Everything changes. No matter how hard we try to keep a wonderful moment from ending or changing, sooner or later, it ends and slips away like sand between our fingers. That’s all right. When we continue to step out and have new experiences, our good memories keep, and we add to them.
Cats change too. Cleo, my friend and writing associate, is a case in point. Now that Cleo is nearly two years old, and no longer a teenager, she has put away kitten attitudes. Cleo has developed not only a mind of her own but very definite ideas about how her world should be.
In the past, when she was younger, Cleo would come in at night, climb into her box on my reference file, and sleep the sleep of the just. Not so much anymore. Now that spring is here and warmer nights have come, Cleo enjoys lying on my front porch in the evening to watch the sun go down over the hills on the west side of Bachelor Valley.
However, lately, when I call her, she still comes to the sliding glass door that leads into my workroom but, instead of coming in for the night, she tells me how sorry she is not to come in. She would like to stay out a bit longer.
It is a pure cat apology. I know it is an apology because she rubs her furry cheek against the glass and gives me a guilty, yellow-eyed glance. She is saying, as clearly as any cat can say, ‘Not yet, Thanks anyway, but tonight I have decided to stay out late.’
The first time it happened, I thought I could cure her of such disobedient behavior. I Said, “Okay, Cleo, you want to stay out? Good. I’m sleepy, and I’m going to bed. Stay out if you like. I am not getting up in the middle of the night to let you in when you change your mind.”
That’s what I said, and that’s what I did. The trouble was, that was exactly what Cleo wanted. When, next morning, when there was no Cleo at the door begging to come in and asking my forgiveness for her rash behavior, I was stumped. Where had she gone?
I shouted, “Cleo.”
The neighbors are used to me calling her at night. They must have wondered if I knew what time it was. Calling Cleo before the neighbors were up, I probably shook half my neighbors out of their beds.
I soon got my answer. Cleo, that feline forager, had gone roving in the night on some sort of quest. It didn’t take her long to answer. She heard my voice from wherever she was and came like a shot. I let her in. She hadn’t missed me a penny’s worth.
Before she had her breakfast, she jumped to my bed and asked to have her fur brushed, and her head and ears scratched. Only then did she go for her bowl of kitty bits. With a carefree wave of her tail, she bid me good night, jumped to her box on my reference file, and went to sleep.
She didn’t move a muscle for ten hours. All during the day, she slept while I worked at my word processor, answered phone calls, and did my chores. Not until late afternoon did she get up, stretch and ask to go out.
I have given up trying to regulate Cleo’s comings and goings. I have a new cat. She does what she likes. She knows I will let her in whenever she asks and let her out upon request. Like everything else in life, Cleo has changed. She will continue to change. That’s all right and the way it should be. I think she has finally decided she can count on me. She still asks to have her head scratched and be petted. Ste still jumps to my work table and checks on my spelling as I type, so I know she is still MY cat.