Game, Mr. Bond

Traditionally, James Bond, the super spy, plays baccarat. James Bond, the super cat, plays cat poker. They both play well.

He's a worrier.Between the holidays, a spate of erratic work schedules, and various pressing and sudden errands, James Bond has been feeling neglected. This, despite my efforts to fuss over him to make up for it. He appreciates that, but apparently it was not enough.

For the past few nights he hasn't been automatically following me into the bedroom at night. This is my cue to seek him out and tell him I'm going to bed, rather than taking his showing up for granted.

This is a classic way cats communicate their feeling of being neglected. It's an amazing psychological ploy, indicating a knowledge of mutual feelings of regard and the use of empathy between unlike species. Unfortunately, without understanding on the part of the human, this brilliant move is about as useful as a Ruy Lopez chess opening during a game of volleyball.

Too often, people think the cat is being aloof and indifferent, and they will ignore the cat in turn. Then they will be convinced cats are not affectionate.

Mr. Bond is making this move because he is affectionate. He wants reassurance about how I feel about him, and not just when I feel like showing it. He wants to make a move, and see how I respond. Will I notice he's not coming around? Will I care?

Well, I do and I do. So when my reminder of bedtime last night was not followed up by his presence in the bedroom, I realized just how neglected he felt. So I had to see him and raise him. I started calling him, with extra drama. "Where's Mr. Bond? I miss him? He's not here!" And in a few minutes, he appeared, to roll ecstatically on the bed, smack me with his forehead, and wind up in his usual "teddy bear" position, cuddled against my chest.

I missed him. I said so. And if he hadn't come to me, I would have had to get up and get him.

After all, I love him. I don't mind showing it.

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