19 January 2009

A day in the life of William

Our tabby cat William is definitely a creature of habit. He has two distinct behaviours - sleepy (usually asleep, but always deigning to be fussed) and awake. When I say awake it's difficult to describe William when he's in an active mood. You just have to experience it. Not that he goes running around that often (though he does have his kittenish days) - it's just that he cannot sit still and the least little thing will get him off his seat and into a different room. William is unusual in that whilst he does like his comforts - duvets and warm spots he also likes to sit on uncomfortable things. Paper is a favourite (important documents being his preferred choice, though he will settle for post), although nettles, gravel, wood, books, tools, boxes are all good substitutes.

A typical day in the life of William could be described as follows:

'Early' morning - William will be found sleeping on the duvet on the sofa, refusing to be woken by anything as boring as humans or breakfast.

Between 10 and 11 William will allow the postman, the phone or the first pangs of hunger to wake him up, will saunter to his bowl, sniff disdainfully at its contents and then either pop outside for a drink at the pond or back to the lounge for another nap.

Late morning - mid-afternoon William usually enters an active phase, characterised by following whoever is 'fortunate' enough to be present in the house. When I say 'following', William really likes to lead, but he lacks the confidence. This results in him jumping up immediately after you, fighting you through the door and then remaining under your feet, but usually slightly ahead as you proceed to another room. Inevitably if you end up in the kitchen he will use the opportunity to see if there is anything worth eating in his bowl. If Ian or I choose to do something upstairs during these periods William likes to 'help'. He will help you move furniture by standing under or behind it, help you take a bath by howling outside the bathroom door, help you work by sitting on the study windowsill, scattering things on the desk on route.

William helping to write Christmas cards.

Each time William reenters the lounge he likes to take a scratch at his scratch post (provided that he can find it - it usually gets moved around every 3 or 4 days).

When he does decide to eat, after eating a couple of mouthfuls William will go sit in front of his catflap, stare outside to make sure that there is nothing dangerous lurking and will then slowly proceed through the flap for a bathroom trip. William really takes his time going through the flap, often leaving a paw or two or tail behind for a minute whilst he assesses the situation (not that he's ever reversed back through when I've been watching). Though he leaves the house very slowly he usually hurtles back in and if it's a 'good day' leaves a lovely trail of muddy footprints when he does. William will then proceed back to his bowl for a few more mouthfuls, but likes to leave some food for a snack later on.

Although William will leave the lounge at the same time as Ian or I he will always come in just after we have sat down. This would be fine if the hall wasn't freezing cold and if William didn't insist on opening the door wide and letting in a draft. I have not the patience to count how many times I shut the door after him on a typical day. Luckily this should change when we have central heating.

In between active periods and from late afternoon 'til human dinner time William will sit in front of the lounge fire (if it's on) on a sofa or will look out the window. Often he has to compete with the washing for a spot in front of the fire, or perhaps something more unusual like a pile of drying pine cones or some wellies that got left out in the rain the 'right' way up (ooops). If he isn't tired William will sit upright staring at the flames, it being his equivalent of television.

Human dinner time can be a sleepy time or an active time. If it's an active time it invariably results in William being thrown out of the lounge for unacceptable attempts at stealing food.

Early evening can be an active period, but late evening is always sleepy time. William likes to sit in front of the fire until he's fully roasted and will then come and sit on a knee if one is available. After a little while on a knee he likes to get off and sit between us, a very safe place with potential for fussing on both sides. This is generally the time at which William is most relaxed.

When we go to bed William usually goes outside, usually waiting until we're almost asleep to come back in (for some reason our catflap is very loud).

I'm looking forward to seeing how his patterns of behaviour change when we have central heating and no longer use the lounge fire.


Bryony said...

Possibly my favourite post ever. Definitely suffering from 12 years of cat deprivation syndrome. xxx

Graham said...

What a lovely, peaceful, reflective posting. I could feel myself settling down into the chair and relaxing as I read.