I know, animals are not people (technically) but all you animal lovers completely understand what I mean. We are united on this. Others do not, and may never understand, and that’s perfectly fine. We know what we are talking about.
For example, I used to think I live alone, but I changed my mind. I am counting my two kitties as persons of note and importance. Even though they sleep a good part of the day, they require almost as much attention and labor as a child and/or a spouse. They also give as much love as any member of a human family, just not the same type of conversation.
I have learned, however, to speak a certain level of kitty language. My training began when the kitties came to live with me four years ago when they were eight months old (one from a neighbor and one from our animal shelter) but five months apart in age. Dudley (the first one to arrive and the boss cat) is a half-breed long-hair. I swore I never would have a long-haired cat, but he was so charming when I went to see him I couldn’t resist. He is also very handsome.
Talk about work. That cat requires a bath once a month just to keep his hair from smothering us all. Plus, grooming every day (which he doesn’t get – maybe every other day sometimes). Anyway, back to kitty language. Dudley was very lonesome at first, what with missing his brother and his former family. He hid in the farthest corner of the utility room next to the furnace most of the time, coming out only to eat and relieve himself. By the way he is an Excellent Kitty due to the fact that he has NEVER messed in the house. I explained to him on his first day here that if he messed in the house he was going to the animal shelter, since his former family had moved.
Back to kitty language. In order to comfort and coax Dudley out of his dark, lonely corner I talked to him a lot during my daily activities, using my kitty voice and telling him how wonderful he is. You animal lovers know all about this. You also know about meowing at/with your lovable kitties – or barking/howling with your lovable doggies. (Well, if you don’t, I do). As a result of the kitty voice and the occasional meow, both my cats are eager and accomplished conversationalists.
Talk about living a spiritual life. When you have pets and you can carry on a two-way, clearly-understood conversation with them you are steeped in spirituality. Cross-species communication is pure heart-to-heart contact, and we animal lovers do it all the time.
Shortly after Dudley’s arrival, I decided it might be nice for him to have a companion of his own species. I visited the animal shelter several times intending to attract just the right kitty for us (me, really, since I didn’t feel qualified to choose for Dudley). There she was, a stocky little mostly-black tortoise shell (I figured a female was the better choice because males and females don’t fight) in a cage yowling as if she would explode if she didn’t get out of there immediately. When I opened the door, she jumped over my head (OVER MY HEAD!) and began patrolling the room looking for an escape. Of course, I loved her right away.
When we arrived home and I put the kitty carrier down, Dudley could hardly wait to see what was in it. I opened the door, and Fiona burst out hissing and went for the window sill like a shot. Those two cats spent the next eighteen months wrecking the walls under the window sills with their claws as Dudley chased Fiona around the house for a friendly game of tackle (which he never got).
Poor Fiona came from a traumatic background where she was one of 80 kitties. God knows how they lived. She wouldn’t let either of us touch her and wouldn’t come near us, either. It took a year of kitty conversations to convince her that we were trustworthy and lovable. Now she is the most affectionate cat and requires regular and enthusiastic attention on a daily basis. She purrs like a buzz saw.
Two years after they arrived, when I was sure they were through acting like crazed monsters (after all, they were 14 in dog years) I spackled the damaged walls and painted them. You can’t tell a thing.
Now that they are almost 4 years old (28 in dog years – I can’t help it) they have calmed down a great deal. They wait outside my bedroom door for me to wake up each morning (have you ever had cat hair up your nose and in your mouth?) and almost never have an altercation. More about that another time. Then they wait while I fix my cappuccino, and the three of us sit on the couch together while I allow the wake-up process to commence. This almost never varies, and I am very grateful.
You could do worse than live without cats. I’d hate to have to.
- Claus (pixilatedtoo.wordpress.com)