There are two cats in the Livslevandes family. Junior is the youngest, adoptive brother to Elder Cat.
Junior has been living with us for three years now. Like Elders, his mother lives within our extended family so we got to know him while he was very young. He barely had his eyes opened the first time we met him.
He is very social with mr L and me, no matter what we do he is generally really close by. (Except if we take out the vacuum cleaner – that is a sure way to make him disappear out of sight.) Any open door or drawer is an invitation, and no matter how many times he has already checked it out he must always go inside to investigate (with the exception of the cleaning cupboard, where the dreadful vacuum cleaner lives).
When we adopted Junior, Elder Cat was 7 years old and getting very dull, bordering to lethargic. We were a bit worried about him, and when we learned about the kittens-to-come we decided to take one on for Elders sake. He didn’t much appreciate the newcomer at first, but after a week or so he accepted him. And our scheme worked, Junior has livened up Elder quite a bit. They are both pretty long-haired cats, so when they have a wrestlingmatch (happens almost daily) there will be tufts of hair everywere… No bloodshed or true aggression though, just a friendly tumble every once in a while.
Junior is curious, and quite a fast thinker. We never needed to train him to wear a harness or wait by the backdoor for us to put it on, he observed Elders routine a couple of times and got it all by himself. At the cabin, far from roads with heavy traffic and neighbours who don’t like cats, they get to go outside whenever they want. We installed a cat-door a couple of years back, Junior needed us to show it to him once and instantly got the point. (Elder needed some coaxing, but hey – he is middleaged, we’re a bit more cautious too nowadays.)
But the first summer, when Junior was barely one year old, he gave us quite a scare. He decided to do a walkabout, I guess… or maybe got lost. Whatever the reason, he went out and didn’t come home at night. Nor the next night. We were out looking, of course, calling and searching. Elder followed us around the woods, but not a sign of Junior. Somebody told us there had been hawks around, and my heart sank. And then it started raining as well… It was a sad evening in the Livslevandes cabin. But then, at 3 am, I was woken by Junior, standing on my chest, butting my face and demanding food, smelling of bog and thoroughly drenched. One of the happiest moments of my life!
Now that Junior is 3 years old, he is a fullgrown cat, and getting a bit more lazy. He is very good at showing us when he wants some attention – mostly by simply placing himself in the way (on the morningpaper when mr L is reading it, for example, or in front of the computer when I’m writing).
I try to take after him in this – by showing what I want or need in a way that others can understand, I increase the chance of getting it. Unlike before, when I was afraid to be “demanding”, and instead hoped that people would read my mind and see that underneath my bravery I wanted help. (I haven’t tried laying myself on mr L’s morningpaper yet, though… but who knows, the day might still come.)
In many ways, I think cats have a saner grip of how to handle life than humans do.