Each morning, after scarfing down breakfast, my sweet but oh-so-stubborn cat Lucie jumps up on the living room table. I originally thought it was mine to use as a dining spot and work space, but now, undaunted by the embroidered linen table cloth (once bereft of hairball stains), she has claimed the territory as her own, turning the table and cloth into a favorite resting place.
Of course, I can easily see why. Besides the soft, enticing scratchability of the cloth, the table’s placement next to wonderfully large urban windows offers an active view of blue skies and the vast outdoors. This includes visits from countless pigeons and butterflies she undoubtedly chases in her dreams.
As part of her morning ritual, the table also becomes the sacred place to lie on as she meows commands at me to brush her. And, lord knows, I have often been tricked into at least trying to do so — again and again. Like today.
Why do I use the word “tricked?” Because as I stand over her, ready and eager to brush my sweet cat, she evilly pulls away, always just barely within my reach. A dance of wills, with hers almost always winning. And yet I keep trying. Day after day. And she keeps smiling. (Yes, cats do smile. We just can’t see it.)
She’s used this nasty little ploy for years, and still I keep falling for it, each time stretching and bending as best I can to brush as much of the ever-replenishing fur as I can manage. But, over time, and as my own physical demands have made all that harder, it’s become a game I simply don’t enjoy. (But, I also don’t enjoy stepping on warm, freshly-delivered hairballs in the middle of the night.)
Today, as i stood over her once again, sensing that hidden smile, I stopped. Instead, I walked over to her second favorite perch, a small, carpet-covered board above her scratching post. I stood strong and determined, looking her right in her sneaky cat eyes, and I tapped the top of the perch with her brush. “C’mere, sweetie,” I firmly called to her. “C’mere!”
And she did!! She jumped right up on top of the post and sat ready for me to brush her. No … really!!
I actually got to brush her in a spot that is much easier for me physically, and where she seemed quite content to allow this to happen. Emphatic purring punctuated her royal consent. Even stranger, she had let me win!
I know that although some of you will tell this story in good faith, it will probably go forward to eventually be seen as just an urban myth. But today, as hard as it may be to believe, here in Brooklyn, New York, a real live cat actually did something an owner wanted it to do. And we both lived to tell the tale, each in our own way.