Charlie the Cat’s 2020

While the world of humans was going through the greatest global upheaval since World War II, nothing much changed in Charlie’s little world. Except that, thanks to the COVID-19 restrictions, he got to see a lot more of his personal food dispenser/masseuse/entertainer.

Between months of working from home and my (thankfully not too long) period of unemployment, Charlie was probably taking it for granted that his human was around all day long for him to pester. However he wasn’t anywhere as disruptive as I had expected in the WFH situation, other than developing the habit of demanding dinner at 2pm. At least he’s not overly vocal and his favourite method of pressuring the human is to sit perfectly still and try to hypnotise me into submission with his intense stare and slow blinking.

At one point this year, Charlie also decided that it was really fun to slam the living room door shut and then wait for me to open it again – a minor nuisance during the day but not so at night. I went through a period where, in the absence of a door stopper, I wedged in one of my rubber thongs before sleep so that I wouldn’t be awakened at 3am by the loud bang.

Minor annoyances aside, Charlie was a wonderful and cherished companion through the weeks and months of social isolation and stay-at-home orders. It was lovely to have him in my apartment as a symbol of normality and innocence who didn’t have a single care about the virus, lockdowns or daily infection rates. I’m quite restrained when it comes to physical affection so I probably haven’t missed hugs as acutely as many other people living alone, but it was still comforting to occasionally scoop up Charlie into my arms and tell him that we were going to be ok, for all of five seconds that he managed to tolerate without wriggling. He’s an affectionate boy and laps up the attention, but British Shorthairs just don’t care for being lifted off the ground.

By far, the biggest game-changer of 2020 for Charlie was discovering the joys of a laser toy. Months later, he’s still not tired of chasing that elusive red dot, bouncing off the walls in a perfect curve when well and truly fired up. It’s a good way for him to get some cardio workout; he’s shed some of that chonker weight after I introduced restrictions on his morning dry food, but burning off calories while running around like crazy can only be a good thing. He also still loves his giant cat tunnel, mostly as a way of playing ambush, and kicking the small rubber ball around (which more often than not rolls under the couch).

I also introduced Charlie to pet grass, which I keep in a pot on the bathroom window sill. He went for it like it was kitty cocaine and decimated the first lot I bought in a couple of days. In theory, that should have stopped him from terrorising my poor Zanzibar plant, but no such luck yet.

The biggest shock of the year for Charlie was probably the time my little niece came over and put her toys into his favourite cat tree, i.e. his sacred private space. I unfortunately wasn’t around to see it, but from the descriptions it sounded like a reaction the Pope would have if someone threw a rave party inside the Sistine Chapel.

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