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Thursday, March 11, 2010


the caterpillar gaze

As soon as I sit down at the computer, here comes Caterpillar. It won't be long before I feel a tug on my left pants leg, Caterpillar's one claw tug to get my attention. I've been attempting to get her to show me what she wants. She just looks at me and wants. I go to feed her. No. She's not hungry. I open the door to let her out. No. She doesn't want to go out. What do you want? She keeps on looking at me with want in her eyes. I pick her up and the purring starts. She wants me to hold her, to pet her, to scratch her neck that itches from all the fur knots she dislocated by force, scalping her neck. It's the new fur growing back that itches and she needs it scratched. It frustrates me, because I'm wanting to focus on my mental stuff that means nothing to a cat. It doesn't do any good to tell her I need my hand for my mind games with the computer.

She's doing it again. Meah! It means I want. But I don't know what she wants. She wants my attention. I put my left hand down and touch her head, pet her head, rub her neck, and she says, Meah! "I don't know what you want. What do you want? There is cat food everywhere. It's raining outside. I know you don't want to go outside? What do you want?" Meah!
I want your complete attention, all of it. Don't be looking at the crazy thing you sit and stare at, look at me, I'm your friend Caterpillar, I need you to touch me and pay attention to me for a few minutes. That's all, just a few minutes. And that's all she wants. When she's had her petting, she goes off for another 23.5 hours til next time the giant is sitting looking at that rectangle of light that means nothing to a cat. It's every time. She was on the desk between my arms a little while ago. TarBaby is here now. I just now showed him the picture of Caterpillar. He didn't care. He doesn't want to see a picture of Caterpillar. He sees her enough as it is.
The 3 cats have very individual personalities, just like people, and Caterpillar's is definitely her own. TarBaby is able to use mind as well as cat instinct. Caterpillar's brain doesn't have what it takes to act by thought like TarBaby can. Caterpillar doesn't seem to have any access to thought separate from instinct. That's surely not so, because she can learn quickly. It's because TarBaby thinks with a mind that figures things out. And that stands out as quite different from Caterpillar who is ruled by instinct, which is not a bad thing. She still has her personality that is Caterpillar and Caterpillar only. Perhaps I'm spoiled by TarBaby who has a rational mind in addition to his instinct. TarBaby's rational intelligence keeps me in awe and sometimes makes Caterpillar look dull, until they stand face to face and Caterpillar growls. TarBaby gets real quiet and motionless, waiting for Caterpillar to settle down or attack or whatever she has in her cat mind.
Caterpillar was the nurturer when they were kittens, the one that took the mother's role of keeping the others clean. And being Caterpillar she took such a liking for it, she became ravenous for it and one day wobbled around weak from absence of nutrition, though full. She was hilarious as a kitten. And she was a beautiful kitten. She's a beautiful cat, but as a kitten she was hard to beat. Long hairs grew out of her ears and curved back. They looked like wings on a kitten. She grew into them and they disappeared, like Andy Rooney's eyebrows getting trimmed.
Caterpillar got up and went someplace else. Ate a little bit and now she's back on the floor staring at me with her I-want eyes. Tapo was on the desk between my arms and Tapo got touchy and expressed her displeasure when I moved my hand to type. She said, Mrrrh!, and walked over to the chair where she curled up. Caterpillar went over to the scratch pad to scratch out her frustration that I'm doing something besides paying full attention to Caterpillar. Lord have mercy, it's just like being a polygamist. Every time you sit still, here they come crawling over you, give me your attention, give me your attention. They ask for so little attention, it's impossible for me to deny them attention when they ask for it.
Several years ago I was asked which one I loved the most. All I could say for an answer was, whichever one is in my lap at the moment. That's always been the truth of it. When I'm holding Caterpillar, she's my favorite. I definitely love Caterpillar the most. It's the same when I hold TarBaby or Tapo. Each one is an individual entity, each one my baby I've raised to old age. It gives me insight into how a mother feels about her kids. TarBaby is the one I communicate best with, but he's not loved any more than the others for it. When I pick up Caterpillar and she starts purring as soon as I lift her from the floor, it kinda makes a statement. I hug her close and tell her I love her, scratch her neck, her head falls back and she about loses all sense. She might not have a lot of rational mind, but when she looks at me with her Caterpillar eyes, I lose all sense and pick her up, kiss her on top of the head and tell she's my baby. She purrs and she's my favorite.

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