Sunday, June 22, 2008

Biiig Toys!

black and white tux cat

One day I was doing some yard work, specifically, I was working on putting up a deer fence around our garden area on one side of our house. I started out by carrying some fence poles from one side of the house to the other. I saw our "little girl", Zyelena, watching me out the back window. She was a little black and white "tux cat", black all over with a white chin and belly, and white mittens.

At this time Zyelena was a still very skittish around me, particularly if I was handling something, the larger it was the more scared she would be. So I would try to be pretty circumspect whenever she was around to help her get over her skittishness.

She had a bit of concerned look on her face as I was hauling fence posts from one side of the house to the other. She was curious about what I was up to, but obviously thinking about running away and leaving the windowsill. I was careful not to look at her directly as I went by and following a path that didn't make it look like I was coming at her as much as possible. After a few times back and forth, it looked like she was settling in and getting more comfortable with keeping an eye on me.

After I'd finished moving the fence posts, I had the fencing wire to move. The fencing wire was in a in a roll, a column about four feet high and three feet thick. It was too heavy to pick up and carry, so I put it on its side and started to roll it.

As Zyelena saw me coming with the roll of fencing wire, I saw her sit up and look frightened. I was rolling it about as far from the window as I could, but going farther from the window would take me down a hill slope, and I didn't want to have to roll the wire down the slope, then roll it back up again. Nonetheless, I turned the roll a bit downslope to get a bit farther from the window. I glanced at Zyelena to see how she was taking things, and the roll of wire started to get away from me and roll down the hill.

I quickly ran down and got in front of the roll of wire, and stopped it. My motions had been pretty sudden, so I thought "Great, now I've frightened the cat and she'll probably avoid me all night tonight."

When I looked back up at the window, I saw that Zyelena was still there, sitting up tall. Her entire nature had changed, she was radiating intense curiousity. I saw a play of emotions across her face when she noticed me looking at her--a moment of fear, then she looked down at the roll of wire and I saw her look change to one of realization.

"Oh!" she seemed to say, "it's a game!"

Her entire body relaxed, and she threw me a number of benign looks as she settled back onto the window sill. I started to push the wire back up the hill, along the path toward where I was putting up the fence. As I got close to the house, it looked like she was playing vicariously as I shoved the wire uphill. Zyelena would often bat her paws in the air as she watched our other cats playing with their toys, she was doing something like this with me.

Suddenly her eyes got big, and she sat up again. Had I pushed too close to the house? Was I going to scare her off after all?

No, the look on her face seemed to say, "Oooh, Daddy plays with biiiig toys!"


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