It’s Wednesday night and Lili is sitting as close as she can to my right thigh, in preparation for one of our favorite evenings of TV, “Nature.” Tonight’s program is called “Snowbound, Animals of Winter,” and the spectacular animals that we’re seeing, that survive in the Arctic Circle at temperatures of 50 degrees below zero, are physically and mentally equipped for that climate. There are the beautiful white polar bears that we immediately associate with that area, but there are so many others: otters, owls, moose, lynx, wolves, coyotes, bison and more.
Lili’s ears perk up and all of her senses are alert when she sees the lynx, a member of her own family. She snuggles even closer, perhaps wondering if this animal who resembles her but is probably four times her size, is friend or foe and I wonder what she’s thinking. She’s very shy and not very sociable, usually hiding under the quilt on my bed when anyone comes to the house, staying there until she is sure that they are tolerable: that they don’t make loud noises or want to touch her. Even when we’re alone in the house, Lili lets me know that displays of affection are only permitted on her terms and if I should attempt to pick her up to give her a hug, she will scurry off to one of her hiding places until she decides it’s safe to come out.
One of her favorite hideouts is on the bathmat, hung over the side of the tub, between the inner and outer shower curtains. When I want to use the shower, she does allow me to pick her up and place her outside the bathroom door, where she waits patiently for me to come out and she can go back to her perch, to sleep undisturbed, for the rest of the morning.
She has an amazing ability to recognize sounds; the sound of the key in the basement door when I’m returning from wherever I’ve been and I can hear her soft, “Meow” welcoming my return. If she’s fast asleep and I open a kitchen cabinet, she’s beside me in a flash, waiting for a special treat.
She’s an indoor cat, watching all that goes on outside but never daring to step over the threshold, even if I leave the door open! If a bird is at the feeder or a chipmunk is frolicking in the flowers, Lili’s fur rises, her tail goes up and she’s ready to pounce, though the glass door to the porch is between them.
Lili is my best friend. In the four years that we’ve known each other, we’ve never learned the language we need to communicate, but when she stares at me with her brilliant, pistachio colored eyes, I feel her love. And when I open my book to read before I go to sleep, and she curls up in my lap until I turn out the light and she scurries off to her midnight adventures until the morning when she reminds me that it’s time for breakfast and the new day, I know that she knows that I love her too.~