Learning when it was “OK” to chase them provided a bit of a twisted pleasure. The first of many times when a one year old cat would ‘takeover her bed’ she’d sadly slink off. I carefully let her know that it was OK to send a thieving cat packing… with a bark or a quick chase.
Mothering instincts kicked in with Sarrah when the siblings fought, mostly protecting Isis from the bullying of Rah. Sarrah grew into a sort of parenting referee role, barking at them and chasing Rah off, then returning to where she’d been with a look of satisfaction. Isis, the significantly smarter of the two, picked up on all of this and bonded with Sarrah. She even occasionally set Rah up by starting a fight, for Sarrah to break up. It was probably also a bit of aged preference for quiet and frustration with frequent noisy youth that motivated her.
Sarrah delighted in sending the male cat, Rah for a run. The two of them seemed to have a bit of an understanding, a few rules with their game and played it often. Rah, around two years old, learned how fast he was and how much head start was required for a good chase without getting caught. He then decided to play with Sarrah’s tail, to start trouble. Most of these neener-neener games happened in the seclusion of the backyard. The game evolved from Sarrah looking at me to see if she would be in trouble and Rah figuring out how many swipes at her tail it took to get in a good run, becoming their regular contest.
One sunny spring day Rah pushed his luck too far, attacking her sleeping tail with full claws and the chase was on. This time he, being a little more cocky than usual, got off to a slower start and Sarrah’s quick snap got a bit of ‘butt fur’, much to the surprise of all! After the chase, she returned with a smug look of satisfaction, spit out the chunk of black fur and resumed her position on her bed in the sun with the trophy. Rah returned after a few moments and all was back to ‘normal’. Sarrah smiled, I laughed and Rah just brushed it off, playing it cool. It was good to witness Sarrah winning one of these challenges; after all only Rah’s pride was hurt, a little.
The addition of the kittens to our family was another gift. Sarrah inadvertently absorbed some of the youthful energy that showed up with them. Thankfully the feline chaos that spiced our daily life actually benefitted all of us, especially my tiring friend.
Like an early morning drunk, after having sat all night at a gaming table in the dark corner of a garish smoke stained casino, it seems that I had played this game too long. Perhaps like most games, if you are distracted in the process of playing them well and lose track of time, you will eventually lose. I guess sooner or later we all lose, Everything.
To borrow yet again from Don Henley, in his song The Heart of the Matter “The more I Know, The less I Understand” rings true for me, again. Our dispiriting American economic meltdown also known as “The Great Recession” started for me and much of the residential real estate construction related world, in the fall of Two Thousand Eight. My customer base was exclusively new construction driven and all caught up in the terminal economic tsunami. I had earned a decent living for years prior to this carelessly fueled real estate lending boom, rode the waves along with the new “gold rush feverists” throwing up not so little boxes on the hill side and now continue to struggle in the rip tide with those who remain. Most people that I know were greatly financially impacted, many were annihilated. All have been battle scarred. And the nightmare is far from over.
Sarrah loved to chase after a thrown ball in the confines of the backyard. She typically returned with it, occasionally just close enough to make a high speed teasing pass, but most of the time right back to me. However, she insisted on a contest of wills and strength, you had to take the ball from her all the while with a closed mouth growl from down deep to spice up the game. She learned to add leverage by lifting her front feet, twist her head quickly from side to side and thrust backward in attempts to break my grip from the slippery wet ball. She did very rarely simply drop the ball, but the real fun for her was in the struggle.
Since tug-of-war was her preference, I got a rope, not just any, one from a pet super store. This task specific two foot long green and white rope had three large knots for doing battle. Sarrah loved this rope! We got to where I could swing her around, completely off the ground, growling the entire time. Laughing caused deeper louder growls, adding audible competition to our sport. Our record was five times around, before one of us was too dizzy to continue. She would also grab one end and run with it, shaking the rope around like a medieval weapon, occasionally very effective accidental weapon. Many times I would throw the rope for her version of “fetch”.
Occasionally we would play rough, wrestling on the floor or in the grass. Sarrah would act ‘all tough’ growl and play bite, gingerly but with a firm hold. At times she’d run away crazy eyed and then straight back at me in a frenzy, raise up on her hind legs with her front legs spread like a praying mantis, mouth open wide. Sometimes jumping to kick at me in some kind of canine Kung Fu that she had come up with.
On occasion one of us would inadvertently get hurt a little, but it was all in good fun.