First Joys of an English Spring For a Cat

After a brutal winter of endless confinement and mild depression what does a big black domestic cat do in London, England when the first warm days arrive? This is what mine did. It’s a simple, but I hope, subtle, basic movie, which I think conveys something of the pleasures that a cat derives from going out in the garden, on the grass, in the warmth with his human. You’ll hear the birds and the London traffic! I’ve deliberately kept them in because that is the reality of London life.

Charlie insists that I go out with him. This may be because we are together all the time and he does not go out that much due to the English weather and me being a hermit ;). He is a bit anxious about going out – a good thing from a safety point of view.

For me, one of the most interesting little snippets is Charlie sniffing intently on the air. I think, actually, he might be “Flemming” for a while. It is not clear. This is tasting the air. You can see his mouth very slightly open to let the air pass over his Jacobson’s organ.

Of course, he had to nosh (English slang for “eat”) some nice, fresh, green grass. People aren’t sure why cats eat grass. My considered theory is that it improves oxygen intact into the blood stream making the cat a more efficient predator.

Charlie rolls over in the grass. This is a sign of joy. I love these moments with my cat companion.

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First Joys of an English Spring For a Cat — 23 Comments

  1. What a lovely video of Charlie really enjoying the Spring, rolling in the grass and taking in the scents.
    It’s raining and cold today here in the North East but we have had some milder sunny days and Walter and Jozef have made the most of them, just like Charlie.
    It’s said that cats eat grass to aid their digestion but I like your idea Michael that it improves oxygen intact into the bloodstream.

  2. Wow, Michael he really does look and act a lot like Monty! Except his voice is very different. There’s a brief moment where he vocalizes and he doesn’t sound like Monty at all even though he looks just like him. It was a bit disconcerting to see a cat who looks exactly like Monty but sounds so different. You don’t really notice Charlie’s missing front leg in the video. I just saw a happy cat. He is cautious like Monty also though, in preferring you to be out with him. Monty prefers that as well. Sometimes I just watch from inside the glass patio door and Monty will frequently look my way to check that I’m watching. He prefers us being together. He rolls just like Charlie, but the ground here is still very cold so he has been rolling on the back deck, which is made of wood, or the brick patio below that. The wood and bricks soak up the heat of the sun. Monty does that intense sniffing with his mouth open also.

    • Charlie is just like that. He goes outside, about 4 paces, and looks at me as if to say, “come on, you lazy human!”. Monty and Charlie are long lost step-brothers. They have different mothers but the same father 😉 Mr Monty-Charlie went to America to find his fortune and met a charming American cat and had another child. LOL.

      • I dreamed that Monty’s father was a black dachshund. It made perfect sense in my dream. I told my husband and he said, “You know it can’t work that way, right?” Yes, of course, cats and dogs can’t mate and produce offspring. But it seems plausible anyway. One of my tutoring students has a dachshund and two bigger dogs. The dogs are quite a distraction to me while working with my student because the little dachshund reminds me of Monty all the time. He’s always snorting and kind of growling. He holds his own against the two big dogs, I have no doubt. He will pick up a chew toy obviously belonging to the big dogs, which is almost too big for him to carry in his mouth– this long chew bone that’s almost as long as he is– and drag it around making little growling and huffing sounds that totally remind me of Monty defending his kill. My aunt calls Monty my “tough little street cat” and he does seem to have a toughness about him, not unlike the personality of a dachshund. It probably came from his early feral upbringing. He had to be tough. But if you could meet Monty and then meet my student’s dachshund, my dream that Monty was aired by a dachshund would not seem quite so strange.

  3. What a sweet post. The close up of his nose taking in the essence of spring is priceless. It is easy to see how delicious that grass on his back feels. That wonderful roll says a lot. Joy of spring indeed. What a pair you are! Charlie is a happy, safe, contented domestic cat.

    • Yes, Dorothy, he is an excellent sniffer 🙂 He has a long face and a very sensitive nose. I like to think he has more smell detecting cells in his long nose than the usual cat because there is more space for them. He is constantly sniffing. All these almost invisible things go on when a cat is out there in the “wild”. He loves me and of course I love him.

  4. Excellent video and the missing leg of “Charlie’ is not noticeable.I can never ever forget the cold English frozen winters, especially in the North-east of England.I never ever remember seeing cats out in the snow in South Shields but saw numerous dogs on daily walks in the snow with their owners.can cats survive outdoors in peak British Winter?

    • Can cats survive outdoors in peak British Winter?

      I don’t think so and that is why there are so few feral cats in the UK. You made that point a while ago in a comment. You said you never saw feral cats in London. I have never seen one either or anywhere else in Britain. They are there, somewhere, I am told, but there must be much less than in warmer countries including, it seems, the USA. Americans often write about the feral cat problem. There is certainly no feral cat problem in the UK.

    • We have a few feral colonies here in the North East of England where the winters are usually very cold and sometimes the rest of the year is quite chilly at times too.
      Our local Cats Protection have done TNR and have volunteers to feed the cats daily, most have survived the bitter cold and snow we’ve had this year.
      Ferals can stand the cold if they are fed but can get ill from getting wet too often.
      I think there are so few ferals here because of Cats Protection, we have done TNR for many years and it proves it does pay off eventually as does educating people of the importance of neutering their cats and trying to get through to them that cats are for life, not to be abandoned to fend for themselves.

  5. A lovely video of Charlie I so enjoyed watching him so happy and having fun in the sun 🙂 Its a joy to me just knowing that my cats are happy 🙂

  6. I should upload a picture of Monty outside last week in our unexpected little three day heat wave. Poor guy. He stuck to the shade, sprawled on the cool ground to keep warm. “But cats love warm sunshine!” people were telling me. Not when the temperature shoots up thirty degrees in the span of one day and they still have their thick, black winter coats!

    Two days later the temperature literally dropped thirty degrees in the space of one hour and it’s been somewhat chilly ever since. It dropped to forty degrees Fahrenheit overnight right after the heat wave of 80+ degrees. Poor Monty again! I refuse to turn the furnace in in May, I don’t care how cold it gets. He was just miserable in the chilly house after three days of shedding and me brushing him to get that winter coat off him. I put him under the covers on our bed, where could feel the heated water bed mattress. He curled up and finally slept but I could hear him meowing softly in his sleep now and then, as if his dreams were not pleasant or maybe he hadn’t quite warmed up yet.

    Such are the joys of spring in Wisconsin.

    • Well, you get big variations in temperature, while we get damp at one end of the spectrum and mildly warm at the other. It’s not quite like that but far less of a swing in temperature.

      I agree that a black coat in the sunshine will feel too hot, quickly. They head for the shade.

      A cat has different problems regarding temperature control. We can take clothes off and put them on but cats are wearing an overcoat all the time. It is probably worse for a double coated cat. Charlie has one coat as does Monty as far as I remember.

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