To Habit, or Not To Habit . . .

I promise I will not overpopulate this blog with stories about our cat, but she did something the other day that reminded me way too much about human behavior. Hang with me a moment and I’ll bring this full circle.

Lexi’s stomach is our clock. When it’s time to eat she will come and get us if we’ve failed to appear in her feeding area with tinned cat food in hand. She sits and watches while we open the can, scoop part of it into her dish and mash it with a spoon before she digs in.

The other day I was working in my office and noticed it was nearly time to feed her, so I thought I’d just put her food out a bit early and continue on with what I was doing. I figured she’d find it when she came upstairs.

A short while later there she was–sitting beside me mewing for her food. “It’s in your room. Go get it,” I told her. (Yes, I really do talk to the cat.) She continued to sit there and look at me, so I got up from my desk and walked to her feeding area with her close behind.

I pointed to her dish and she glanced at it, then looked back at me: ‘Why aren’t you putting my food in there?’

We stood watching each other for a moment and then I decided to experiment. I picked up the spoon we leave on the counter, chopped around in the food I’d already put out, banged the spoon on the side of her dish like I always do, and then backed away. She went right to it and started eating, and I thought: holy cow, cat–that is entirely too ritualistic!

I know there are all sorts of good habits and good reasons to maintain them, but it made me wonder about those habits that we humanoids finance that maybe, sorta’, kinda’ don’t serve us, or others around us, very well.

Isn’t it funny what one cat and a can of cat food will conjure up?

      Author Note: Perhaps you think our cat is brain damaged. She’s just a cat who didn’t have a very good life before we rescued her from the local shelter, and we love her dearly.

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14 thoughts on “To Habit, or Not To Habit . . .

  1. Bec, love reading this blog. Congratulations to all of the hard work and determination on setting it up. My “kittens 3” enjoyed reading about Lexi and think that she might be someone that they would like to meet sometime. They wanted me to tell her that they have pictures on Facebook if she is interested! I love that I have another form of correspondance with you!!

    • Thanks for this, Deb. I’m enjoying this new “gig” a lot.

      My two favorite things: cats and communication. I shall go out to your page and see what the Kittens 3 are up to very shortly. Miss Lexi seems to have a cold–we see the vet on Thursday. Waaaaay too much sneezing going on.

      Feel free to share the blog with anyone you think might be interested in my site and it contents. (Don’t forget to check the Recipe Room every Monday, too!)

      I am mailing you the story tomorrow, so watch for it.

  2. Your blog site looks wonderful, Becky. Good for you! I will enjoy reading it and following along with all the articles and comments.

    Judy

    • Thank you, Judy! I am so glad to see you out here. Have been wondering about you, and hoping you are up and at it. Will email soon. I’ve been neck-deep in ‘techno-land’ lately.

      Be well.

  3. Hi Becky,

    I’m getting used to the habits of a cat and it’s pretty creepy. My daughter lives with me and her cat, Claire, pays a lot of attention to me when Dodie is at work. I’ve learned that the sound of her Meows mean different things. I can tell when she wants out and when she wants food. That’s a sweet, lady-like whiny meow. When her meow sounds deeper like its coming from a cave, that means she’s brought me a present. Sometimes it’s one of her toys or a moth that is barely alive. But the presents are getting bigger. She carried a two-inch lizard up the stairs and dropped it outside my office door. I put it back outside. Another day she brought something to the living room and meowed until I came downstairs to receive it. It was lizard seven inches long. I caught it and let it go, too. Then she caught something outside that she couldn’t hold onto an meow at the same time. It raised quite a ruckus: a blue jay was flapping it’s wings like mad as she held it in her mouth and dropped it only when I yelled NO over and over in my deepest voice. It got away and she and the grass were covered with feathers with some sticking out her ears. She took a long time to clean herself up. Now, I’m scared wondering what’s next. The critters are getting bigger each time, and there are all kinds of things left in our area for her to give me such as rats, moles, possums, racoons, bobcats, coyotes, and deer. If this continues, I’ll write another letter. Your cat story was my writing prompt.

    • Hello Betty–

      Any time I can provide a writing prompt for another writer, I feel satisfied.

      Totally enjoyed your tales of your daughter’s cat. That is SOME cat who is trapping blue jays. Glad to hear she doesn’t have to kill everything she captures. But I think you need to have a conversation with her. NO RATS inside your house–Ever, Miss Kitty!!

      If I may–it sounds like this cat is really trying to gain your friendship.

      Let me know how the book signings are going, and do stay in touch.

  4. What a cute story!! I’m glad you were clever enough to figure out what you were supposed to do. Lexi seemed to know all along.

    Looking forward to reading your blog!

  5. Rebecca, your site looks great and I welcome you to the wild and wonderful world of blogging. Come on in, the water’s fine! I look foward to reading what you write.

    Lori

  6. Wonderful site, Becky! Way to go on developing it! I look forward to the weekly blogs.

    As for Lexi, I have Sammy (my son’s family’s cat who is very much overweight thanks to 2 grandsons giving him treats all the time). He, too has a ritual of talking to me when I enter the kitchen in the am. He ‘wants’ that wet cat food and NOW! To add to the story…I always give Millicient, the smaller, petite cat, this wet food first. Sammy sits and waits sometimes patiently (sometimes, not) while she eats. Then he pounces on the plate. Ah, the loveliness of cats and their rituals.

  7. Rebecca, the blog looks great! Congratulations and I hope it works out well for you. I take that back – I’m quite sure it will work out for you.
    I love the cat story.
    Jean

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