3  House Lion

When we have guests over, Bingley will come out to say hello–nothing elaborate, just a sort of “mew,” meaning something like “I’m not sure about you yet, but you may stay for a bit if my people say it’s all right.”  Occasionally he’ll jump into someone’s lap or sit beside someone on the floor.  Once we had over three friends who play guitar so they could jam together, and Bingley sat in cat stance for as long as they played, swinging his tale back and forth in time to the music.  Sometimes he’ll sit in my lap and monitor the conversation, or if he gets comfortable but doesn’t find the conversation to his liking, he’ll settle in for a nap.

Music always grabs his attention.  He’s fond of strings, especially acoustic guitar, and choral pieces, and he likes jazz and Classical music.  He doesn’t care for loud rock music, and he finds Blues a little too depressing.  He likes bagpipe music if one doesn’t play it too loud.

Once, when we had company and had a nice fire going–the fireplace is probably the most special and interesting feature in our little house–a guest was asking about Bingley’s habits.  “Does he go outside, or is he a house cat?” she asked.

Bingley was sitting by the fire, enjoying the warmth and listening to Alison Krauss, and he turned to me to hear my answer.

“Since we got him at the shelter, we’ve kept him inside, in case he went through any trauma.  He’s a house cat now,” I said.

I could tell by the look on his face that he wasn’t entirely happy with that answer.  He began to walk down the hallway, but he turned, and with a little flick of his head, he motioned me to follow.  So I went with him to his room.

He stood there for a moment and looked at me seriously.

“House lion,” he said.

“House lion?  Oh, I understand.  Sorry:  no offense.”

“Right,” he said.

From that day on I have referred to him as our house lion, which he much prefers.  He’s not a small fellow, and from the side you can definitely see the lion profile–though more of the mountain lion than the African lion.

He still wasn’t saying much in those days, just a word or two.  He’ll say rather more than that now, when something’s on his mind.

On Friday we were having an unusually warm day for this time of year, and we were sitting in the window box with the window open enjoying a cool (rather than filthy cold) breeze and listening to the birds.

Two cardinals were having a dust-up in the maple tree out front, and one chased the other into the burning bush at the edge of the house.  Instead of their usual plink, they made a ruckus, giving each other the serious business until one flew off across the street.  The other danced up and down a few times to proclaim victory, then dashed off after his opponent, apparently ready for more.

“Must have been territorial behavior,” I suggested.

“Theological argument,” Bingley replied.

He didn’t look straight at me, just turned his eyes a bit in my direction.

I tried not to guffaw.  Bingley can tell a joke and barely break a smile.  It’s one of his talents, though not especially one of mine, so I value it especially.