Weather Forecast


Chuck Brooks viewpoint: King Willy has quite the personality

You know what separates dogs from cats? Let me enlighten you. Dogs care. Dogs warn us when rough patches are going to happen. We hear "Ruff, Ruff!" They're saying, "Look out. Rough times ahead. Be careful!" Yup. That's what dogs do. Cats, though, couldn't care less about rough times for their owners. All this time we think they've been saying, "Meow." That's not what I'm hearing. I'm hearing, "Now!" Not "Meow." "Now!" Yup. That's the difference between dogs and cats. And that's how I'm starting this week's column about my cat, Willy.

Willy is the first cat I've owned in my life. We've been together since he was 7 months old. There was another cat in my life for a number of years, but she wasn't mine exactly; it's a complicated tale for another time. For seven-plus years, I've watched Willy and his personality take shape. There isn't one solitary day where Willy doesn't have me, at the very least, giggling. At times, however, it's like living with a tiny human being who doesn't know if he wants to be dependent or independent. I grew up with multiple dogs in our house, but the first cat made its appearance into my life when I was in college. It was only for a semester. In my second year in my career, a stray and a bit ragged cat kept wandering into the neighborhood, so I took him in but that experience was nothing like the last seven years with his Majesty, King Will.

Now that I'm retired, we spend more time together. That's not necessarily a good thing. Too much time together isn't good for any relationship. Willy's day begins by letting me know it's time for me to rise and shine. It's not because he wants to bond. It's about his need for food. He's fairly consistent with stomach's clock. If I sense an object around my head, I can be almost certain it's around 7:00. I wear a CPAP mask. I viewed it as lifesaver when I first began wearing it. Now I look at it as a shield from having my nose bitten or my face swatted by the King's paw. If my hand(s) are in view when I begin to stir, he will try to scoop his nose under my palm. Message? "I'm here. I'm hungry. Get up. Now!" Meow? I don't think so.

I open the patio door drapes on my way to his dish. I fill it, and then finish my brief morning routine. If the sun is already shining by then, he stays in the den where the patio door is open and he enviously watches the back grass area with whatever might catch his interest. If it's dark, however, he comes to me in the recliner and settles on my lap for a post-breakfast nap. Tough life.

Lately he's decided the recliner should be solely his. He stands on the right arm of the chair, facing the inside of the chair, takes his nose and worms it under my elbow, indicating he no longer wants to sit with me. "Get out of my throne, knave! Now!" Meow? I don't think so.

Somewhere along the way, I created a feeding-time mess for myself. He gets one and a half cans of cat food a day. Religiously. However, he gets them at four points in the day if I'm home all day. At dawn, 1:00, 3:00 and finally at 5:00 in the afternoon. He knows when he hasn't gotten his can and a half. I don't know how, but he knows. So, my question is What if I gave him all his food in the morning? Would he leave me alone at the other feeding times? In my mind, I've run multiple feeding scenarios aside from the routine times. I've yet to try any of them. I fear what could happen should I veer from the path he's come to expect. He's proven himself to be less than flexible.

You like mock crab? I love snacking on mock crab. When it's on sale, I'll get a couple of bags. Guess who else loves mock crab? I'm not exaggerating when I tell you this, but if I simply take it from the fridge, he knows. I close the refrigerator door, turn around, and there he is at my feet. Here's what he's reduced me to with mock crab. I wait for him to be in the den. I quietly open the fridge, quietly slide open the meat drawer, very carefully pick the package up and lay it quietly on the counter. Then I walk into the garage with it, open it and eat some. I kid you not. That's how I have to eat it. I could give him some, but I don't like feeding him anything but his food.

Why I thought I could write about Willy in only one column is beyond me. There's so much more I want to share with you. So, here's the deal. Allow me to revisit "Life With Willy" from time to time. I think you'll be entertained. "Meow?" I don't think so.

Halloween in a few days. Willy's dressing up as the King of the Jungle. Go figure. Boo!