Cats come like small surprises, furry bundles of joy.
|THE CAT’S MEOW
by Victoria McCullough
Colette: “Our perfect companions never have fewer than four feet.”
Somehow, we always knew that Princess would be the cat of a lifetime for us. We purchased her at a pet store, a four-week-old kitten, for a whopping ten dollars! Even though she passed on a good five years ago, her memory is strong in my mind as I take care of our new cat, Muffy Lu.
Princess was a domestic short-haired Tabby cat, very tidy. She had a fur belly of whitish color and white at the temples like a widow’s peak, with light gray on her back. She had a raccoon tail which gave her very beautiful markings. She was coy as a kitten could get years back when she bounced a ball, loved noises, followed the light of a flashlight flashing against the wall, tinkling bells, and plastic mice.
She was basically such a show cat, of that I’m sure. We had her pose for many camera shots, and they always were near and dear to us. Once, we had her inside of a Cube Pepsi box with a hole for her head; she peeped out for a Christmas photo from us.
The stories you can tell about cats. I suppose some of them are all about how snobby pretty cats can be. Princess didn’t take to anyone else but my boyfriend and me. She loved us for eleven years, the same way she did as a young growing cat.
Let me tell you about her visits to the vet. She had always been given rabies and distemper shots. She was spayed and declawed. She constantly got sensuous with her tongue around her legs and inner belly, but stayed tame and calm. She weighed in at fourteen pounds when she was near death. A rather large cat with beautiful, occult green eyes. She loved to eat, I guess. William gave her Friskies tartar control treats for listening, and I fed her special diet Purina Cat Chow for difficult cats with problem-urinary tracts. She seemed to have improved,near the end went in her litter, kept it nice, was --again--very tidy. But look out when she was about to get a shot! Her body shook, and her ears primped up, she hissed, and she was ready to say goodbye immediately. To vets, of course, this is normal for a growing cat.
Princess learned how to drink out of a large, plastic mug on my boyfriend’s vanity. With treats, she regularly jumped up on the bed and to the mug, every night at 7:30 for Wheel of Fortune. She wanted nothing out of the ordinary from us, I think. Just love. Petting her pink, wet nose. Calling her a pretty girl, a sweetheart, a dear.
Pricking her rear-end up, she looked half-blind and comically had the run of the house like a queen--from closets to underneath beds and sofas, to hiding in boxes to royally laying over our own bed. She was as curious as they come. She loved television when she was inside. But in the summer, look out, she loved to be out and about the front porch on a leash. Summer breezes took her into the grassy yard to watch birds. Anywhere we went, we'd take her there in a pet-taxi. She whined about it but settled down after awhile.
Yes! Cats have an amazing history! Let's consider that for a moment.
Cats were brought to North America by European settlers. A male orange Tabby from Britain was said to have been here as the “first breed”. Throughout European history, the cat has had many cat haters, even though there are many lovers of them.
There was a reverent appreciation of cats during the 17th century, in association with a cat’s intelligence and serenity. At some point, ladies decked cats with jewels and bequeathed them their worldly goods.
Olden day writers, painters, and musicians may well have had that fondness for cats which was , at times ambivalent,due to cats being objects of witch hunts. In Act III of Romeo and Juliet Shakespeare celebrates the longevity of cats with this line:
“TYBALT: What wouldst thou have of me? “
“MERCUTIO: “Good King of Cats, nothing but your nine lives.”
Robert Southy, Joanna Baillic, John Keats, Alfred Tennyson, Algernon Swinburne, Matthew Arnold, Thomas Hardy, Mark Twain and Henry James loved cats. Ernest Hemingway was a warm admirer of cats. He crossed imported Cuban cats with American varieties believing he was creating a new breed.
Yet famous cat haters exist. Napoleon, dictators in the likes of Mussolini and Hitler, Queen Elizabeth I; Henry III of France was terrified of them. Ambrose Pierre described cats as poison in 1583 in a modest treatise. James Boswell recalled how Samuel Johnson had oysters with his cat called Hodge, and hated him.
I stroke my new cat, Muffy Lu and something wonderful hits me. I do so many things, things that are duties so my playful interaction with her is instantly rewarding. I might not feel as good through the day, without her pout and meow. It is uncanny that I have never cried over spilled milk,because Princess was always a joy, Princess was set on being special and I want Muffy Lu to live as long as Princess did. With care, cats can do so. She WAS special. Her pretty raccoon tail wagging a bit, she was the Cat’s Meow.