Let us hope that the noble sheikh doesn’t start a Facebook page, for he would be appalled by the profusion of people hugging and caressing dogs and cats, though perhaps not wolves. I recall seeing photographs of people in proximity of elephants and tigers, and of Britney Spears cavorting publicly with an oversized python.
No great animal lover, I have always maintained a safe distance from dogs and cats, let alone snakes of any kind. Now suddenly I find myself in a curious situation. My daughter, Lina, has left on a European cruise, leaving her pet cat, Sancho, with me.
That alone can explain his conduct the second day onward. First, he came meowing at my closed bedroom door at daybreak. I usually work and write well past midnight, and seldom see dawn. Clearly that had to change with my new guest. Sancho can be quite insistent. It was not enough for him that I opened my eyes; I had to get up and open the French window to the large deck, admittedly with a cup of coffee in my hand, so that Sancho could refresh himself in the morning air.
By now, Sancho follows me everywhere in a perplexing show of loyalty. Given half a chance he would even follow me into the shower. When I sit and write at the desk, he places his front paw on the chair and lets me know that he is keeping me company. When I sit at the dining table and eat, he sits on the carpet and wags his tail to remind me that he is still keeping me company, despite my gaucherie in not sharing my meal with him. I might have imagined that, compared to a dog, a cat would be an unsuitably small companion. But I have realized that its smallness gives it a special edge: it can not only walk next to me on a narrow stairway, it can virtually weave in and out of my legs.
I will miss Sancho when Lina returns to retrieve him.