. 
Sometimes we've used carriers, and they 
aren't in love with them either. I cannot 
say I blame them.

We used to run a halfway house for cats when I
lived in Toronto. If someone had too many cats
or kittens, or kittens were on their way, then
they would bring the cat(s) over to us, and maybe
lots of food too, as we were going to look after
them from now on. 

I still remember the first set of these cats. 
Patience, Trouble, Mischief, Weasel. I should 
phone to find out how they're doing, as they 
are certainly all getting on in years.

It has been so long. I'm mixing them all up.

Patience. He's still alive. He is a grey
cat with white bits on him. He used to be
a tuff cat, but he's gotten old. He doesn't
appear to remember me, at least, he didn't
last time I went to see him.

Trouble. He was an orange and white cat. 
He passed away last year. He was Tim's 
favourite cat. He was cute without being
annoying. I remember him as a big guy 
who could jump from ground level to the
roof of the house.

Mischief. He ran away about six years ago.
He was a greyish black cat, with tiny bits
of white. He wasn't fixed, and so he sprayed
a lot. He'd upset all of the other cats in
the house.

Weasel. He was a tabby, grey and black. His
special feature was that he'd locate teddy
bears and soft blankets, and fornicate them.
He'd drag them making a cute chirping sound 
to a quiet corner of the house to have his way. 
He was given away to a farm in 1992, and we 
would get reports from the farm that he was 
visiting a neighbours home. They returned him 
to the farm a few times, and finally asked if 
they could keep him. He may still be there.

Shadow has figured out that I understand her
food requests.  She will come over to me, purring.
When I stand up, she will rise too, and rush 
ahead of me. Directly into the kitchen.

She will look at her empty wet food bowl, then
to me, then the bowl, then to me. Finally, she
will just sit, like a black statue of a cat, and
look directly at me for a long time. If I just
look back, she'll begin meowing after a minute.

This routine is happening often.

I will give her Luxury Beef Dinner between 900pm
and midnight. So last night, I gave it to her
around 930pm.  But by 1030pm she was asking me

This is backfiring because Ann sees her 
begging me for food, and decides she is 
looking fatter than ever. I'm reminded
that it was a veterinarian who suggested
the cat stop getting canned food in the
first place.  She's suggesting we reduce
the cat's ration from 2oz to 1oz of food
a day.  I'm sure that change will make Shadow

Shadow spends her days locating the sunshine.

If the sun is in a window, then she will be
in the space between the storm windows and 
the inside panes. And if the sun is shining
onto the guest bed, then she'll sleep there,
following the sun until it goes away.

But eventually, she will come to talk to me.

Often it is about food, but other times,
I'm not sure. She'll just stare at me, and
I'm supposed to figure out what she is saying.

I'm convinced she's trying to tell me something.

That's all I know.