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Chuck Brooks: A day in the life of Willy

Chuck Brooks

Let's get right to it. This week belongs to a member of my family. He's about to celebrate his eighth birthday. He is, as many of you have met him here before, Willy — my cat.

If you're not a cat owner, you may not be able to fully appreciate me this week. When I wasn't a cat owner, I never quite got what all the hubbub was regarding the feline beast. "So you've got a cat. Big deal." Oh, but how that tune changes when one enters your life on a daily basis. Then it's, "Make room!" because they're going to squeeze you out if you don't.

I just thought it would be fun to take you on a tour of "A Day In The Life Of Willy." To not share such a journey would be extremely selfish of me. Now that I'm retired, I see more of him than ever before. I won't say whether that's good or bad. I'll let you make that final judgment.

I have to remind Willy regularly of how he is not to bother me in the morning while I am still in bed. The only thing on his mind by sunrise is breakfast. Usually, he doesn't wait until sunrise. I have to admit, he's pretty good until about 6 a.m. After that, all bets are off. If I stir in the slightest, I feel this pounce on the bed and usually on me, which startles the bejesus out of me, as he starts to circle my head. I can fight it, but it's usually not a fight I'll win. So, I'm up and feeding his highness. I can hope for 6:30 a.m. on some days. He's even gone as late as 7 a.m.; I apparently haven't stirred until then.

Once I feed him, I'm up. Done deal. I can't return to bed. After he's eaten, I normally won't see him for hours. He'll retreat to my den where he'll watch nature unfold from my patio door. If the sun is out that morning, he's sunning himself in whatever area of the den he chooses. He may get up to check on me in the living room, but then it's back to sunbathing.

As noon approaches, he becomes higher profile. It's because we're nearing the 1 p.m. feeding time. This is the time of the day when I wonder why or when I began this routine; he's accustomed to four feedings. The vet said to feed him a can and a half of the prescribed food I buy. I never should have set up four feeding times. I'll leave my house sometimes just to get away from his insistence on being fed. He can become a pain in seconds.

If I am home after he has his second installment of food, I may end up in the recliner to watch TV; this suits his needs best. He jumps on my lap and settles in for a post-lunch nap. I am likely not in the chair for more than an hour, which requires me booting him from his sleep. This awakens his 3 p.m. need for food. Seriously! Why did I set it up like this? That allows me two more hours before his final feeding at 5 p.m. However, he often has no "down" time between the 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. feeding. He'll "be in my face" unless I sit at the computer. For some reason, he doesn't bother me there. It's sort of my sanctuary. Though I have to say, there are times when I turn in my computer chair, only to find him sitting to my right, waiting for me to finish. Who knows how long he's been sitting there, waiting for me to leave my protective chair.

As I give him the final portion of the day, I always say, "This is it. No more. OK?" He's yet to respond with "OK, Chuck." I figure I'll start hearing that in year four or five of my retirement.

For the remainder of the night, he'll curl up in a ball and sleep until around 10 p.m. or so. After that, he knows we will head to the recliner, so he can once again bond with me in my lap. He's there until bedtime, which is usually around 11:30 or so. After I shut everything off in the living room and before I crawl into bed, I head into his litter box room. He often sits in the entryway of the door, waiting for my arrival. He's usually quiet about having to wait, but sometimes, his patience grows thin. He walks to the box and waits for me to begin to clean it. He backs away to let me do my job. Once I'm done, he returns to the box. He peers into the box to make sure I did a good job. I'm not kidding. Then he cries for his evening treats. I obey and then move to the bedroom.

He'll join me sometimes but usually, he's off on some adventure. That works for me. I won't see him until morning, when the cycle starts all over.

I should add...he's worth it. He's my bud. Uh oh. Excuse me please. It's after 3 p.m. and someone's on my keyboard letting me know I'm late. "Yes, Willy. Yes sir." See you next week!

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