In honor of National Love Your Pet Day on Saturday, allow me to introduce our two cats, Bitsy and Thurston.

Without them, life would be a lot more dour during this pandemic.

The cats are our salvation, when it seems as if the pandemic may never end.

They keep us active, waking us up every morning, crying to go outdoors and expecting action.

Thurston, a large, 3-year-old orange and white cat, leaps on my desk in the morning as I work and acts as a sentinel, keeping one eye on me and the other out the window.

As fierce as he looks, he really is a marshmallow and somewhat of a scaredy-cat, catapulting off the desk if the doorbell rings or the snow plow comes rumbling down the street. He’ll head to the bedroom closet, where he hides in a corner and promptly falls asleep.

Bitsy, a 14-year-old gray and brown feline that looks like a small Maine coon, has been around long enough not to fear the things Thurston does. If we have company in the back yard, she revels in being able to trek around and greet everyone without Thurston around. He, on the other hand, escapes to the closet the minute he hears unfamiliar voices.

Bitsy is an intuitive creature who is fascinated by animals on television and will sit at attention to watch them until someone changes the channel. When she was younger, she would try to get inside the screen but now understands the difference.

Thurston, left foreground, and Bitsy lounge in the company of owner Amy Calder recently. The cats have been much appreciated companions throughout the pandemic, Calder says. Amy Calder/Morning Sentinel

Thurston and Bitsy are creatures of habit. In the evenings when we read or watch TV, Bitsy curls up on a red throw beside Phil on the leather loveseat and goes to sleep, her four paws extended in the air and belly exposed. Thurston lands on the long sofa next to me, noses the blue afghan my mother knitted years ago, looks me briefly in the eye, turns around and plunks himself down, also to sleep.

“We are all in our positions,” I say, scanning the scene.

The cats keep us entertained and busy.

They demand to go out and then insist on being let back in several times a day. In and out, in and out the kitchen door.

They chase errant leaves, threaten to pounce on squirrels as they hop along the top of the fence, taunt crows overhead and claw their way up the hemlock tree.

In warm weather, they stretch out on the deck in the sun at our feet, particularly pleased that we are outside with them.

Our cats are attuned to everything we do. If I am in the same room with Thurston, he listens for what Phil is doing down the hall, ears turned in his direction. The sound of the refrigerator door opening sends him flying toward the kitchen.

If we sleep too long, the felines let us know in no uncertain terms. Bitsy will nose up to my face and look me in the eye. If my eyes are closed, she’ll bat me gently on the cheek with her paw, sometimes with claws out. If I don’t get up, she continues this routine until I pull the covers over my head.

Those who don’t have or want pets may view them as an annoyance, with all they do and demand. We, respectfully, differ.

Our cats keep us on our toes, give us something to laugh about and dote upon.

Besides that, they are soft and warm, inquisitive and smart. They are very social animals.

Whoever would have imagined that these exquisite, furry little creatures who used to run in the wild would want to live with us inside four walls, cued to our every move, not caring a whim what we look like and loving us unconditionally?

When I ponder that for more than just a minute, I am truly amazed.

So, am I happy to celebrate National Love Your Pet Day?

Absolutely, and with pleasure.

Amy Calder has been a Morning Sentinel reporter 33 years. Her columns appear here Saturdays. She may be reached at [email protected]. For previous Reporting Aside columns, go to centralmaine.com.

 


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