Learning To Be A Cat 

Horace E. Fisher

Photo of Bandit.


Copyright 1998 by Horace E. Fisher
Cat Story Logo.

My human just left our house to go to work. That means that I will be inside all day by myself, but that is not so bad. I will have time to sleep a lot and do other cat things. As I think about it, learning to act like a cat was not to easy for me. For most felines that is not a problem. They seem to just naturally know what they should do. My ancestry and experiences may have been responsible for my slow start.

King or Prince should be my name but most people call me Bandito. I was probably given that name because my color pattern is such that I appear to have a mask on over my eyes. An older human comes by occasionally, I think he is a relative of my caregiver, and he calls me Skunky. He should know that just because I am colored like a skunk does not make me one. My ancestors would bow their backs and hiss at him if they were here. Cats with a pedigree like mine should not be talked to like that.

Bravery has never been one of my strong points. For months after I came to live with my human no one saw me but her. When someone came to visit I would hide under the bed until they left. I could hear them talking about me but I was determined that they would not even get a glimpse of me. It finally dawned on me that this was no way for a handsome cat to act. As time went on I had a little more courage and actually wanted to be seen, at a distance. Some of the folks who came to my house seemed nice enough. Eventually some of them were even permitted to touch me. The old human stopped in a few days ago and I let him rub my head. It felt good. I think that he may have petted a cat before.

From the beginning of my stay with my human I have tried to be helpful. When she is working at the computer my job is to watch her and help her if called upon. So far she has not asked for help. Another of my chores is to wake her up at four o'clock each morning. This is almost as important as the responsibility I have assumed to take care of the floor. If the carpet is free of items scattered about I do what any good pet would do. I clutter it up. In the process of playing with my toys it is possible that other things are included. Small things on a table can be easily moved about.

When the old human and his mate both come to see us they usually bring a small black and brown colored animal. It is not much larger than me. Someone called him a dog so that must be what he is. It seems that he never grooms himself. His hair is always out of place, even worse than mine was when I fell into the irrigation water. Every day is a bad hair day for him. They came for a visit a few days ago and I wanted very much to play with the dog. Animals need other animals sometimes. The dog ignored me. As much as I tried to get him to chase me the more detached he became. He no doubt remembers how rude I was to him when we first met. He wanted to play but I hid.

For many weeks I was not allowed to go out of the house by myself. Even if the lady who lives here was in the yard with me I still stayed close to the door and ran in if someone came by. I was content to stay inside and look out. My favorite station is just inside the screen door so I can see the activity in the back yard. When the weather is bad and the door that has no holes in it must be closed I go to station number two. There is a window behind the sink that looks out to the bird feeder. The sink is ideal for a place to view the activity and also it is a good place to sleep.

Eventually I was allowed to stay outside alone. Since I have become more courageous this is a very enjoyable time. I can hide in the bushes, chase birds and roll in the dirt. Up to this time I have been able to catch some feathers but no birds. Perhaps because my face is flat and my mouth does not protrude I may have a handicap in the bird catching activity. Lizards pose no problem except that my human gets irritated when she finds a tail that has become detached.

Since many of my ancestors spent their lives being pampered and coddled, my breed may have suppressed some basic urges that most cats have. I even have difficulty knowing what is live and what is not. I was so embarrassed, when after chasing what to me seemed to be a small animal, I discovered that it was a grape. When the alley cat types in our area pass by I think that possibly I could be like them. Down deep I know that this may not be possible, but I am working on it.

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Another story by Horace: The Legacy

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