I write my column at a twenty one inch computer screen, it fit into our computer desk like a jet engine fits into a Chevy Vega. I should benefit from the extra screen space but I only see what gets under, around or past our cats, Magoo and Twitch. They have learned, from years of association, that to sit in front of the computer screen is to access the world of dairy products.
Now the cats aren’t surfing the internet to locate the finest in cottage cheese or yogurt, it’s a much more simple process. I love yogurt and especially cottage cheese, to the point that I wonder if people are staring at me when I’m in the dairy section “yet again” at Hugo’s. I almost always eat my curds and whey in front of the computer and surf the net like with the voracity of a nerd back from summer camp. I like my cottage cheese with pepper sprinkled on top and my choice of yogurt is vanilla with granola sprinkles (sprinkles may be a kind description-I use quite a bit.) Both of these dairy superstars are filling and full of calcium and protein and they just plain taste great.
Great taste is where Magoo comes into the picture. Cats love milk and it’s the basis for cottage cheese and yogurt. I can eat a bowl of yogurt without attracting either Magoo or occasional dining partner, Twitch, until I’m near the bottom of the bowl. I have a habit of scraping the bottom of the bowl which creates a keening, black board screech that apparently mimics a cat dinner bell. Magoo makes his overweight entrance then sits in front of the computer screen and waits for me to finish. If Twitch shows up, the cats take turns licking the bowl for five seconds at a time until the bowl is pre-cleaned and ready for the dishwasher. If Magoo goes solo, he just buries his beautiful black head in the bowl, comes up frosted, gulps some air, then checks for encroachment by his brother, Twitch.
I love this little tradition; even if it means everything appears in bold cat-shaped relief on my computer screen. I love to “mother” the cats by wiping off their milk mustaches after they eat and helping them share what they find at the bottom of my yogurt bowl. The whole experience opens up a lot of warm feelings that mirror what a parent must feel; I won’t feel silly when I tell you we love our cats. Pets offer so much too people; they are more than the stupid little clowns people make them out to be. If you take care of them properly, you learn the joy of embracing responsibilities in life. If you love them and are affectionate, you’ll find that loyalty is something you earn and not something you demand. Unfortunately, animals also detect the bad in people as evidenced by cases of abuse, which teaches us to be careful of whom we trust to be near our loved ones-especially children who are defenseless as are pets.
My relationship to animals has always been a learning experience but like many friendships it’s good to keep things fresh; maybe next week I’ll give the cats a new reason to sit in front of the computer screen; you think they like Chinese food?