Did you know I am an ailurophile? I will say that my husband is as well, and others in my family.
This is the term used to describe a cat lover, derived from the Greek word “ailouros” which means cat and the suffix “phile“, meaning lover. While I don’t discriminate against dogs, I must confess that I am indeed drawn to cats, and these felines easily win over my heart and attention.
For years, we have loved the cats that have come into our lives, directly or through friends and family and we hold a special place in our heart for Peanut, Basil, Bella, L’ami, Câlin, Sox, and Hope but currently it is Toby that captures our heart.
(Hope, looking like the princess she is)
“A dog has an owner, a cat has staff”
Toby is my daughter’s pet and he has been with her over 6 years now. This black and white little cutie makes me smile every time he comes to visit, or when my daughter shares a photo.
Felines are easy pets. They are naturally playful, and will seek affection from you, on their own terms of course. They evoke the spirit of independence, cleverness, and curiosity, Unlike dogs however, you can leave them unattended for long periods of time.
We regularly cat sit when my daughter travels. It takes a day for Toby to adjust to his new surroundings, even though he recognizes us within a few hours.
He has habits with us, that he does not show at home. For example, Toby has learned that he can wake me at 5am, first by purring on my pillow, and even resorting to pulling my hair if I ignore him, so that I will get up to feed him and play with him. I am told he would never try this at home, and has learned that he must wait until 7am most days before waking his human.
But most of the time, we find Toby doing what cats do best, lounging around and watching us go about our day. Toby regularly will take a patrol around the apartment, checking and monitoring the status of his food and water dish and will quickly sound the alarm when his food supply has dwindled to one quarter of his daily portion, howling and pestering us until the rations have been filled again. I am sure he is convinced that he lives with incompetent humans, and he barely escapes starvation unless he sees to it.
With that business handled, he gladly resumes his post in the lounging spot of the day. A cat’s life is a hard life.
When he needs attention, he will lie across my IPAD keyboard or begin to chirp and meow in what he thinks is human language. I find it remarkable how pets find ways to communicate with humans, picking up on cues that help us understand what they want. Toby has unique signs and acts to help us know when he wants to be cuddled, fed, or when he thinks we need to be doing something.
We can learn a lot from the way a cat lives its life. A cat reminds us we need to set some time aside each day for relaxation, and to enjoy some alone time. They pay attention to self grooming, just as we should. And they remind us not to take things too seriously by always making time for play and exploring what we are curious about.
I look forward to visits from Toby, its just enough to quell my need for a pet and leaves us looking forward to more time with him through funny Snapchat memes that my daughter will send.