Valentine's day is not a day of hearts, roses and sweet nothings in this household. Oh no! Valentine's Day here is the birthday of the Feline Overlord of the Household, a day when we do (the usual and proper) reverence to He Who Must Be Obeyed.
A newborn kitten looks so innocent, but behind those "adore me" looks lurk a quick intelligence and a natural flair for leadership. Just give him a few months.
Last night at midnight I was awakened (for the second time since retiring at 10:45) by the poke of a paw on my face. This, plus head butts to my nose, signals that my services are required. He wanted to go out and sniff the night air, have a meal and a "cookie".
The night time meals are not just because he's spoiled, but are part of the routine we use to keep his blood sugar stable. He's diabetic, but by feeding him a very low carbohydrate canned cat food and feeding him a spoonful at a time both day and night he has not required an insulin injection in over three years.
I put a teaspoon of food in his dish, put out two "cookies" (pieces of high-grade crunchy cat food). Then, as expected I stand by the door and wait for the scratching that signals his desire to come back in.
Ten minutes later I stumbled back to bed, he curled up with his arms around my neck, buried his face in my shoulder, and we went back to sleep.
At 4:00 am he woke me by vigorously scratching on the wall by the bed. "Service please." Out to sit on the step for five minutes, a meal, a cookie. Back to bed, with him snuggled up "spoon" style.
5:25, a poke in the face, accompanied by an insistent meowing. He has an indoor box, but he doesn't like using it. Outside for ten minutes, several of which are spent in loud and vigorous excavation of the cat box.
6:45, He wakes me by poking at me again. I give up and get up. The first things done are: 1) let the cat out 2) start the coffee 3) let the cat in 4) feed the cat 5) hold the cat in my lap.
You may well understand why we refer to him as the "Overlord". Today he's been fed, brushed, walked, held and rocked, petted, played a game of ball, knocked my jade tree out of its pot onto the floor, stood in the middle of the kitchen sink (which had water in it) to play in the water from the tap and left big wet tracks all over the counter. Now he is on the sofa, belly up, enjoying a well-earned rest.
Today is Sal's 12th birthday. He's slowing down, he limps a bit, he sometimes groans in his sleep and I worry about him and love him dearly. He is a delightful and engaging companion who is very adept at communicating what he expects from us. But he gives as much as he asks for.
Happy Birthday Salvador!