This I Believe

Ann - Coppell, Texas
Entered on March 10, 2007
Age Group: 50 - 65

I believe that cats are the most awesome creatures on the planet. Pumpkin was the first cat I knew. She belonged to family friends. She was, indeed, pumpkin-colored. My memories from that early age are vague, but I remember watching her give birth to kittens. My family adopted one, but he died from a heart problem when just a few months old.

Other family cats were Whiskers, Tabby and Chica. We adopted Whiskers from the Humane Society. Tabby and Chica were strays. Chica found us via an outdoor sleepover. Suddenly, during the night, one of the girls bolted from her tent screaming hysterically. Once she calmed down we could understand what she was saying, that a cat had tried to suck out her lungs. It was hard not to laugh. I too had long hair and quickly learned that Chica loved to nuzzle her face in my hair. She purred loudly and drooled!

As an adult I adopted two cats, Chelsea and Putney. Chelsea was extremely communicative, smart and demanding! Once when I scolded her for eating Putney’s food she lifted her paw and cried out. When I tried to touch it she screamed. I’d heard of animals faking a hurt paw so I conducted a test. I started up the stairs and Chelsea’s paw must have healed quickly because she beat me to the top.

Many times when I went up to bed Chelsea would whine and cry at the bottom of the stairs. The more I cajoled her, the more she whined and cried. One night, instead of cajoling, I commanded her to come upstairs. She galloped up the stairs. I finally caught on to that trick!

After Chelsea died, I had to coax Putney to come out of her shell. Slowly she began to meow freely and follow me around. A vet once asked which cat was the alpha cat to which I replied, “I am now that Chelsea’s gone.”

Putney liked to situate herself within defined areas. She stuffed herself into boxes and baskets that were smaller than she was. If I wanted her to stay in a particular spot, I put a piece of paper down. Putney was a very amiable girl. She died a few months ago. In due time, we will adopt other cats.

My mother once said that she visibly noticed me relax when my cats were near. Cats are quiet and calming. They are clean. Cats are both powerful and agile. What other creature can jump several times their height and land on a dime? Cats are the only creatures I know of that knead and purr. I’m in awe of humans who perform brain surgery. I’m in more awe of cats because humans haven’t definitively determined how they purr.

Whenever a cat approaches me I feel special because it means that I have gained their trust. When a cat curls up on my lap I feel honored because it means that they trust me with their life.