Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Rituals Performed for a Feline Named Lily

Lily hardly weighs 5 pounds.  She sleeps most of the day, and we don't ask about her nocturnal gad-abouts.  We live a peaceful, copacetic existence - Lily, Alan and I.  She jumps in our laps, we pet her.   We get up from the computer chair, she claims it.  She hops up on our bed and pats us with her paw, we get up and let her out.  The "letting her out" part gets kind of tricky.  We have to explain it to house-guests.  They have to be indoctrinated.  "This is what Lily wants."

I'll try to indoctrinate you using grainy iphone pictures that I just took in the garage.  Scenario - Lily came into the kitchen meowing rather insistently.  "Lily, do you want me to love on you?" I dutifully inquired picking her up and running my fingers down her spine.  She shuddered appreciatively but continued to yammer.  I set her back down on the floor to see if she would begin walking in the right direction.  "Lily, do you want to go out?  Are you hungry?"  [We keep all cat boxes and bowls out in the garage in an effort to distinguish between the humans and the animals.  We get it.  They don't.]

As Lily continued to meow, I walked to the door to the garage and opened it.  Lily sauntered into the the laundry room behind me keeping her distance.  "Lily, go eat some breakfast!  Aren't you hungry?"  She shot me a "Well, Duh" withering look that only a cat can give.  I heard her loud and clear:  "You know how this works.  Get with it."  So, I began the "Are You Hungry" ritual.

An Explanation of the Super-Sized Bowl

We have 2 cats and one huge bowl of food.  The huge bowl originated several years ago when we were going to be out of town.  Instead of worrying about whether or not our teenaged "cat sitter" would remember to stop by and fill a small bowl, we calmed our fears by switching to an impossibly large dog bowl filled with cat food.

An Explanation of Lily's Idiosyncrasy Where the Cat Bowl is Concerned

This grainy picture does not "do justice to" the tiny peaks and valleys created by little cat mouths daintily munching on Meow Mix.  Trust me.  They are there.  According to Lily they are unacceptable Rocky Mountain Ranges and Grand Canyons in her sustenance.  She likes more of a Llano Estacado arrangement.  Flat as a fritter as far as the eye can see.  Alan and I have tried to analyze the situation.  One theory is that she doesn't like to bend her neck any lower or higher than she has to when she enjoys her meals.  The other theory has to do with  a battle of control that only Cat People can understand...or not understand as the case may be.

An Explanation of How the Food Bowl Ritual Goes Down

I go look at her food bowl while she sits patiently in the laundry room waiting for me to perform the ritual.  "Oh, no, Lily!  I'm so sorry!  I can see how inconvenient it must be for you to have to raise and lower your little head while you eat!  Let me fix it!"  At this point, I do one of three things that seem to appease Princess Lily.

Three Things That Seem To Appease Princess Lily
  1. I shake the cat bowl leveling the food properly to make the meal aesthetically pleasing to She-Who-Waits-And-Watches.
  2. I make a big show of going to the bin of cat food and shoveling up a big Cinemark Movie Theatre red plastic cup full of Meow Mix.  Then, I carefully fill the nooks and crannies of the "blighted" food.
  3. I pretend to fill the big Cinemark Movie Theatre red plastic cup with Meow Mix because I don't like to be manipulated by a small furry animal.  It's my passive-aggressive attempt to show the cat who is boss.  I take the empty cup and scoop up some of the food in her bowl and then sprinkle it back on the pile while shaking the bowl to level the food all the while feeling smug, smart, successful and superior.
Thing One works some of the time.  Thing Two works all of the time.  Thing Three has mixed results.  I'm going to think that when I perform Thing Three Lily is not really hungry and simply prefers sitting in the laundry room for some quiet time of meditation.  I have to pin my hopes on this theory in an effort to prove to myself that I'm not becoming a Weird Cat Lady.

Today, it was Thing Two that did the trick.  

If you look very, very closely at both pictures, you may be able to see the subtle differences in the food elevations of each bowl.  Please tell me that you can see the subtle differences in the food elevations of each bowl.  Please.  I need to feel like I won this.

I'll end here.  My turn in the computer chair has ended.  Lily just manipulatively purred in my ear, "Carolyn?  Are you still in your PJs?  Don't you think it's time you showered and dressed?  You're beginning to look like an Old Unkempt Cat Lady."  Gets me every time.

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