Monday, August 11, 2008

My cats are antiliterary

My reading has dropped off in the past few years and I've finally figured out that it's because of my cats. When I got the munchkins, I expected them to be selfish and aloof. Such is not the case. They are selfish, but they can't leave me alone. Everywhere I go in the house, the cats follow like ducklings. They hate my being engaged in doing nothing, which is what reading is to them.

If I sit, Rhiannon, sweetest cat on earth, must sit with me and snuggle. If I don't pet her, she rubs her face all over my hands and head-butts my legs. If I had four arms and two heads, I could hold the book and read while petting Rhiannanon and burbling embarrassingly inane things to her. As it is, the book gets put on hold until she settles down. After about five minutes of reading she gets up and goes nearby where she bides her time for another five to 10 minutes, and then she hops up next to me rubs my hands with her face and head-butts my legs. This cycle repeats all evening.

Grendel likes to sit nearby and look indignantly at me while I read. My principle crime at these times is not feeding him, which seems to be my raison d'ĂȘtre. I like to read in my leather recliner downstairs. I have a nice cherrywood chairside table next to it where I can put a glass of something potable to sip as I read. This is also Grendel's perch where he sits and intermittently mewls at me. After he gets no reaction he walks in circles around the chairside table always perilously close to tipping my drink. However graceful cats are reputed to be, I can tell you that they are just oafs with good PR. All the time he sits there, I'm distracted by the potential of a liquid disaster. Putting him off the table is like throwing a boomerang: back he comes with a vengeance.

Finally, there's Maebh. Maebh the Merciless. For some reason she can't resist the pasty white flesh of my legs that appears tantalizingly through the gaps in the recliner's foot rest. When I least suspect it, she infiltrates herself beneath the extended foot rest and then reaches up and grabs my legs. Her claws only make pin-pricks, no full-on slashes, but it's enough to bring any literary activity to a halt while I chase her out from beneath the foot rest. She'll come back to the attack several times in a night.

I've armed myself with a squirt gun to keep her at bay, but it's still a matter of constant vigilance.

The upshot is that I think I'm getting stupider. I keep buying books, but they get scant attention from me because I'm reduced to reading in bed, which lasts all of five minutes before I'm out.

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