I do not really remember the cat that lived with us when I was a kid back in Chicago. I must’ve been about five. I think his name was Tiger. The only vague memory I have of him is that he would climb our neighbor’s tree and then jump onto their roof and start yowling. “Meow! Meow!” Eventually one of us—usually one of my sisters, perhaps—would go up through the neighbor’s attic and out the window to retrieve him and bring him back down. We would laugh at how silly he was, not able to get down on his own. Looking back, I think we were well trained.
At some point before we moved to California, the cat ran away. My mom was worried about him being lost. However, she did find him, sitting and purring on an old lady’s lap a few blocks away. They both looked very content, so my mom let the woman keep him. This experience is what I knew about cats, other than the neighborhood strays that messed up the garden and stalked the birds. When I was in graduate school, I visited a cousin who had a Siamese—pretty cat. But crazy. Maybe a little mean. At first I felt pretty good that the cat seemed to take to me, even fell asleep on my lap while I was reading. But when she woke up, she stretched and then reached out and bit my hand before she jumped away. My cousin said something reassuring like, “She does that.”
Can you blame me for not being crazy about cats?
Obviously, it is no surprise that I am not a cat-person (vs. a dog-person). But I actually grew to like cats. Once I met a few more. The first great cats I got to know lived with some friends, when we all lived in Texas. Those cats were lovely felines: sleek and beautiful, patient but eventually willing to get to know me, curious and creative in how they played. And they did not bite! I saw their personalities, their interplay with their owners, their habits and quirks and fell in love with them. I may never troll websites for cat videos, but I do now appreciate cats for their beauty, agility, independence, curiosity, playfulness, and assertiveness. I would not call them aloof, just thoughtful and cautious. Admit it: there is something special about a cat sleeping on your lap, purring against your legs, trotting to the door to say hello, and playing with empty boxes or some other silly thing.
I expect some of my readers are cat-people and can share some great cat stories to make me like cats even more than I do already. If I owned a cat, I think I might be persuaded to build a wall of boxes like the guy in the video below did. I especially like how he shared the design plans with the cat before construction.
Below are some photos and quotes that show some of the cats I have gotten to know and some quotes that capture the essence of cats. ENJOY!
Cats always seem so very wise, when staring with their half-closed eyes. Can they be thinking, “I’ll be nice, and maybe she will feed me twice?” Bette Midler
If cats could talk, they wouldn’t. Nan Porter
You cannot look at a sleeping cat and be tense. Jane Pauley
Cats seem to go on the principle that it never does any harm to ask for what you want. Joseph Wood Krutch
A cat in grass is a tiger in the jungle. English Proverb
If there is one spot of sunshine spilling onto the floor, a cat will find it and soak it up. J. A. McIntosh
The ideal of calm exists in a cat. H. G. Frommer
Happy is the home with at least one cat. Italian Proverb
What greater gift than the love of a cat? Charles Dickens
I wish I could write as mysterious as a cat. Edgar Allan Poe
There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life—music and cats. Albert Schweitzer
One cat just leads to another. Ernest Hemingway
In ancient times cats were worshipped as gods; they have not forgotten. Terry Prachett