that creature of habit

She has trained me to adapt to her routines, my fat old lady cat. You can train a dog, but your cat trains you.
Each morning, after she eats and comes down the stairs, she goes to the door to the breezeway and waits for me to open it so that she can look out through the patio doors and check the weather. Of course, I comply.
When she decides to go out, she likes to go out the front door, take a stroll around the house, check for new scents, and then sit at the back door expecting to be let in. I have learned her “constitutional” routine, and now I obediently give her enough time for her walk and then obediently open the back door for her.
She likes her tablespoon treat of wet cat food twice a day at mid-morning and mid-afternoon, and if I forget, she comes and finds me and gives me a sharp tap on my leg to let me know that she’s waiting.
I have become a creature of her habits.
The affection that so many of us have for out cats made this poem (one of Jim Culleny’s daily ones) even more poignant.

A Cat in an Empty Apartment
Wistawa Szymborska
Dying–you wouldn’t do that to a cat.
For what is a cat to do
in an empty apartment?
Climb up the walls?
Brush up against the furniture?
Nothing here seems changed,
and yet something has changed.
Nothing has been moved,
and yet there’s more room.
And in the evenings the lamp is not on.
One hears footsteps on the stairs,
but they’re not the same.
Neither is the hand
that puts a fish on the plate.
Something here isn’t starting
at its usual time.
Something here isn’t happening
as it should.
Somebody has been here and has been,
and then has suddenly disappeared
and now is stubbornly absent.
All the closets have been scanned
and all the shelves run through.
Slipping under the carpet and checking came to nothing.
The rule has even been broken and all the papers scattered.
What else is there to do?
Sleep and wait.
Just let him come back,
let him show up.
Then he’ll find out
that you don’t do that to a cat.
Going toward him
faking reluctance,
on very offended paws.
And no jumping, purring at first.

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