I have a cat who is a secret snuggler. Chatimec, named for a ski trail, has a snowy white body. Strangely, his head and tail have brown stripes on them, except for the very last tip of his tail, which peaks through with white again. Chattimec came to us from a shelter when he was about seven weeks old. He is a skittish cat. We have always been gentle with him, but somewhere he learned to be very cautious.
Although it is not obvious, Chatty is almost always in the room with you. Despite his wariness he loves to be in the company of humans. Sometimes, when I am working on my computer, Chattimec suddenly appears, as if from nowhere, and jumps onto my desk. He plays with the pens, scattering papers. Then he stands guard and stares out the window at the squirrels. When I make dinner he sits in a corner of the kitchen to guide me in the preparation. Chatty watches me with knowing eyes and blinks his approval of my ingredients. Outside on the deck he will sit in the Adirondack chair opposite me while I read my book. We are quiet companions.
If he is feeling in the mood Chatty will come close for a quick pet. He will never approach you while you are standing, only when you are sitting. He stays for a short time, insisting on having his head scratched by moving his body back and forth to put his head directly under your hand. When he has had enough he saunters away.
Chatty and I have established a routine for the night. He will sit nearby in the family room while I watch TV. When I decide to go to bed I simply say “bedtime Chatty” and he is up to follow me. Yet, he will not make it obvious. He may linger at his food dish in the kitchen as I turn the corner for the stairs. If I stop to check in with my husband who sometimes is in his office working late Chatty will hesitate and pretend to be interested in something on the floor. As I go up the stairs he looks out the front door waiting for me to get to the top. Only then, does he come up the stairs. On some occasions he will follow me into the bathroom and sit on the edge of the tub while I brush my teeth. If he is feeling frisky he may chase unknown objects around in the tub. Most nights however, he sits at the top of the stairs, waiting. He does not sit in typical cat fashion. He lays the front part of his body across the landing, but the rear two legs hang over the first step and rest there. No matter how long I take he waits patiently for me.
I know Chatty will sleep at the bottom of my bed but he does not want me to know this. So I pretend to be oblivious. He stays at the top of the stairs. I put on my PJ’s, and hand lotion and finally turn off the light. It takes me a while to settle in. I must have the blankets tucked under my chin in a precise manner. The bottom half of the bed has to be flat, with both the sheet corners nicely tucked in. I move around, but eventually find a good spot. With the lights out and me at last quiet, it is then that Chatty makes his move. He stealthily comes into the room. With cat precision and noiseless feet he alights onto the bed. He settles in quickly. If I sit up and try to acknowledge his presence he will stop in mid movement. His tail stiff in the air, one paw poised to walk, held in stride. He does not like to be seen. I have learned not say a word to him, but I smile quietly to myself. It is a comfort to have a cat sleep by my feet. I will not tell Chattimec that I know his secret. He likes the comfort of snuggling too.