Summer is the height of his highness’s annual hunting season, during which he goes on many thrilling and exciting expeditions around the house. Valiant and brave, every year Emperor Julius adds more insects and creepy-crawlies to his victory count. And usually it is a good year, giving him many stories that he can brag about by the fireplace come winter.
His highness has honed his hunting skills over the years, learning when exactly to leap at the glass windows. He knows how to tear down blinds at just the right moment, how to swat at dust bunnies with elegance, and how to stare into space at night in just the right way to scare the humans when they’re home alone.
His tastes have also evolved with time and experience. He now knows not to bother with most bugs, saving his energy for the juiciest and best. Dog can take care of the boring, plebeian daily fare…pill bugs, june bugs, house flies, the average spider just trying to mind its own business in a quiet corner. Ticks and mosquitoes are the humans’ department. The truly dangerous ones — wasps, though they buzz so delightfully — the humans can deal with too.
His highness saves his razor-sharp claws for just the right catch: the challenge, the speed, the temptation of none other than the fruit fly.
Stealthy and quiet, this adversary poses a delightful challenge. He has to stay on his toes, all four paws at the ready. Sight and precision is essential here, all the more so in dim evening light. He must leap, track, and wait, eyes dilated to their full murderous potential. Humans and Dog watch him in awe, amazed by his predatory dance. How he leaps! How he bounds! The fruit fly is just within his royal reach!
Sometimes the blinds come with him. Sometimes the curtain. Sometimes mementos on the mantle. But thankfully his Highness always walks away unscathed, ready to hunt another day.
As he curls up in his window-bed, he sharpens his claws and dreams of the next time. One day, the fruit fly will be his. Until then, he naps.
For a cat, play can be a good way to get exercise or even just learn how to respect themselves and others. Kittens play all the time whereas adult cats may or may not play as they age. I don’t mind playing with cats as I know it’s good for them as it is for me too.
Lily is one of those cats who was born inside a house. She has never lived on the street. She rarely goes outside. In fact, she wouldn’t go out even when there was a screened in porch where she could be safe. She just wasn’t interested.
I suppose there’s nothing wrong with that. Being outside can be dangerous. There are too many humans who just can’t be trusted. It’s too easy to get into a fight with another cat. There are cars that don’t see cats. Death can chase us at every turn when we are outside.
So, when Lily got into her new home, she didn’t know what was going on. She stepped outside because her favorite human was outside too. Then her human went back inside the house. Lily panicked. She was outside by herself and didn’t know how to behave. She cried until her human opened the door to let her back in.
Lily hasn’t tried to go outside since them. The only time she goes out now is when her favorite human puts a leash on her and takes her out onto the patio. Lily doesn’t really like it even though she gets a good brushing.
It really is much safer inside. I used to be an indoor and outdoor cat. It’s not pleasant outside. So, if you can get a good human to take care of you, you don’t have to deal with the outside and all of its dangers. It’s just good to have a good home and not have to worry about getting wet in the rain or snow. Or mean dogs or humans who could hurt or even kill you.
After I grew up, play wasn’t something I liked to do that much. However, I have learned play can be a good way to learn things. My girl understands this and has told me it’s okay to play as an adult. Sometimes I’d take her advice. I think she’s correct in thinking play is a good thing for cats and it’s a good form exercise.
I remember as a kitten my brothers and I would play and learn how to respect each other better because of that play. I think that’s probably why our mother encouraged us to play. So, not all learning has to be painful. It can be fun and learned in different ways.
Just don’t expect me to play very much now. It’s just not my way. I’m not silly enough to play all the time.
We are now halfway through the year, and your royal Highness thought he was getting a lucky break this past month. It has now been sixteen months that your feline leader has had to cohabitate with Dog. Although relations with the slap-happy Dog have improved in recent months, the imperial jester and man-at-arms still can prove to be quite a nuisance in his highness’s imperial schedule.
Except for brief hours of reprieve during things called “walks”—the mere mention of which makes Dog froth at the mouth—the canine has remained a near-constant companion for Emperor Julius for all these many months. And while his highness has made the best of it, Dog never fails to annoy after long enough.
But last month, something changed. Dog went away in the car. Dog often goes away in the car, but he almost always returns before his highness can even get a good nap in. Dog was gone for a long time. It seemed as if he might not return. His highness was hopeful, but he knew he had been tricked in this way before. For two days and one night, he reigned supreme and alone, just as he used to.
When Dog returned, he was different. He didn’t annoy the emperor or chase him or try to sniff his tail. He was tired, and he smelled of The Place of Troubles—the vet whose name shall be unspoken. His highness had never seen this side of Dog. So quiet, so tired, in need of comfort. Dog slept for three days, and his Highness found his heart moved. He slept next to Dog, keeping him company. Emperor Julius knows well the Place of Troubles, and he felt for Dog.
After those three days, he found he felt different about Dog. He no longer was repulsed by Dog’s smell or belongings. In fact, he began to find some comfort in Dog. He now counts Dog’s bed among one of his own.
Dog is feeling better now, and is on the road to being his annoying self again. But Emperor Julius will never see him the same way again, and now they have more to share.
There are outgoing cats who love it when company comes to visit their home. I am not one of those cats. My girl doesn’t tend to have much company and so it wasn’t a problem for me. I didn’t worry. If it would be a problem, she would make sure I had a safe place to hide and no one bothered me. I couldn’t ask for better.
But some cats do like meeting new people. They know it’s their house and like to believe the company is coming to see them. They will chat with the company and cuddle and do whatever else I wouldn’t have the audacity to try. I suppose if it makes them happy then great.
Just don’t expect me to like having company visiting my home especially if I don’t know them.
When a cat is ready to fight, they have already hissed and growled. The last warning is a scream and then they attack. Cat fights are disturbing to listen to. Whenever one breaks out near me, I tried to separate the cats. Usually all I have to do is shout. The cats stop and pretend they weren’t fighting. If necessary, I will dump water on them or spray them with a hose. I know that will stop them.
It’s not good to let cats fight as they can hurt each other causing all kinds of wounds and torn ears.
My girl has been busy learning how to do short films. This is the result. The first episode of her series entitled Writing Outtakes. It features one of her books per episode and of course several cats. Oh, and it includes herself and a friend of hers and a few others who show up from time to time. I know I’m excited to see how it will turn out. I do know that I will appear in the series at least once. Perhaps more.
Details on the first episode:
How Ali & her four cats get to Fairy Tale Heights.