The continuing adventures of Tom and Ace
Ace and the cat next door have become steadfast friends, hanging out together most days in the backyard. But their relationship has clearly evolved, as I guess most do.
Ace still seems thrilled every time he sees Tom. They still play chase. They still engage in their form of wrestling — Ace poking Tom with his nose, Tom swatting Ace in the head with his paws.
But Ace no longer is totally obsessed with the cat, no longer smothering him with attention, no longer constantly in Tom’s face. Ace used to follow Tom wherever he went. But as Tom has become less elusive, Ace has become less fascinated. As the months have gone by, it’s Tom who’s now more likely to follow Ace, and instigate the play. Tom still seems to send a message that says “chase me,” but Ace doesn’t always play along, sometimes preferring to just watch, or scratch himself, or look for something he might deem edible.
On Sunday Ace was minding own business in the shared yard behind my apartment, chewing on a bully stick. Thomas slowly approached and circled him, nuzzled him a few times and swung his tail into his face.
Ace looked up, but kept chewing. Seeming to sense Ace’s disinterest, Tom went his own way, disappearing for a time.
Ace, focused on his treat, seemed to forget about him — until, 10 minutes later, he spotted him in the distance, under my parked car.
Tom sat perfectly still, and Ace did the same. They stared at each other from afar. Tom made a slight motion, and Ace began to rise. And when Tom started running, Ace ran in his direction. Tom veered to one side, and scooted straight up a dogwood tree, an eight-foot vertical climb before he came to the lowest branch and clung to it.
Suddenly, Ace was fascinated again, as if, by displaying this new skill, Tom showed he had a whole new, previously unknown, highly intriguing dimension.
Ace jumped up and down at the base of the tree, whining and barking (both of which are rare for him). He was clearly worked up, though I’m not sure whether his reaction was based on being worried about Tom’s safety, or jealous of his climbing ability, or if it was just the fact that cats — like so much else — seem much more tantalizing when they’re out of reach.
Maybe it was just seeing something he was used to be seeing on the ground up in the air.
Tom, for his part, looked a bit bug eyed when he finally looked down and realized where he was.
But after a couple of minutes in the tree, exploring, nibbling on branches, and scrambling from limb to limb, he settled in and seemed to enjoy the view from up there, or maybe he was enjoying the attention he was getting.
After about five minutes, Tom’s caretaker came out. She had looked out her kitchen window to see her cat in a tree. It was the first time he’d ever done that. We both marveled at his agility for a while, then wondered if wanted to come back down, then wondered if he knew how to get back down.
When his owner reached her hands up and assured him she would catch him, he swatted at them.
After about 30 minutes, he made a couple of attempts to climb down head first, but changed his mind — maybe because he deemed it unwise, maybe because Ace was raising such a ruckus.
Or maybe it was because he was getting undivided attention from two humans and one dog simply by staying put.
I suggested we all back off, and Ace had to be dragged, but once we got about 15 yards away, Tom dove off the lowest limb, nailing his landing.
Ace chased him back under the car and proceeded to stare at him for the next 15 minutes, rapt as he was the day he first met him.
The moral of the story — though I guess one isn’t required — is that when your relationship seems like it might be getting a little stale, when you start feeling like you’re being taken for granted, go ahead and climb a tree, make yourself briefly unattainable, play it coy. Just don’t go too far out on a limb.
And always be sure to come back to earth.
Posted by jwoestendiek November 7th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, animals, behavior, cat, cats, cats and dogs, college village, dogs, friends, north carolina, out of reach, pets, relationships, stale, taken for granted, thomas, tom, travels with ace, winston-salem