Reporting Aside

February 16

The cat is just as entertaining as the Olympics

Amy Calder’s cat Bitsy loves to watch TV, no matter what’s on.

Me, to Bitsy:

click image to enlarge

Cat-CHING some TV: Amy Calder’s cat Bitsy enjoys watching television, such as this documentary on ducks.

Staff photo by Amy Calder

“Do you like those ducks?”

She doesn’t respond except to flick her ears back in my direction.

“Do you like those ducks?” I ask again.

Once more, she ignores me.

That’s because my 7-year-old cat is too preoccupied, watching her television show about ducks.

She sits inches from the screen, scrutinizing every move, every quack, every flap of the wing or splash in the water.

I’ve never seen a cat watch more TV, honestly, than this feline.

She’ll watch “Downton Abbey” and “Doc Martin,” but those shows are not where her particular interests lie.

Give her animals: lions, tigers, dogs, birds, cats — even snakes — and you can not tear her yellow eyes from the screen.

People don’t believe me when I tell them my cat will watch TV for hours, but it’s true.

The other night, it was monkeys. Big monkeys, little monkeys, monkeys hanging from trees, playing, plucking fleas from each other’s heads.

Bitsy was totally engrossed.

Before she discovered the show was on, she lay lounging on the coffee table as she typically does when I come home from work, staring at me as if I might disappear at any moment.

That’s another thing she does, which is more humanlike than animal.

She sits, silently, for long periods of time and stares at me, especially if I have been away for a long time and have just returned.

It’s as if she wants to make sure I am real and not an apparition.

Anyway, I turned on the television, flipped through the channels and stopped at the documentary on monkeys. The minute they screeched, Bitsy lost all interest in me, leapt to the floor and perched herself in front of the TV.

She sat this way for about an hour, following every movement of those monkeys, her head flitting back and forth, and occasionally, she climbed onto the TV stand and sat with her nose to the screen and pawed at the monkeys.

Bitsy is a smallish gray, brown and black cat who looks like a Maine coon. She is very intelligent, despite what people who prefer dogs to cats might think.

If she is outdoors and wants to come inside in a hurry, she jumps up on the window ledge of whatever room you happen to be in and waits until you either open the window or go to the door, open it and call to her.

If it is particularly cold outside and snow is on the ground, she insists on window entry.

As much as cats love to be outdoors, their tolerance for wet paws is limited, I’ve learned.

Anyway, aside from television animals, Bitsy also loves tasteful and artistic entertainment.

She was quite impressed with the opening ceremonies of the 2014 Winter Olympics, for instance.

When those lovely Russian balloons shaped like building tops and teapots floated through the air, she was mesmerized. She crept closer to the screen when the ice skaters performed to Tchaikovsky’s “Swan Lake” in their exquisite white costumes.

And when the little girl in the flowing white dress sailed off into the sky, Bitsy was enthralled.

She didn’t blink an eye when the fifth star did not turn into an Olympic ring as planned.

“What country could ever top this stunning performance, Bitsy?” I asked.

Finally, she turned her head to acknowledge my presence.

As she did so, her brother, Pip, our sleek black cat with absolutely no interest in TV, plopped down next to her, stretching out on the carpet in his yoga pose.

Between the Olympics and our felines, we are fortunate to have ample home entertainment in what otherwise seems an endless winter.

 

Amy Calder has been a Morning Sentinel reporter 26 years. Her column appears here Mondays. She may be reached at acalder@centralmaine.com

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