Have you ever been envious of a friend or family member’s traits that just don’t seem to be part of your genetic makeup? Of course you have. But what about your cat’s? Recently, I realized that my cat, Tulip, is pretty much all the things I’m not, that I wish I could be.
No, I don’t have some freakish desire to become a feline. Let me explain. This past Thanksgiving is when I started putting it all together.
Tulip and I hit the road to visit my family in upstate New York. On the way, I was thinking about how I’d have to make sure Tulip exercised while we were there. I’d observed that she was already, like her food-loving mom, beginning to pack on a few holiday pounds. At first, I blamed it on her petite frame showing extra weight quickly, but when my roommate mentioned her gut “kind of” swishing from side to side as she was running (oh no!), I vowed to be better about breaking out the old string and running her around a bit.
After the six-hour drive, both Tulip and I were eager to get out of the car and see my family. Being that she’d met the people there before, as well as my mom’s Beagle, Gadget, she only hid behind the couch a few minutes before emerging to make herself right at home. My mom had recently moved to a new house, and Tulip was ready to check out all the nooks and crannies.
One of Tulip’s favorite parts of my mom’s new house was the split staircase. She loved racing up one set of stairs, catching her breath on the landing, then racing up the second set. Once at the top, she’d sit perched with her head stuck out between two bars of the railing, her round curious eyes surveying Gadget in the living room below. She repeated this routine religiously for the next few days.
My sister and I also figured out it was pretty fun to tie Tulip’s play string to Gadget’s harness, allowing him to drag it around when he walked. Tulip would then chase after Gadget at warp speed, pouncing on the string and causing him to rocket into the air! Shockingly, Gadget was cool with this. He is a pretty easy-going dog. I think he was satisfied with the exchange of getting to sneak some of Tulip’s cat food later.
At the end of the weekend, as I was cuddling with Tulip before I put her back into the dreaded cat carrier, I noticed she felt a little lighter. “Mom, does Tulip look skinnier?” I asked. “I think she actually does!” she replied. Hmmmph, I thought. That’s when all the things Tulip IS that I’m NOT started popping into my brain as fast as she’d scaled that staircase. Not only had she lost all of her extra weight in a mere three-day weekend “retreat” at my mom’s house, but there were other traits she possessed that I envy. Here is the work-in-progress list:
Tulip has no qualms about plopping down in the middle of any room, even with strangers in it, putting her leg up over her head, and performing her self-cleaning process. I often have to remind her she’s a lady. When I do, she freezes, paw and leg pointed delicately in the air, shoots me a dirty look, and resumes slurping. And she doesn’t skip any parts.
She is also shameless in terms of some rather embarrassing bathroom routines, and I don’t even mean her own. I’m referencing the private ones she involves herself in without an invitation. When visiting my mom, my brother was shocked that Tulip joined him up close and personal for his morning toilet routine, nuzzling his legs furiously as he grabbed for the toilet paper.
She also waits patiently for me to exit the shower every morning, only to hop in, glance up at me innocently, then begin slurping my warm, still-soapy water remnants right from the shower floor. Yum. Not to say I’d care to partake in any of the above shameless activities, but I still wish I cared as little about what people think as my cat does!
Tulip’s calico beauty is truly effortless. Now that it’s winter, she burrows herself down under the blankets and makes a little cocoon to sleep. She’s so tiny you can barely tell she’s in the bed — it just looks like a part of the blanket is bunched up. When my alarm goes off at 6:15, I reluctantly throw off the covers and shuffle into the bathroom.
Usually my first glimpse of myself in the mirror reveals half a head of hair that’s presentable and half that’s matted against my face. Also, since I lack a fur coat and use flannel sheets in the winter, they tend to bunch up on my pillowcase, resulting in a huge crease across my cheek. So, great, I have wrinkles, too. Then, even though I usually take my makeup off before bed, I still find some mascara smudged under my eye, punctuating the dark circles already there. Good morning, Kate!
Tulip, on the other hand, slides out from the covers sporting perfectly smooth, soft fur. Her green eyes are wide and sparkling and she prances off the bed in one leap, already looking her best and ready to start the day. Damn her.
I do consider myself a reflective person, but I’d be lying if I said I ever really reflect calmly. Usually it’s more of a sporadic stream of consciousness where I beat myself up for this decision or that decision, or I do reflect calmly and meaningfully but it’s for five minutes before I rush on to my next task. Tulip, however, is calm and reflective and makes no apologies for it.
Last week, we had a snow day and I got the privilege of staying home from work. I immediately made a list of everything I should be doing, then felt guilty for sitting down and enjoying my coffee before starting the list. Tulip proceeded to spend at least an hour perched daintily in the window gazing at the falling snow. She looked so serene and peaceful, like she had all the time in the world …
What traits does your cat have that you’re a little bit jealous of? Share in the comments below!
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