I think the first cat we had together was a test in my heart. Would he treat it kindly? All objects and animals and plants are a way to practice mindfulness, compassion, gentleness, patience, care.
He was driven mad by the kitten who scratched chairs, climbed curtains and legs, meowed. Any why wouldn’t it. It was too young to be weaned and away from its mother. It was pulled from all he knew into a bachelor apartment with a person who was away most of the time.
I can’t recall how long he kept it but he bought it from a shelter for $200 and gave it away for free.
The next cat was given to us by his parents who didn’t want him anymore. We had him weeks but he lived most of his life not-here and hadn’t seen hubby in half his life. A door opened and he bolted and was never seen again. Eaten by foxes perhaps. Maybe taken in by a neighbour we never met.
The third time we saw an ad from a shelter of inseparable cats who had bonded at the shelter. They were both old and of ill health. We didn’t know how ill of health. One mentally cracked and vets could do nothing. She self-harmed, biting her own tail, tried to live in a closet, terrified and resentful of all humans. At moments she had contentment but that amount of the day steadily declined.
The other had chronic digestion problems but she lasted longer. She is for whom this blog initially started. She was affectionate. She brought out his nurturing side. I became allergic to cats, felt a great relief to travel and to be without a cat. A few years passed.
We swore we’d never have another cat. And then there was this orphan who was beautiful and couldn’t stand other cats, would kick the tail of any so had to be isolation. But she was a baby, barely a teen in cat years. We took her in.
She gradually wins us over. She tests her limits, dangling a foot from the window ledge onto the dining table. Meowing ceaselessly protesting that it is raining. Going to other door, believing it won’t be raining on that side. Redoubling her howls of indignity of it raining on both sides of the house.
And yet sometimes we wake and she has curled up behind our knees or in the crook of an arm while we sleep. Sure, it’s for heat. But when we come home, she greets. Sure, it’s for food. But I stand up under a cabinet door and give myself a ringing head and fall and he comes running, sniffs, inspects. pats and purrs at me then walks away.
But she could be anywhere in the house and chooses under the sofa I’m on, or under the chair I’m on, or the bag I carried. I cry and she comes to comfort. We read aloud and she comes to hover near our voices. There’s some kind of attachment there. She’s afraid and she runs towards us. We go away for too long and she she sits on her laps. We go away and leave her to a cat sitter and she refuses to eat a full stomach until we return. There’s some sort of attachment there and I have to admit, it goes both ways.