Not “writing about animals” but rather, “attempting to write around animals” would fit closer to what I mean. While other authors may prefer to write at coffee shops or offices, which offer the advantage of fewer distractions, I most prefer to write at home with all the comforts that entails–such as pajamas and blankets and music. Unfortunately, writing at home has a tendency to invite interruption by furry, four-legged narcissists.
What I’ve found most intriguing about the behavior of my pets while I’m typing away on my laptop is how differently each of them approach me in a bid for affection. My male cat is by far the worst offender by the number of times he bothers me while writing. He likes to sit at the end of my recliner, making it difficult to adjust my position, and if I show the slightest sign of being distracted (ie, staring off into space, wondering what is the perfect word for this?) he stands on the armrest and tries to nudge and lick my hand in the hopes that I’ll pet him. It’s an adorable bit of sabotage and works more often than I care to admit.
My female cat, on the other hand, doesn’t bother me too often, but when she does, she does it by climbing from the armrest into my lap and flopping heavily on the keyboard. If I try to maneuver the keyboard around her impending flop, she merely thanks me for making space for her and settles down right where I usually hold my laptop, forcing me to work around her. If I try moving her, she simply turns around and comes back, refusing to be displaced until she chooses to leave. I can’t be mad, though. My female cat suffers from cerebellar ataxia, which makes things like jumping and climbing quite difficult, so when she does manage to make it into my lap, I feel it’s more praise-worthy than annoying.
My greyhound, Chromie, likes to lay her head against my leg when she’s seeking attention, or sometimes she’ll put her nose just past the screen as if asking “Are you still writing?” Most times I’ll give her a little scratch and she’ll go lie down, but sometimes, when she really wants to play, she’ll grab a toy and start tossing it around the room, chasing after it and throwing it again. After that, she’ll start doing zoomies and by then I can’t write anymore because she’s being so darn cute and entertaining. She knows it, too.
My other greyhound, Rhonin, rarely tries to steal my attention when I’m writing. Occasionally, he’ll give me the stink-eye from across the room if he thinks I’ve been at it too long, but otherwise he leaves me to it. That is, until the other day when I got up from my chair for a moment only to come back and find Rhonin had jumped into my chair! And because I’m a giant softie, I let him have the chair and took my laptop elsewhere. He napped in my spot for almost half the day, refusing to give it up. Luckily it hasn’t happened again, but for what it’s worth, it was very cute.
It’s worth noting that it’s easier to write at home than it is to read. None of my pets respect either a physical book or my e-reader. Perhaps because at least when I’m typing my hands are moving, but when I read they’re still and therefore should be used for pets? I don’t know, animal logic is a strange thing to me. But all of this is to say that I love my beasts, even for all the distraction they drive me to. Thank you, Shinji, Rukia, Chromie and Rhonin, for the inspiration behind this blog post!