What the Cats Think

Kel and Ruby: Supervisors of PT

Many thanks to all who sent Jim good wishes for his knee replacement surgery.  I’m happy to report that overall things have gone well.  He’s up and walking again (with a walker) and diligently applying himself to his PT.  Sure, there have been rough times, and there are certain to be more rough times, but he’s doing as well as could be expected.

Before the surgery, Jim and I did everything we could to prepare our household for the disruption that was certain to follow.  We stocked up on groceries.  We did lots of laundry.  We made up the bed in the guest room, just in case one or more of us would need it.  (We have.)  But there was one important issue we couldn’t deal with in advance: We couldn’t prepare the cats for all the changes to come.

(This is not to slight the guinea pigs but, although they interact with us, as long as someone shows up with treats and rotates them through their various domiciles, they’re not too picky as to which of their humans it is.)

Halloween night, when I staggered in from more than twelve hours at the hospital, the immediate question of “Where’s dinner?  In fact, now that we’re on the topic, where was lunch?” rapidly changed to “What did you do with Jim?”

The most immediately upset was Ogapoge, who thinks Jim is his personal property.  However, when I crawled into bed, I felt every cat take a turn walking up the bed and inspecting where Jim should be.  When they didn’t find him, they came and poked me, as if I might be hiding him.  However, they weren’t overly upset.  The last few months, Jim has had to be away for several days at a time, and they figured that this was more of the same.

They were more indignant when I vanished again on Thursday to spend most of the day at the hospital with Jim.  I work at home, you see, so I am supposed to be available at all times.  It probably didn’t help matters that I came home with Jim’s scent on me.  I found myself imagining the cats conferring, wondering if I might be keeping Jim imprisoned somewhere.

When on Friday I brought Jim home, the cats’ initial jubilation changed to consternation.  Jim smelled wrong.  He was walking funny – and never without this horrible rattling thing in front of him.  Again, Ogapoge was the most upset.  His pet was back but changed.  Kwahe’e was fairly mellow about matters but, at sixteen, he’s seen the world.  He came over, buffed Jim’s shoes, then went back to his basket.  Keladry was watchful, while Persephone – who is the most social – was mostly concerned because Jim would not let her jump up to sit on his lap from the right (the surgical side), only the left.

By this writing, the cats have all adjusted to the change.  Keladry has appointed herself Supervisor of PT.  Ogapoge forgave Jim when he learned Jim could still play with him and feed him – and that the rattling monster didn’t seem inclined to do anything without Jim’s supervision.  Kwahe’e figured out he could get up on the guest bed to check on Jim, so that was fine.  Persephone decided that the amount of time Jim spends sitting means there is more lap time available.

So we’re settling into a new normal here.  I’m not back to writing yet, and I probably won’t be for a while more, since my creative energy is going into finding new ways to do old tricks.  However, like the critters, I’m relieved to have Jim home again – and I appreciate how the rattling of the walker lets me know when he’s up and about and might need my help.

I hear it now.  Later!



5 Responses to “What the Cats Think”

  1. Louis Robinson Says:

    Good stuff!

    Trivia question for Jim: does he run into chicken bones often? If so, do they ever turn up before the arrival of Europeans on the site? [Yes, I’ve gotten back to reading Why Did the Chicken Cross the World]

    • janelindskold Says:

      I just asked Jim… He says that they do sometimes find chicken bones on historic Spanish sites. The earliest ones he personally can recall are from around 1680, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t earlier ones. As far as he knows, they never turn up before Europeans. Please remember, his specialization is the American Southwest, so this should not be taken as blanket for the entire continent!

      • Louis Robinson Says:

        Tell him “thanks”, and it was precisely for the Southwest that I was wondering. I know that horses moved into the native population ahead of direct contact, and given the general utility of chickens [and the complex trade networks of the region] wouldn’t have been surprised if the same held for them.

  2. Harried Harry Says:

    Jane, I’m very happy to hear Jim is home and doing well. I’m fortunate since I’ve never had “replacement” surgery, but I do understand the challenges of having critters who don’t understand what is going on with the People in their lives. I”m just very happy they have settled down and are allowing you two to work out how to adapt to the temporary condition you find yourselves involved in.

    One of my dogs (Moli) has a collar that chimes as she moves. We know about where she is by the noise of the collar. If I don’t get up early enough for them, she will come into the bedroom and jump on the bed till I wake up enough to let her know I have heard her. Since I don’t usually get up till around 7:00 but she gets up at 0530, I end up having several wake-up calls.

    Having critters to care for us is a blessing but, at times, it sure plays havoc with our schedules. Best wishes for Jim’s recovery and for you to recharge your batteries. Just remember to take your time, jot down a note or two, and return to work after the first snow!

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