Saturday, March 27, 2004

Ever notice how cats exhibit many of the same signs as autism?

I sometimes find my cat staring into space, and no matter what I do, how I call him, he won't look at me. When I rub his belly, he wraps his legs around my arm and won't let go. He has an affinity for water, and will jump in the shower as soon as I've gotten out in order to stare at the water circling the drain. He has taught himself how to flush the toilet (no kidding) in order to produce more swirling water to stare at. I woke up the other morning to his flushing. The next morning I woke to him clinking his water and food bowl together. At first I thought he must be doing that like someone in prison, rattling their cup along the bars. But then I looked and food was in the dish. And he was staring at the water as it rippled in concentric circles from the impact. I have a picture of Meryl Streep that my ex-girlfriend had framed and matted as a gift (long story), and I often find him staring at her (she's sitting propped up against a wall). Every once in a while, he will put his paw on her face for a long time, very dramatic. As my friend Brooke described, it is as if he is saying, "No one will ever understand us, Meryl." And Meryl, eyes closed in the picture, face turned slightly upwards, says, "I know, Hobbes, it's just me and you." My mother gave me Hillary Clinton's memoir (my family are all raging Democrats) and one day I caught him staring at Hillary too. I've now propped Hillary against my bedroom wall, halfway behind the door, because it is so cute to see him pull the door open in order to stare at her too.

One woman apparently isn't enough for him.


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