I believe in cats. When I wake up in the morning I am often hemmed in on my left by Maggie, and on my right by Casey, adorably curled up against me, each with one little paw on my arm, and one pristinely covering their eyes so the light of day doesn’t penetrate their comfort zone. Their warm, pulsing contentment is contagious, and if not for a commitment, or an edict from my bladder, I’d be tempted to stay. They are always surprised when I finally will myself to desert them – incredulous that a person would leave such a utopian moment on purpose. Humans: Go figure.
Then, I make it to the den with that all-important cup of caffeine. Jackson launches his nearly 20 pounds into my lap, purring like a souped up Mustang. Now I’m juggling the editorial page, a mug of hot liquid, and the feline equivalent of Hulk Hogan, when Jasmine begins her mewing campaign for me to “Play Now! Right Now!” So, I add to my amazing circus performance a feather on a stick, ripe for pouncing.
Every cat has a story, and when I’m establishing contact with one of the strays I’ve rescued, I discern what is unique about each. Thomas is a big white fellow who drools when he is afraid, loaths dogs, and wants only one thing: not to be left alone. He lives now with 90 year old Adelene, who wants him next to her day and night.
My Jasmine, so black she is almost blue, was about as big as a cricket when I discovered her living at a bar with an outdoor patio, unwanted, foraging for crumbs. When I trapped her, the vet said she was so wild I’d be lucky to ever touch her. What they didn’t know was that I would sit with her night after night, reading aloud, praising her, learning her ways. She is the gentlest cat I have ever known.
Casey, a petite Siamese mix, was a mass of open sores when a friend brought her to me. I had never seen a creature in more misery. She knew she needed help and trusted all who tried. Many tears and doctor visits later, Casey was cured, soft as a bunny, and she’s a radiant combination of mischief and wisdom –a feline Yoda.
Sali, a “tuxedo cat,” was one year old and had feline leukemia when I found her. Sali was an athlete, a wild woman at play, and a force to be reckoned with. She became a friend’s office cat and ruled her kingdom three years before that cruel disease took her life, having made conquests of every person she met. Even folks who hated cats loved Sali, and she is still mourned.
I believe in cats. And I believe each one is a gift to the universe, as are we all. Helping these interesting, exquisite, affectionate animals find their place on the planet is one of my life’s privileges and joys.
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