Why Cats?


Because they have a mystique, won’t let humans define them, and each is world unto itself that is fascinating to observe.

Six weeks after getting our third cat, I am ready for a fourth if Peggy were agreeable, but she isn’t even happy about my fifty-seven volume library of cat books. I said to her, “Look here. You used to complain that I never spent money on myself. ‘Why don’t you ever treat yourself,’ you would say, so after 43-years of hearing this, I started collecting cats. Well, you put an end to that, so I started collecting books about cats, and now you say you don’t like that either!?”

In all fairness to Peggy, no matter what kind of a pet it is, one more than you already have seems like more trouble than “one more than you already have,” although I should think the opposite would be true. For example, getting a second dog years ago seemed like more than twice the work of having one dog, and getting a third cat seemed like more work than one half again the bother of two cats. As for my books about cats, Peggy wouldn’t complain if I hadn’t just filled twelve feet of shelf space with books by Margaret Deland and other Victorian era authors, leaving me with no space for my fifty-seven cat books. On the other hand, Peggy has been looking at puppies, and I figure one dog equals at least four cats. I also worry that the cats will be tre upset if Peggy brings home a dog. “Why don’t you get a parakeet?” I say, “The cats and I would love to have a parakeet.”

When Brewsky, our tabby man, was a kitten, the more I didn’t want him to do something, the more he wanted to do it. Having been a dog person and therefore been accustomed to my pet giving a rip about what I wanted, I concluded he was criminally insane. I also found his nightly yowling rampages unnerving, but his willfulness was my main problem, and it often inspired me to chase him through the house while waving my arms and cursing. Each such occasion would end with him looking out at me from under Peggy’s green leather recliner that she inherited from her Granny (and never uses) while I threatened him with dire consequences should he ever dare to do X again. A few minutes later, he would do X again, and I would reflect that it could be a long twenty years because I mistakenly imagined that his whole life would be the same way because I didn’t realize how dramatically kittens change when they become adults. Now, Brewsky tries hard to make himself agreeable, yet he’s so comfortable around me that he rolls over on his back and stretches his legs out when he wants to be petted. He’s also good with strangers, okay with having his toenails clipped, and loves his nightly brushings.

Scully is our shimmeringly gray muscle boy with GQ good looks. He’s also our most sensitive cat, which makes him prone to vomiting when he’s upset. Unlike Brewsky, he was a delightful kitten, but, at fifteen months, became shy. I thought to build his confidence by never petting him unless he clearly wanted it, but the more I did this, the more fragile he became, so two weeks ago, I took the opposite tact and started petting him even when he tried to get away. He has since become so self-confident that he
’s pushy at times. My growing comfort with cats has made me willing to experiment even if it means going against the advice of every book I own, which was the case with Ollie. I’ve also learned that cats are forgiving, so if they trust your love, you can be bolder than most people imagine, including people who love cats.

The worst thing about Ollie is that he is still nursing on Brewsky, so I finally bought some bitter spray and started putting it on Brewsky’s nipples yesterday. I had hoped it would discourage Ollie from nursing, but it has instead caused Brewsky to rabbit-kick Ollie whenever he tries to nurse. I would not mind him nursing nearly so much if he didn
’t slurp, and if Scully was not also starting to nurse. Such behavior usually occurs in cats who were taken away from their mothers too soon (Ollie and his siblings were found dumped on the side of a highway when they were still tiny). As for Scully, she had a secure childhood, so I think she’s just following Ollie’s lead.

Scully is just shy of six months of age, and I think of her as a saucy little wench who loves her two “uncles,” but wouldn
’t take any gruff from them even when she was a baby. What with her tuxedo markings, her autumn-leaf brown eyes, her white whiskers and feet, and her bold and intelligent expression, I’ll never have a more beautiful cat. Yesterday, I told Peggy that I have the good fortune to live with the two most beautiful females on earth. I look at Scully and marvel that she’s mine because it was only after we had had her for three months that Peggy confessed to not really meaning it when she agreed to let me get Scully. She was instead, she said, “calling my bluff” based upon her belief that I was just kidding about getting a third cat. Imagine her surprise when I took off like a shot when she agreed.

It’s true that when I turned around to blow her a kiss, I thought it odd that she was holding her head in her hands, but when I went back, she said she was fine, so once again I took off like a shot, only this time I didn’t look back. It turned out that I was but three minutes ahead of another person who wanted Scully (someone actually applied for Ollie before we did, but their application was rejected.) Thankfully, Peggy is now delighted to have Scully because Scully is a perpetual ray of sunshine. My only regret is that I can’t stop her from turning into a grown cat. I would even like to get a new kitten every year because kittens are a like a shot of joy both to grown people and to grown cats.

I don’t know how many people know this, but girl cats aren’t supposed to be as loving as boys. One of our first experiences with Brewsky was taking him to the vet for a check-up, and hearing the vet’s assistant say that she was glad we got a boy because boys are more mellow and affectionate. I’ve heard this same sentiment expressed by other people, but I can’t tell thus far. I just know that I wouldn’t trade Scully for all the boy cats on earth. Besides, Peggy wouldn’t want three-thousand-million boy cats—give or take a few.

18 comments:

Elephant's Child said...

I have shared my life with cats always. And they are a joy. And rarely follow the rules.
I have had female cats who are super affectionate, and males.
I love their independence, their beauty, and their idiosyncratic ways.

Marion said...

Hey, Snow! Long time, no see!!

Four cats is good. We somehow got up to six, but two died. We also had our 125 lb. Great Pyrennes who LOVED cats & raised 3 of our 4. In fact, he'd bring wild kittens in his mouth to us...which is how we ended up with six. The cats he raised from birth are doggish...they'll answer to commands...most of the time! He died a few years ago & is greatly missed. About those females...our two female cats fawn all over Ray and sleep on his pillow! They hiss at me and scratch me if I get too close! And MY two boys sleep on my side of the bed under the blankets. They're laid back and possessive of me. That's my input into the Snow cat survey. I love cats & dogs...we're looking for another Great Pyrennes, the gentlest, kindest, smartest dogs on earth. xo

Emma Springfield said...

You have become a definite cat person.

PhilipH said...

The cats we've had have all been affectionate, male and female. We've only ever had one cat at a time.

Their outstanding athleticism is, in my opinion, the most wonderful thing of all. Such strength, balance, and daring seems almost supernatural to me.

Watching one of the neighbour's young cats walking along the top of a six-foot high fence, the width of which is just millimetres wide, is almost unbelievable. And with unerring confidence too. They can zoom up the trunk of a tree almost as fast as a squirrel, but sometimes they cannot find their way down!

On a few occasions, our cat would bring us a 'present' - a mouse or a small bird. One could not be angry with such offerings as this is just what cats do, naturally.

I know you don't allow your pets to roam outdoors Snowy. It's far too dangerous and unfair on your neighbours. I wish we had done this in the past as it caused such heartbreak when our lovely little 'Candy' had her back broken by a vehicle of some sort. No more cats in our life now; we rely on our daughter's two hefty pups for some joyful petting now and again.

Stephen Hayes said...

My favorite pet was a grey tabby we bought after getting married. We had Sausalito for nine years before she died. I still miss her.

Strayer said...

You are so funny! I love this post. 57 books about cats. You have turned. I knew it would happen when you got Brewsky, that cats would intrigue you because you are so smart. One dog equals more work than four cats I think. More like ten. I think the cat should be our national symbol. What other animal exhibits such an independent nature I would argue. I have both male and female cats. The males are wonderful, but still engage sometimes in competition, tiffs, even mounting (although fixed). The girls too tiff at times but are just as loving. I'm surrounded in cats at night, mostly girls, who do dominate the boys in who gets the bed space. But each cat is very different.

rhymeswithplague said...

"Six weeks after getting our third cat, I am ready for a fourth if Peggy were agreeable, but she isn't even happy about my fifty-seven volume library of cat books....Peggy wouldn't complain if I hadn't just filled up twelve feet of shelf space with books by Margaret Deland and other Victorian era authors, leaving me with no space for my fifty-seven cat books."

See? See? Listen to yourself, man! You are just the teensiest, weensiest bit obsessive-compulsive, don't you think? And I'm sorry, but I may have to take a small leave of absence if you write many more posts about your cats. They are delightful creatures, and so are you, but I'm just saying.

E. Rosewater said...

cats more cats he bellowed and brayed.

you need about 5,607.

Snowbrush said...

“See? See? Listen to yourself, man! You are just the teensiest, weensiest bit obsessive-compulsive, don't you think?”

Nay, it is you who are both obsessive and compulsive for trying so persistently to convince me that I am obsessive and compulsive. I have been keeping a tally on you, and this is the 356th time that you have told me that I have OCD, so what can I possibly conclude but that you have OCD, and a bad case of it at that? Then again, maybe you just love intelligent writing, and your love makes you desirous of hearing my thoughts about more subjects than just cats. What about if I go back to trashing Jesus? Would that be more pleasing to you?

“I may have to take a small leave of absence if you write many more posts about your cats.”

I had an uncle who lived in Arkansas. during the first half of the last century (having moved there from northeast Alabama). His first name was King and his middle name was James. He liked dogs and had many of them (he might have owned 57 dog books too for all I know), but his wife, Molly, hated dogs, or at least she hated the problems they caused. One day they pulled her hand-washed laundry off the line one time too many, and she said to her husband, “King, either the dogs go or I do,” and he responded, “Me and the dogs will miss you, Molly,” upon which she made good on her threat and went live with her daughter in Mississippi. And so it is that I say to you will enormous sadness, “Me and the cats will miss you, Robert.” I will say one additional things about that, and it is this: If you stop following my blog, I’m going to travel to Georgia to live with you, so you need to ask yourself which you would hate more, reading 12,000 more posts about cats or having me move in. Who knows but what your wife would say to you, “Robert, either Snowbrush goes or I do,” whereupon you would just naturally feel that you had to say to her, “Me and Snowbrush will miss you, Mrs. Brague, but at least we will have our memories to get us through.”

More later…

Snowbrush said...

“We also had our 125 lb. Great Pyrennes who LOVED cats & raised 3 of our 4. In fact, he'd bring wild kittens in his mouth to us...which is how we ended up with six.”

My god, Marion, you’re back! I’ll come over with bells on. Your story is as sweet as it is hilarious. I’m just glad he never showed up with a grown mountain lion in his mouth or even a grown housecat because I just know that as soon as he dropped either one of them at your feet, they would have looked at you and said to themselves that you were to blame for them being humiliatingly carried about by a gigantic male dog with a desire to mother cats.

“You have become a definite cat person.”

What?! Why that’s a dirty lie told by my enemies to discredit me. I only keep bringing cats home as a form of penance for sins committed in a past lifetime.

“They can zoom up the trunk of a tree almost as fast as a squirrel, but sometimes they cannot find their way down!”

Their problem is that they have to come down rump first because, unlike squirrels, they can’t turn their toes backwards enabling them to climb down as adroitly as they climbed up. However there is one kind of a wild cat that can pivot its ankles around. I can’t remember off hand what kind of a cat it is, but I think it might have be called a caracal.

“On a few occasions, our cat would bring us a 'present' - a mouse or a small bird.”

Who do grown cats typically bring food to? Kittens, right, so the belief of cat scientists is that when cats bring prey animals to their people, they do it because they think their people are too inept to go out and kill their own food. So, the good news is that your cats loved you, but the bad news is that they didn’t regard you as their equal.

“I know you don't allow your pets to roam outdoors Snowy. It's far too dangerous and unfair on your neighbours.”

Yes, Peggy and I are firmly agreed about this, which is really nice because I feel so strongly about it that I wouldn’t give in under any circumstances. The most I would be willing to do would be to build an enclose area with a cat door through which they could come and go. I’ve even thought about doing this if the cats seemed unhappy staying in, but so far so good. My love to you, my friend.

More later…

Snowbrush said...

“trump is the most irritating and obnoxious person i've seen in years so i'd probably vote clinton.”

I understand, but I figure that Oregon is going to go Democratic no matter how I vote, so this gives me some freedom that I wouldn’t otherwise enjoy.

“I'm proudly voting for Donald Trump.”

You go girl! My Louisiana friend, you might enjoy visiting my Tennessee friend, Kathy at https://www.blogger.com/profile/01056276734145310231 (see comments to last post). Now, if I may be so bold as to respectfully ask, you’re a Christian, right, and I cannot imagine what Christian principals Donald Trump espouses. In other words, would Jesus vote for Trump, and if so, why? My own thought is that, if I were a Christian, I would probably embrace Quakerism because I believe it to be closest to what Christ believed. If you could find a single traditional Quaker who supports Trump, I would be speechless.

P.S. I remember you for your enjoyment of your cats playing at night, and for your enjoyment of Stevie Nicks.

rhymeswithplague said...

1. It was only 314 times.
2. If you went back to trashing Jesus, at least I would understand why after a fashion. That's the part that's missing with the cats.
3. I do not believe for a second that you had an uncle named King James. Now you're just pulling my leg. I would have believed Marvin or Pettus or even Beauregard.
4. You can't get rid of me that easy. I am liking cats better already. Twelve thousand posts about them sounds very enjoyable.
5. My wife doesn't call me Robert.

angela said...

My hubby is like you. It was all dogs. He thought cats were just not interesting at all
After having them all these years he is a convert. The one cat that stole his heart was the abused rescue we took in.
He actually got really made when I brought her home. But she became so loyal and so loving that she not only healed herself. But also turned his heart.
Last week after over 18 years we had to let her go. And it broke his heart.
This is the true power of cats.

hannah jane said...

This is a lovely post. I love how you've described their personalities and all their adorable traits - esp Scully's 'autumn-leaf brown eyes.'

I think having two dogs is much easier than one. But the first dog we got, Rose, was Emily Post in her past life so she was born darn near perfect (with only a few neurotic tendencies). Ella, our second dog, was born a heathen (God only knows what villain she played in her past life). Rose, however, would not stand for any heathens in her house and within a couple years taught her some manners. So now we have one dog who keeps everyone in line and another who is still a heathen, but a perfectly respectable one.

Snowbrush said...

“I do not believe for a second that you had an uncle named King James.”

Anytime you think I’m pulling your leg, just ask me and I’ll tell you the truth. I actually did have an uncle named that, but I should have called him my great uncle, him being my father’s father’s brother. My father visited him up in Arkansas when my father was still a young man, and he told my father that he had rather sleep with a wet dog than with any woman who ever lived (whatever he meant by that, I won’t be guessing). I thought the story about his wife was funny when I first heard it, but to now think of a man holding his wife in such contempt that he wouldn’t at least try to accommodate her when she was doing work for both of them no longer seems funny. It instead makes him sound like a nutcase whom his wife was better off rid of.

“ My wife doesn't call me Robert.”

Just so she doesn’t call you late to dinner as the saying goes. Would you like for me to call you what she calls you, and what is it that you call her? I don’t know if you read on All Consuming’s blog where I was talking about my top ten or so pet names for Peggy, some of which are endearing and others not so much.

“Twelve thousand posts about them sounds very enjoyable.”

Thank you.

“He thought cats were just not interesting at all.”

First, I’m awfully sorry to hear about the death of your cat. Second, I always liked cats, but when I was active, I wanted critters to accompany me on my adventures, and when I was a child, I wanted playmates. Now that I rarely leave home and don’t play much, cats suit me, plus I just finally got burned-out of all the work that goes with caring for a dog. I think it fair to say that I’m more interested in cats than is Peggy. She went from having nightmares about them to liking them very well (it was she who chose our tabby the day after our last schnauzer died), but she will always long for a dog.

“I love how you've described their personalities and all their adorable traits - esp Scully's 'autumn-leaf brown eyes.’”

Thank you.

“So now we have one dog who keeps everyone in line and another who is still a heathen”

Rose sounds like a herd dog. Our heeler definitely wanted to keep everyone in line and in good order, and there are numerous accounts of such dogs making a determined effort to herd everyone into the same room at parties. I once thought that for a dog to be of a certain breed only meant that it had the ability to do certain work, but with some dogs, it’s more on the order of a compulsion, and the dog is going to be miserable if denied its chosen work….Peggy had wanted to name our blue heeler Clair, which I just didn’t think would fit such a rough and tumble dog at all, so we thought and thought and thought, and finally settled on Bonnie Blue, which suited her wonderfully because she was a beauty queen among heelers. I consider her the beautiful dog I ever laid eyes on.

All Consuming said...

"My growing comfort with cats has made me willing to experiment even if it means going against the advice of every book I own, which was the case with Ollie." - I find this has been true in some respects with Rosie. Much like people some will fit into the general category, others don't. A happy post this. I'm glad.

Emma Springfield said...

“You have become a definite cat person.”

What?! Why that’s a dirty lie told by my enemies to discredit me. I only keep bringing cats home as a form of penance for sins committed in a past lifetime.

Please allow me to say an extremely sarcastic, "Very funny!" (Actually it is very funny.)

Joe Todd said...

As you know I'm not a Trump nor Hillary fan. Trump may be able to get some things done that need to be done. I am really concerned about a possible future depression and his Foreign Policy. Why does he continue to lie about things??? I was a 'dog" person about 40 years ago but have never been a cat person..Allergic.. Have a good one Snow