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My furry visitor gets up close and personal

By William J. Dean / May 7, 2003



Jenny, my sister's cat, is spending 13 days with me. She is small, black and white, with green eyes. I observe those eyes close up, for her favorite position is lying on my chest, front paws folded under her, looking into my face. On occasion she sneezes, but her nose is small, so the impact is minimal.

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It is not easy to eat, sleep, or read with a cat lying on your chest. I shoo Jenny away. Sulking, she goes into the bedroom. Soon after, I hear the crash of falling objects. She has jumped on the bureau, and with her paws is systematically knocking things onto the floor, including a clock.

A cat with a temper, but also an affectionate cat. Wagner's "Parsifal" runs from 6:30 p.m. to midnight. When I return home from the performance, Jenny has not been fed for 16 hours, yet she craves affection far more than food.

She inspects every inch of my 3-1/2 room apartment. She is drawn to dark, cluttered closets. I find her paw prints on the bathtub and sink.

At dawn, Jenny jumps onto my bed and walks over me, as if I were a rug, to take her position by the window. Like "sidewalk superintendents" on city streets, she closely observes construction work being done on a nearby brownstone. She also watches birds in trees.

Jenny and I play. She takes pleasure in simple games, like pushing a crumpled sheet of paper across the wooden floor with her nose and paws. A filbert I have placed on the floor is batted around like a hockey puck. She joyfully tangles herself in string from laundry bundles. She dances on the bedspread to prevent me from removing it at night.

Time passes quickly. The day for Jenny's departure arrives. I return home in the evening to find this note:

Dear Uncle Bill, Thanks for your very kind hospitality. I had a great time with you and hate to leave! I will try to adjust to my parents again, but will miss you.

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