Friday, January 15, 2010

Cozy Companions

     Just as the winter garden is its own special thing (see Winter Garden post), so the inside of a house changes a bit with the seasons as well. The house in winter always seems a little smaller somehow when the windows are all closed and locked down tight.

     Of course, the sunlight coming in those windows is lessened too (especially in Illinois), and the angle of the light is different too. Blankets and throws appear for keeping warm sitting on the sofa or the living room chairs, and the dinners tend more toward comfort food. The iced tea gives way to hot herb tea.

     It's a good time for snuggling up with a book, working on hobbies (like making beaded jewelry!), sleeping late, listening to CDs, and playing and cuddling with the coziest of winter companions -- cats!

     Cats note the seasonal differences too, of course, probably more than we nature-distanced humans do. Their winter coats grow long and luxurious, as Sylvan's thick Maine Coon parka demonstrates. They all sleep a lot more and seek out sleeping places up high rather than down on the floor (we have many cat beds, distributed upstairs and down).

     Their body position changes as well: rather than stretching out on their sides, they curl up into a tight ball of fur to conserve body heat (even though the thermostat is actually set at 73). They eat more too, I think, although it's hard to tell with a cat like the giant black and white Angus MacDuff, who always wants more and more food of any kind!


Our younger cats, like Panther, the little black lion with the brown ruff, and Toffee the shy cream-colored boy, like to go out on the screened-in cat patio, even when their observation shelf is covered with snow. But we have to close the window to keep the house from getting too cold and then stay around, as patient doormen, waiting for them to decide exactly when they want to come back in. 

     Toffee and all of the others love to bask in the sun, whenever it comes shining through the snow. They actually like to sunbathe at a window all year round, but it's especially welcome in the winter time. (As it is for humans!)     

Toffee looks particularly spiritual and meditative in his window sunlight pose, and that's another favorite activity of cats in winter: meditation. Cats are experts at relaxation in general, and their meditation skills are admirable as well. More than any of us, they know how to live "in the moment."

Miss Angel prefers it when "the boys" are all out on the patio and she feels free to roam, as the princess she knows herself to be. But most of the time, she guards her realm under the dining room chair where she is hidden from her nemesis, the beautiful imperial Yang.

Yang is a sensitve boy and doesn't like too much rough and tumble most of the time, but he does sometimes venture out onto the cat patio with the other boys. His winter spot is on my beading chair in the studio when the seat (cushioned, of course) is tucked in underneath the counter.

     All the cats seem to know that winter has arrived, but they haven't forgotten to watch for the occasional insect or bird that flies near the windows.

    I guess winter indoors isn't so bad when you have six cozy companions like these!

Write a comment, dear readers, and let me know about your cozy companions!

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