Although having a cat is certainly a hobby in itself, I never guessed when I adopted my sweet little calico, Tulip, that she’d partake in all of mine.
As an elementary school teacher, I’m always hearing about the importance of helping our students become “well-rounded.” I do my part at school by implementing various teaching methodologies and learning activities, and the parents do theirs with the array of music lessons, sports, and religious education.
I never really considered it my job to make my pet well-rounded, other than maybe switching up her toys or food now and again. But it just kind of happened.
Perhaps the most unusual of my hobbies for Tulip to adopt was my dabbling in the trombone. When a brass band visited the elementary school where I work a couple of years ago, I was immediately enraptured by the trombonist. I won’t lie. I secretly thought my tall stature and long arms, perfect for pulling out the slide, would make me an instant star. Needless to say that wasn’t the case, and my interest only survived about a year. However, Tulip developed quite the rapport with my trombone.
The first time I brought home the trombone, I laid it out in all its magnanimity across my bed as I was changing after work. Tulip entered the room with trepidation, peering up at the mystery object in awe. She soon jumped up onto the bed and started circling it, sniffing at the brass and gingerly putting out one white paw to gently swipe it before quickly pulling away. The best part was when she poked her little head all the way inside the horn, her body sticking out, tail in a perfect upside-down “J.”
When I first started playing, she’d run out of the room. (Oh wait, maybe everyone did that?) But gradually she began making her way back, perching herself next to the music stand with her little pointy ears upright and wiggling. Sometimes, when I’d stop playing, she’d let out the closest sound her high-pitched kitty voice could make to the deep tooting of a trombone. I believe she might still be harboring dreams of a two-person band.
Throughout my exploration of the trombone, I had another hobby which I’ve never stopped. I intend to be a lifelong advocate of what I call my form of antidepressants — fitness! I’m a huge fan of Jillian Michaels workout DVDs, but I love anything that really gets my heart pumping in the privacy of my own living room, where no one can interrupt nor make me feel self-consciously sweaty!
Of course, I should have known that with Tulip around, my workouts would no longer be private. At first, Tulip did what one might expect a cat to do. As I was “digging deep” and sweating my face off, Tulip was napping peacefully on the back of the couch.
I’m not sure what it was, but when I brought home a new workout mat, all of the sudden Tulip’s nap no longer appealed to her as much. Maybe she just wanted to shed her winter weight like the rest of us, but she enjoyed furiously kneading my squishy mat as I tried to do crunches. She also began to sniff at my warm-up sweatshirt that I had thrown aside, burying herself in it, rolling around, and swiping at the drawstrings. Her favorite was to curl up on one end of the mat, forcing my already 5’11” frame halfway off in order to sustain my workout.
She continues to find it entertaining to wait until I’m on my back doing chest flies to swipe at my free weights as they approach the floor. Her ultimate fave? “Helping” me with my leg raises while perched on top of my stomach. At least I’m adding to the burn …
Those who know me well are privy to the guilty pleasure on my list of hobbies: reality TV. Being that I often miss my shows during their regular airtime due to other (more important?) obligations, I sometimes find myself curled up in bed watching them streaming on my laptop. Who ends up joining me in this mindless, relaxing activity?
You guessed it. Tulip loves to nuzzle up next to me and the laptop, and we generate enough heat to make her quite the cozy cat. But what’s most amusing is how Tulip actually appears interested, even invested, in Jersey Shore and The Bachelor. She rests her chin on the keyboard for the duration of the show and stares intently at the screen, not even getting up for a snack break. I actually think my cat has a crush on D.J. Pauly D.
Somewhat unintentionally, I seem to be raising a pretty well-rounded cat.
Does your cat enjoy any of your hobbies? Let me know in the comments!