I have been under the weather for the last week.
When I googled my symptoms and their progression, it was clear that it could be anything from Covid to your run-of-the-mill bug. I’m still exhausted and my body aches. These last few years have taught me the importance of listening to my body and it was begging for rest. So I have spent most of the last week either lying down or wishing that I could lie down.
When I was a kid, my mother would let me hang out on the couch when I was sick and I have long followed this tradition as an adult. This time was different. I craved darkness and the comfort of my soft bed with its warm, heavy blankets. Consequently, each day after work, I commuted from the living room to the bedroom, changed into warm jammies and stayed there for the remainder of the day and night.
Scout was thoroughly confused.
On a normal day, I’m up and moving a lot. At best, I sit in my chair and read or work at my desk but am still upright. I was horizontal about sixteen hours a day for several days in a row and he wasn’t sure what to think.
I didn’t really notice him for the first day or two. Then I looked up one evening and he was sitting on the bathroom counter, peering through the open door and studying me. We made eye contact and he started chattering so I tried to convince him to join me in bed.
Instead, he jumped down from the counter and trotted into the room where he stood next to the bed, complaining loudly before putting his paws up on the mattress to look up at me questioningly. Pretty soon, he hopped down, walked to his armchair and commenced scratching at the side. I yelled at him to stop but he continued while maintaining eye contact. I started to get up and, when my feet hit the floor, he stopped scratching and came toward me.
The expression on his face said “Good. Now that you’re up, let’s go.”
I laid down again and he resumed his scratching. I yelled, he ignored, I got up, and he stopped.
Some variation of this exhausting routine was repeated multiple times last week as he tried to coax me back into the living world. Occasionally he would shake things up by nipping at my feet. Mostly, though, he stayed close and napped with me. Periodically, he would administer a dose of his best medicine – he would curl up around my neck and purr.
Anyone who thinks that animals don’t feel and comprehend is badly misinformed. Anyone who thinks cats are aloof and uncaring has clearly not had a healthy relationship with a cat. It’s true that cats are independent and self sufficient. They don’t need your praise and they don’t require constant attention. But they are delightful little characters who look out for their humans, who are capable of communication if you know how to interpret it, and happy to receive attention on their terms.
My friend Nichola says that cats and toddlers are a lot alike – full of personality and energy but with a limited yet effective vocabulary.
Perhaps it’s because I brought him up from a kitten and have always talked to him like he is a little person that he follows me around better than most dogs would. Honestly, if I ever lose him in the house all I have to do is go to the bathroom and he’s right there. If he doesn’t show up, that usually means I shut him in the closet. The first time this happened, I walked into the bedroom to find two little outstretched paws peeking out from under the door.
It was both hilarious and sad. I felt a little guilty too.
He enjoys being toted around the house. We play toys. He waits for me at the door when I come home. He’s happiest when we’re together and he worries when I leave or when I’m not well.
Last week was miserable. I won’t lie. And honestly, I was a little annoyed at the scratching of the chair thing but his concern for my well being was touching. That sweet little cat did his darndest to help me and he did a nice job. Just call him Dr. Scout!