The little felines are now what my daughter calls “cattins” — out of the kitten stage but not yet full-grown cats. As summer babies, the world they know has always been warm; they quickly learned how to hog the floor fans during the hottest weather.
Tabby, my four-year-old cat, is accustomed to the change of seasons. She moves from laying in any open window to high atop a book shelf, where the heat rises as the temperature drops.
Bitsy and Batman, the cattins, are trying to figure this cold weather thing out. Batman — who’s a girl despite her name — is pretty sure she’s supposed to go out whenever the dog does. Forbidden to leave the house, she still lingers near the back door hoping to slide out as the dog trots in.
Her reaction was a blast of cold wind accompanied the dog on her return was humorous. She stuck her head toward the door, then pulled it back with as bewildered an expression as a cat can get. As if to verify that the recent Indian summer days had departed, she jumped into a nearby window and promptly jumped back down.
That first encounter with cold glass was quite a sensation, it seems. She shook like a shiver ran through her and promptly headed for the back of my recliner, one of her favored spots.
Bitsy and Batman are nearly inseparable, and apparently Bitsy got the message after watching Batman. She hasn’t gone near window or door since the cold rain began over the weekend.
Bitsy has the thick fur of her mother, which seems to serve as insulation. Poor Batman doesn’t have that heavy undercoat and seems bewildered as to why Bitsy still lingers on the back of the couch, beside the window even now.
Being frugal (some might say cheap) I tend to keep my thermostat low. Dressed in my sweats, with a cozy throw over my lap, I settled into my chair to watch TV the other night. Before long I had a companion.
Batman, thinking she was sneaking and I wouldn’t notice, carefully made her way from the top of the recliner down the arm and onto my lap. She settled behind the laptop I was using, no doubt thrilled with the heat it puts out.
Bitsy, on the other hand, found her own little nest. I knew she had to be close; it’s rare to see one cattin without the other. Sure enough, she’d scouted out the basket of clothes destined for the washer. Right on top was a fuzzy cardigan that is one of my favorites.
It was coincidence, I’m sure, since cats are supposedly color-blind, but that sweater is also gray. Blending in as she does, she managed to give the illusion that there was nothing in the basket but clothes. The dog passed her time after time and never noticed her once.
As true winter sets in, I suspect both the cattins will make the same discovery Tabby did the first winter with me: My electric blanket.
And I fully expect that on the first really cold night, I’ll not only have the big furry dog at the foot of the bed as usual but three cats under the comforter, on top of the heated blanket.
I just hope they leave room enough for me to climb in, too.
CATHIE SHAFFER can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org