Since today is National Respect Your Cat Day, I thought it only fitting that I invite Katya, my Maine Coon, to tell you about our life out in the Alaskan bush from her own perspective.
You'll have to forgive my Person, she means well, but I'm sure all of you, like me, have thought since I first appeared on her blog that it would have been better written by me from the start. Better late than never. That is one thing I have to praise my Person for. She may be slow, but she always gets there in the end...with lots of encouragement. And some discipline.
For instance, I have trained her to recognize The Back. When she has done something inappropriate, like ignore my announcement that it's time for a treat, or to have my bedding changed, I will find the most prominent position in front of her--sometimes on a stool at the kitchen table, sometimes in front of the couch, sometimes in front of her laptop--and sit with my back to her. I can keep this up for an hour. I'm happy to report that, after a little training, she is now fairly prompt at recognizing that she has misbehaved in some way once she sees The Back. She will then, with pointed help on my part, figure out where she has gone astray and correct her behavior.
This is good, because my Person is worryingly dense when it comes to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. For one thing, she's always trying to stay up past her bedtime. I can't tell you how many times I've had to resort to giving her The Back until she realizes her shortcomings and will get into bed and turn off the light. Sometimes I have to go to the neighbor's house and nearly rupture my vocal cords informing her that it's time to quit jibber-jabbering and head for bed.
She is so helpless that I've made it my business to escort her about her business whenever she leaves home. I try to educate her by encouraging her to take paths through intriguing, dense undergrowth, but she boringly sticks to the well-traveled paths.
If her blogs are bland, it's through no fault of mine, I assure you. When she's taking pictures of a scene, I always try to spice it up by putting myself in the frame. I have a better understanding than she does, apparently, that every picture is improved by having a Maine Coon in it. I'm sure you'll agree.
I take no joy in exposing my Person's faults, but it has to be said that she is sadly ungrateful. Sometimes, when she has been especially good, going to bed on time, giving me treats when they're required, changing my bedding daily, if not hourly, I will bring her a little something.
Sad to say, but she was badly brought up. Despite all my later attempts to straighten her out, she has never learned the gracious way of accepting a present, perhaps preserving it and mounting it on the wall. She could at least take pictures of myself and my trophy and post them on her blog. I'm sure all of you would have a proper appreciation for my prowess as a verminator. Instead, her response, every time, is to dispose of my gifts as quickly and squeamishly as possible. It embarrasses me to say this since she attempts to project an image of a tough bush woman, but it's true.
Here's another issue I have with her related to my graveyard shift on the vermin eradication duty (code name: VERAD): there are times, like night before last, when I am so focused on my job that I lose track of where the tide is. On this occasion it cut me off so that I couldn't return to the floathouse where I keep my Person and where she maintains my bedding and food dish.
Naturally, I took up a position as close as I could to the house and informed her of the situation. And I kept informing her, as loudly as I could all night long without taking any breaks. Until about four a.m. when the tide finally went back out and I could return to the house. I immediately went to my Person's bed to let her know the situation had been resolved (no thanks to her), but she was amazingly cranky. Apparently, she didn't realize that I was the one who had something to complain about.
It is spring now, which is when life becomes interesting. (I tried to get my Person to realize the insanity of snow, but she refused to put an end to it when asked nicely. Even The Back had no effect. There is nothing she likes more, apparently, then shoveling snow all hours of the day. I worry about her.)
I'll have to end here. I've noticed that there are ravens swaggering about on the beach like they own the place and since my Person won't do it, I'll have to go out and set them straight. Also, there is gravel to be rolled in to help dispose of my winter fur. Then there are the mink that need to be chased, vermin to be eradicated, small, hopping, scratching birds that obviously want to be stalked. Who am I to disappoint them?
See you later, vermin haters.
Special thanks to Terry for the idea and for many other reasons.
If you're not tired of reading about animals, my next column at www.capitalcityweekly.com, appearing Wednesday 29, 2017 is titled: "Twenty-Plus Dogs."
Tara Neilson (ADOW)