April 12th, 2021 / posted by paularath

Heidi at about six weeks old.

Today is National Pet Day, so I thought I would share with you a bit about living with our cat, Heidi. We adopted Heidi at the Hawaiian Humane Society last July. She was about five weeks old at the time.

Valentine’s roses? Well, of course they have to belong to Heidi and me both!

The urge to once again own a cat came, predictably, in the midst of COVID-19 quarantine. Jerry and I really enjoy one another’s company, but we thought we would both benefit from a furry friend. We were so right! Heidi is a constant source of laughter and delight.

Heidi is positively the most curious cat we have ever lived with. She needs to know everything that’s going on in the house. She is also the most communicative of our many cats.

When she wants something, she has learned how to get it. She meows only to communicate her desire clearly and concisely. And her gestures contribute to the communication. For example, When it’s 5 a.m. and time for Jerry to get up and feed her (her idea, of course), she has learned that she doesn’t have to walk over his body or scratch him to get his attention. All she needs to do is to climb up on his bedside table, reach out her paw, and gently pat his arm. If he doesn’t respond fairly quickly, she simply starts carefully brushing his glasses, hand cream or watch onto the floor.

Heidi contemplates drinking from her favorite water source, mom’s basin.


Yes! Let’s splash a little before drinking it.

In the morning, when Heidi is thirsty, instead of going straight to the fountain we bought for her (complete with running water), she wants to drink, splash or even bathe, in my basin. She interrupts my coffee-making or newspaper-reading and meows for me to follow her to my bathroom. There she either sits on the edge of the sink, leans into the faucet or climbs right in to take a bath.

Heidi in one of her favorite naptime spots: a Hans Wegner chair that Duncan will inherit. I swear she gets Duncan’s vibes from it; Duncan is a cat whisperer, with an amazing affinity for every cat he meets.

This cat understands a growing vocabulary of human words: food, treat, out, no, water, deck, spoon, door, and the phrase: “scratch post, get treat.”

Cat in the bag?

Heidi has endless curiosity about absolutely everything. She especially loves bags. All kinds of bags. Her favorite thing is to climb into a bag and hide. Sometimes this game goes awry. In the instance above, she got herself all twisted into the handle of a big paper shopping bag. We let her deal with it herself to see what she would do. She systematically shredded the bag all the way around, leaving her with just the handles firmly twisted around her middle. That’s when she meowed and help appeared immediately.

Heidi meets the neighbor’s cat, Earl Yim.

It’s not surprising that Heidi is convinced she is a human. The only other cat in her life is our neighbor’s cat, Earl Yim. He is an indoor-outdoor cat who regularly roams around our house. The first time they met through the screen, there was a little hissing but then all was quiet and they simply sat and stared at one another. The second time they met was the second time Heidi somehow got out into the yard. (See below for more on that.) She met up with Earl, and followed him a little way down the walkway in back of our house. No drama or fighting. But she didn’t hang around with him either.

Earl comes by to see Heidi, but he seldom catches her. On the occasion above, they just sat like that, a few feet apart, and stared. No hissing or clawing or attacking.

One of Heidi’s favorite places: the deck railing. It used to scare us when she ran up and down the railing, but now we know she’s okay. She loves to birdwatch and catch bugs.

Prowling for bugs or geckos. She has learned to carefully de-tail, then torture the geckos without eating any part of them. (They are not good for cats!) Clever cat.

Heidi is strictly an indoor cat. She is allowed on the deck, and spends much of every day out there, but she isn’t allowed to go outside the house. That said, she has somehow managed to get out twice. Once, when she a was a tiny kitten, about three months old, and a second time, a few weeks ago. We can’t figure out how on earth she got out, as no doors were opened for her escape. Unless she fell or jumped off the balcony; that’s a fall of about 30 feet. Neither time was she hurt in any way. The first time, when so tiny, we heard a kitten outside the downstairs door and were shocked to see her out there. The second time, she came to the front door and asked to be let in.

Heidi is a joyful addition to our home and provides us with laughter every day.

Paula Rath





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