Portrait of Cat

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Sunflower Cat

Watercolor on Cold Press Arches

painting of orange tabby with sunflowers by Rachel M Brown

What is your cat thinking?

My cat Marina often gets this expression. She knows she has the run off the (her) house. Last year we replaced our old, beat-up sofa, believing that now our kids are older, we could keep something "nice." Within moments of its delivery, Marina unsheathed her claws and started scratching the arm rest.

My son looked at me expectantly. I had just finished telling him that he should take his shoes off before putting his feet onto the cushion.

"Um, Marina," I said, "don’t do that."

Marina misheard me to be saying, "Allow me to open a can of tuna for you," and scampered into the kitchen.

After several minutes of disappointment, and still hungry, she wandered back to the sofa where my son was now reading. She scratched the arm a few times, just to verify that it was her right, then jumped up next to him.

"Wow, Marina is really shedding," my son called later. He had been stroking her absentmindedly while he read, and now a veneer of black cat fur was plastered to the cushion.

I asked my son to move so that I could tuck a heavy towel over the cushion. Meanwhile, Marina jumped onto the other side of the sofa, rolled onto her back, and began to grind black fur into that cushion.

I took another towel out of the closet.

In less than an hour after its arrival, our new sofa was covered with three towels, one over each seat cushion and one over the back. A year later, Marina no longer uses the heated pet bed I bought for her: the sofa is a better fit for her magnificent weight. When I change the towels for a good washing, she regards me with mild curiosity, a certain haughtiness, and a touch of concern that I’m not treating her shed fur with the proper respect it deserves.

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