If it weren’t for insomnia, one of life’s most underrated treasures, I might have missed my first encounter (of the sixth kind?) with what I originally thought to be a lost bear cub running around in my backyard. Closer scrutiny revealed a huge black Persian cat, shivering and forsaken on this the coldest night of the year. I fell in love with him instantly and just as soon as my eyes met his cool yellow gaze more than a part of me knew that I would take him in to join the rest of my cat family. His beauty and winning personality I welcomed, but never, even in my wildest dreams, did I ever imagine that a new exercise companion as well as a fabulous new feline friend would now own me.
It took some time for this trait of Nero’s to emerge. The reasons for that probably involve my intense dislike for exercise and the fact that this proclivity was difficult to see in light of his many others. Yes, the paws of my darling round friend (13½ pounds) are always involved in some creative endeavour. He loves knocking over milk and juice containers and lapping up the liquid before it drips to the other end of the counter. He enjoys reading, especially my book whenever I’m reading it. He has been taught by greater masters than Montessori, as the words don’t really matter. It’s the position of his head and body in relation to the printed page that determine his appreciation of the reading matter in question. If I can pet him, it’s a good story. If I can’t, it isn’t. He has also mastered the keys on my computer, although he limits himself to return and caps lock.
I am not exaggerating about my feelings for exercise. Try as I might, I cannot help but liken it to that trip to the dentist postponed for the third time, that visit to the IRS and the dreaded arrival of that not distant enough relative. Unfortunately, twenty-five pounds added to a new non-smoking figure has evolved a better set of lungs but a bitter, larger set of almost everything else, including personal re-evaluations. But it’s not so bad now because Nero makes it better!
When it comes to the Nordic Track, my Nero is a pro. In what way, ask you knaves? Well, he uses two practical approaches to cut fat. Either he puts his head in between the slats and looks up at me adoringly or he lies on his back with his paws up in the air and does the same. He nudges the edges of the slats with his nose without a shred of fear that one false move might well knock him to the far wall.
He loves dumbbells. (Nothing personal, of course.) While I am flat on my back trying to lift the little suckers, he approaches with a strut and rubs his nose against them, purring with all the force of a motorboat. Push-ups are best. When I’m up in the air, he’s walking underneath me and sometimes I flatten him a little bit when I come down for a landing because he doesn’t get his fat cat body out of the way in time He does his best to be synchronized and when I’m doing my beloved abdominals he conserves his energy by resting under my legs. He finds the scissors’ exercise less challenging. For these, he positions himself at my head and switches positions as I roll over to the side I’m working on, caressing his head in the process of course.
In his own feline way I know he is trying to share his feelings for exercise. What that is I suppose, is anybody’s guess, but he must be doing something right. In the last six months or so that we have been exercising together he has shed ½ pound and I haven’t lost an ounce!