I always thought Summer was special. The main reason I brought her home was because I knew there was something different about her, that she wasn’t like other cats. And apparently she knows it too.
Lately I’ve been putting a harness and leash on Binga (there will be a future post about this), and a couple times I took her out back with Summer. This past weekend, I took Binga out by herself so I could focus on getting some photos of just her — and Summer was shocked that she wasn’t included. She peered out the French double doors with a look of utter dismay on her face, and then she followed from window to window as Binga and I took a walk around the back patio. She was so beside herself that when I came back inside, I wanted to do something to make her feel better. So I put a dress on her and she was happy again. I taught her a new trick — shake hands — and she was in ecstasy.
Putting an outfit on any other cat would have made them miserable, but not Summer. For her, dressing up proves how special she is. It’s part of all the things she gets to do that the other cats don’t, such as learning tricks, walking on a leash, going places, and competing at cat shows, where judges and the general public make a big deal out of her. I’ve always just been relieved that Summer continues to enjoy all that. It never occurred to me until now that perhaps she considers it a part of her very identity.
Most people think that cats are happiest doing cat things — staying at home, playing (i.e., play stalking), napping and spending time with their people. I’ve generally agreed with that, and always felt that things like dressing up a cat, or putting her in cat shows, was more about what people wanted than what the cat wanted. Smart cat companions who take their cats to cat shows or public appearances only do it until the cat doesn’t want to anymore. It’s usually clear when they are no longer enjoying it, and only the most insensitive companion will continue to force a cat to something that makes him unhappy. Then there are some cats, like Summer, who seem to thrive on the attention.
The thing is, I never realized before how much she enjoys all this, and sometimes I’ve wondered if she was merely accommodating me. Now I have my answer: my cat is weird! And special. And she loves her crazy life.