I live with someone.

That’s him.

Tom Katz. Six pounds of attitude. He picked the pose.

I’m surprised the the picture’s in focus. Between the time the viewfinder went blank while the shutter opened and the view returned, he moved up for a closer look, then back to where he was when I pushed the shutter button. Extreme close-up indeed!

Tom’s a solo indoor cat. Which for an adult male is okay. Solo is the way they’re wired. He spends his day patrolling his territory, protecting it from intruders, and looking for girls. (I know adult human males who spend their days that way, too.) For a cat, it’s a fulfilling lifestyle.

He’s upset that I say he weighs 6 pounds. He’s a bigger cat than that. (Aren’t we all?) He’s also fluffy. That helps when you need to look big, bold, and menacing. And that helps when you’ve got territory to protect. Not that he’s got any challengers.

Well, actually, he does have a challenger, a new one: Me.

I upset his routine when my work schedule changed. I’ve been home more often lately. You see, I’d been going to work in the late afternoon, returning around midnight on weekdays. That meant Tom had had the house to himself for about 10 hours a day. Now I’m telecommuting.

When my schedule changed, so did my daily routine. I didn’t realize that that put a crimp in Tom’s lifestyle. Food and beverage service became something of the moment, not regulated according to my departure or arrival. Access to furniture—his not mine—was suddenly subject to availability. I was getting in his way.

I thank my stars he opted to bring his grievances to my attention though discussion, instead of the traditional feline way of ignoring his sandbox.

When I say, “discussion,” I mean retraining—mine not his. At first, I thought he was being more affectionate, talking more, nuzzling me. Then I realized the behaviour was inconsistent. Why nuzzle only when I was watching TV in the bedroom at 8 p.m. and not at 2 a.m.? Why only while I was reading on the couch at 4 p.m. and not 2 hours earlier? Why only while sitting on the desk chair at 11 a.m. and not in the afternoon? And why only on weekdays?

Because Tom sat in a sunny spot on the desk chair before I got up to go to work. The couch offered an afternoon sunny spot while I was at work. He slept on the bed before I got home, Monday to Friday. Gently, I was being told I didn’t belong there, to move along, to find somewhere else to be. After all, at those times, that was his territory.

We’ve come to a new arrangement. Well, actually, my work-from-home schedule has solidified. So food and water have gotten back on schedule, and with my taste for freedom after the fetters of physical commuting sated, I’ve settled into a routine not dissimilar to my old one, except I don’t go out as often (though I am on the phone more). Tom’s day has returned to normal.

If anything has changed, it’s that we have dinner together more often.

(Please, I’d rather not discuss his access to the TV or computer.)

I’m forever,