Friday, June 1, 2012

Felines in My Life

Another rerun for your enjoyment, slightly modified from the original.  I can do that; I wrote it.  Please don't hate me, Lin and Grace.  I know I would love your cats.

I prefer dogs to cats. I have seriously tried to understand this. Perhaps it stems from the fact that as a small child I had the most beautiful pure white cat which I named "Condibell." The day before my fifth birthday the family relocated to another state and the cat was left on a farm in the bleak environs from which we fled.

Cats are among the most beautiful of creatures in the animal kingdom, and vain about it, too. They are natural predators, and as such they are armed with savage weapons and exceeding guile. They are untrustworthy.

I hold no animosity toward those who harbor cats. Several of my dearly loved family members do. And with the exception of Mickey,* it is almost inevitable that if I visit in the home of one of these siblings, progeny, niece or auntie, and if I am seated for a sufficiently long period of time, the family feline will wind up on my lap. This is both perception and perversity. The cat has a keen sense of my lack of enthusiasm; it has the perversity of nature to choose me as its roost. Does it hope to ingratiate itself to me, change my way of thinking? Nay. It is done in spite.

I have had the unfortunate experience of having such a creature curled on my lap, and soft and silky as he was, I found myself anon stroking the luxurious fur. The cat began to purr. Its eyes closed, the purring grew more rhythmic, more pronounced. Both Tom and I were in the zone, so to speak, when suddenly and with no warning, the son of a puss twisted, quickly, quickly, and bit my thumb, drawing blood.

And though no human, man or woman, child or octogenarian, has ever "owned" a cat; yet there are millions of well-intentioned people who keep them, coddle them, and allow themselves to be ruled by them. We won't even talk about the canned food and the litter box.

Also, trust me. If your cat behaves as Tom did , it too shall be flung precipitously across your living room.  Reflexively, of course, no ill-will to be imputed.

[I did harbor a stray cat a few years ago, outdoors and in the basement, you understand. I cared for  him, and just when I was starting to grow fond of the thing, he crawled into the engine compartment of the car and the rest is gory history. Stupid cat.]

*Mickey and I understand each other.  I leave him alone and he reciprocates.  Now that is a gentlecat.


Jim said...

See, your trouble was that you became absent-minded in stroking that cat. You must always keep your wits about you in such situations, as there is often a "tell" in the cat that warns you to cease operations.

Anonymous said...

What Jim said. Tho there are some cats that are just "mouthy" by nature - like a lot of dogs. Rotties are very "mouthy" - sweet animals but they will eat your house - literally. I know, been there, done that. I love dogs but they are a lot of work and I am too old to be up at 5 am to be walking one in all kinds of weather. Cats are such a delight - what do folks do for laughs without a cat or two. But then I love otters and ferrets and frogs and lizards and parrots and...and...and- But not swans, they are mean birds (and huge!)

Shelly said...

You have described perfectly the capriousness and very fickle nature of the cat. I still don't understand them, although we have several.

Chuck said...

I like the way Jim explains it. My recently departed buddy, Midnight, had a "tell." When he moved his head in that certain way, I knew it was time to let him be.

Lin said...

Well, see, that's the problem--you expect cats to be like dogs....and they aren't. They don't like to be pet endlessly and mindlessly. When they want your attention, it has to be just that--your full attention. Then when they've had enough, they go their own way. And that is my favorite part about them--they don't need me.

I understand that some people are "cat people" and that others are "dog people". I like both, but I prefer not to own a dog. We get our dog fix with Sammy the Weiner Dog, but, boy, am I happy when he goes home!

vanilla said...

Jim, I believe you. My problem is that I have spent insufficient time with cats to get to know them.

Grace, and what I said to Jim. I think cats are beautiful and I respect them as legitimate members of the animal kingdom, but I’ve not had one around on a regular basis in seven decades.

Shelly, even if you don’t understand them, you are a league ahead of me since you do have them around.

Chuck, the consensus seems to be that Jim nailed it.

Lin, well, not exactly because I do know them well enough to be aware that they are independent creatures. There is yet another people category, “animal people.” My eldest stepson is one such. He has dogs and horses and harbors numbers of cats.

vanilla said...

Footnote to all my loyal readers who commented here. Thank you so much for your insights. I did not realize when I scheduled this for posting that today is "Hug Your Cat Day." Serendipity again.

But since I've no cat, I attempted to hug the neighbor's cat. Mistake.

Sharkbytes said...

I'm better with dogs than cats too. Don't tell Lin.