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Nice guys have white shadows

In to the Wind

March 13, 2012
By Mike Gilchrist , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

Yours truly is no exception. My white shadow is a diminutive little one-eyed cat named Wink. Since that frigid day I rescued her from certain death, she has become my shadow. The bonding is mutual. She has adopted me as her "mom," and I have adopted her as my shadow; always there and lurking if I care to look.

The slight white cat is allowed free reign of the property. She will come in and out of the house several times during the day. Part of her routine is quite predictable. If I am sitting in my Lazy Boy recliner, as I am now, writing this column, she will jump up on the foot rest and curl up between my ankles. She seems content there, and I don't mind.

Certain mannerisms only help endure her to her human counterparts. Wink has a way of getting your attention when she needs. Usually that involves doing something bad to get your attention.

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Wink will jump up on the end table at the side of my chair and attempt to rearrange any clutter. Or she will go to the side of my chair and put her front legs up like she is going to scratch the leather. She doesn't really, but has learned she will get a rise out of me and I will no doubt do her bidding for her.

Once she has my attention, and I am up, the next behavior she has taught me kicks in. If she merely wants out, she will go to the door and grasp the handle with her paws as if trying to open it. A weak meow from that curled lip is usually emitted.

Cats are at best ambivalent regarding your routines. They may watch you from a safe haven as you do your thing, or not. When they haven't seen you for a while, they seem genuinely glad to see your hands. I mean they watch your hands to see what you might have brought them. They also try to steer your feet towards where they know the food or treats are stored.

Wink is something of a voyeur too. One favorite perch is inside one of the bathroom sinks. She likes to watch.

Wink will walk around your feet like she's trying to herd you into walking towards the mud room, where food and treats are kept. She will try to stay a half step ahead of you and keep turning around, looking over her shoulder, to make sure you are heading where she wants you to go.

On top of the salt container for the water softener, which is in the laundry room, there sits a basket. It is the basket which holds mismatched socks, unsortable articles of clothing and other remnants. That basket has become a favorite nap time perch for Wink. I was in that room once while she made her way to the perch. It takes a wee bit of athleticism to manage the climb. The first hop is up on the washing machine. The second hop is up on the salt container. Finally, she climbs into the basket and snuggles in.

If there ever was an animal convinced she is going to grow up to be a human, it's Wink. She gets too intimately involved in everything human. She puts herself right into the middle of most things. If you bring grocery sacks into the house, Wink is so nosey; she will examine the contents of every one. Our routine is to bring all the sacks in from the car and line them up on the floor in front of the sink before the contents are sorted and put into the cupboards. I think she's looking for whatever treats you might have brought her

Our timber holds secret pockets of wild raspberries. I envy those who have cultivated patches of ever bearing raspberries. Ours are available only in June, and you have to work for them. However, they taste a lot better than the cultivated variety. When you are picking, many times you are in the timber a ways and not within sight of the timber edge. On one particular sortie, Wink was along for the adventure. She must have gotten distracted on a side adventure, because I didn't see her for quite a while. Once I realized she wasn't around, I started looking and listening for her.

Now you have to understand Wink has a "little" voice. Because she had a traumatic start in life and her ears were severely frostbitten, I think her vocal cords and her "meower" were also frozen. Any volume of sound from her requires a lot of effort and air to make her presence known. After several minutes of looking I finally found her. She was in some tall weeds she couldn't see through and because we weren't talking as we picked, she had lost track of where we were and we had moved on. Once rescued, and from that point on, whenever Wink walks with you, she stays close.

And walk with you she will. I seldom walk the trails in my timber without having Wink following behind me. She will stay a few feet behind you, stop when you do, and maintain that same distance. I didn't know cats would go for a walk with you, but this one will. She also is one of the only cats I've ever seen that will come when you call her; that is if she feels like it.

Well it's time to go for a walk. Where is my shadow?

Until next time--

You can read past columns by visiting and clicking on the "Local Columns" button at the bottom of the page.

In to the Wind and this column are copyright 2012 Mike Gilchrist. Readers, feel free to contact me at via email, or write to me at P.O. Box 255, Toledo, IA 52342.



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