The CAT: Feline, bobcat, cheetah, cougar, grimalkin, jaguar, kitten, kitty, leopard, lion, lynx, malkin, mouser, ocelot, panther, puma, puss, pussy, tabby, tiger, tom, tomcat, feline animal, and a domesticated pet.
These are merely definitions from a book. Not from the hearts of cat owners. Any cat owner will have their own set of words to personalize, demonize, or idolize their beloved fluffy fur ball.
In my youth, we had the typical childhood animals. My sister Laura had numerous hamsters. We both had more parakeets than you can count on one hand. They were all named the usual names: Petey, Blue Boy, and Blue Bird.
I was a tomboy as a kid. I most times had a lizard in my pocket or in my hand, or a small garden snake draped on my shoulder or across my neck throughout the day. These little “friends” of mine are lithe, agile, and harmless snakes often discovered in a backyard garden. My mother was a very good sport.
We also had cats, usually they were the ones that would wander into the yard that we HAD to keep , provide them with love, and attention. Then there was Mother cat, aptly named because she had a litter every time you turned around.
Each and every one of the litters were beautiful, sand colored kittens, with the sweetest tiny mews as they greeted the world.
Daddy was very fond of Mother Cat. On several “delivery days” he would provide her with a protected warm and cozy delivery space in a cupboard in the family room.
Many a night he would sit with her all night long with a flashlight, speaking calmly while he reassured her as the kittens came one by one. He was her doula before they became popular again in the 21st Century. My Daddy, the mid-wife, and the great protector.
In my adult years, I have not been a cat owner. I am, however, the “Auntie” of my good friend and neighbor’s cat.
This beautiful petite cat’s name is Juanita. I am not sure if she has a middle name. I will have to ask her if she has one on our next visit.
I have the pleasure when my friends travel on short sojourns, to be Juanita’s food provider, valet, playmate, pooper-scooper, and to reassure her that all is fine with the world during her parent’s absence.
Juanita and I have fun together. When I enter the house to feed her in the morning she greets me at the door. Okay, perhaps hunger is the motivator. I greet her with a cheery, “Morning, Juanny! Did you have a good night? Did you have wonderful dreams of mouse hunting ,and romping in the tall grasses of catnip?”
She looks at me and eagerly runs to the exquisitely beautiful oriental runner that adorns the dining room. She does a flip or two. I rub her tummy. She purrs happily, glad to have my company.
Then, IT IS OVER! “Feed me,” she glares! “I mean it. I did a somersault for you, now please make my plate of breakfast. I am hungry, and that’s all the playing we are going to do. It’s breakfast time.” Sometimes, I am certain, Juanita has a Hello Kitty™ watch she wears on her paw under all her fluff to stay on her schedule.
Cats, you gotta love them.
They are independent, running the household with their love, tenderness, and giving. But, always by their rules.
Juanita sits at my feet as I prepare her delicious looking morning feast. I place it on her “Kitty” placemat. She completely forgets I am in the kitchen, house, or even in California. She is focused – only her agenda matters.
Next comes my other morning task. Poop Engineer. For Christmas, I wrapped a present in gaily and bright snowman holiday paper. The gift was her “Don’t Open Until Christmas Morning” present. It was a Litter Genie for her. Okay, it was actually for me when I kitty-sit.
I happily put it under the Christmas tree the week before Santa arrived. She sniffed it throughout the week, and tried to figure out what I was giving her. Excitement filled the air.
This marvel of an invention is the greatest. It is perhaps, even more important than the light bulb, Ziploc baggies or even the iPad. This whiz-bang apparatus is a dream come true. A little scooping – open the lid, deposit her deposit, close the lid, pull a lever, and the job is done.
It is absolutely amazing. Two weeks can go by before it is necessary to change the bag, taking out this gloriously tightly wrapped bag of nature’s gifts. It is pure Heaven. It is the best gift I ever gave anyone for Christmas!
That morning , as I finished with my organic organizing, Juanita’s belly is happily filled. She now wants to play and sing. Well, actually, I sing. She listens, and rolls around to the dulcet tones of my non- American Idol vocals. All is well with the world.
In the late afternoon, we repeat this exact routine as the sun sets finishing its activities for the day. The sky is filled with stunning and amazingly vivid shades,. Every color from the very BIG box of crayons.
It is the time when the world is getting ready to call it a day. It is the time to rest to begin anew tomorrow. To start a new day filled with every possibility.
Juanita is a joy to share my day with. She shows me loving affection, gives me sweet companionship, and unconditional attention. She is willing to share her days with this once stranger. We are comfortable pals. It is joyous to have this very sweet new friend, and I am delighted.
Cat people may be on to something.