From a young age, I loved to watch cats gracefully stalk anything that moves. I giggled when they shook their hind ends and poured every ounce of concentration into choosing the right moment to pounce on whatever caught their interest. I admired their agility when they leaped onto a tree trunk and climbed up to a high branch in a flawless, fluid motion.
The way they acted disinterested and then practically made me beg to pet them fascinated me. I wondered if they would care if I said “forget it” and walked away (like I could actually do that). To this day, I find a cat’s purr one of the most relaxing sounds.
As a child, my parents weren’t too thrilled with my love of cats. The last straw was when I lured a bunch of stray cats to hang out in our front entryway. It was a great place for homeless cats, I thought. They were protected from the wind, rain, snow and sun. The potted plants gave them lots of places to hide (and to “do their business” as I later found out). I provided water in plastic dishes and sat outside for hours petting the cats. It was a perfect arrangement because none of us had anywhere else to go or anything better to do.
One day, my parents sat me down and explained the reasons I should not be so friendly with the strays. They were mostly concerned with diseases that the cats could carry (as an adult, I understand this is a valid concern, but as a nine year old child, I thought they were just being mean). The conversation’s ending came as a total surprise to me. They offered a solution that they felt would be best: they would buy me a cat.
Misty was an indoor/outdoor gorgeous blue point Siamese cat. In our small town, there weren’t a lot of places to get a cat, but my parents found Misty at a pet store for a low price because she wasn’t a baby kitten. I didn’t care because I had a cat of my own. My excitement faded to disappointment and a little jealousy when I realized Misty liked my mom best and nearly always ran away from me. This affection was ironic because of my parents, my mom liked cats the least.
We only had Misty a few years before she disappeared. After several weeks of no kitty, my parents gave in and we got another kitten. Through the school years when friends came and went, Abby never left. She lived eighteen years and by the time she died, I was married and had a house of my own.
Abby holds a special place in my heart, but I have had four other cats since then: CeCe, Cybil, Lizzy and Sammy. Right now, I have three cats, but if my husband was agreeable, I’d most likely have a few more. I can almost see myself as one of the odd (usually unmarried) old ladies that you see on TV with fifty cats in a tiny house. Besides my husband, there is one other thing that holds me back: how on earth would I be able to keep up with all those litter boxes? Ick.
This past week, I wrote a couple of poems dedicated to my special furry friends. I’ll share them with you on Thursday, which will be my next post. Have a good week!