Some people were raised on farms and only knew animals as outside pets, never to allow them to come inside and be a real part of the family, while others only have outside cats, and some simply don’t care for them at all. I prefer to co-habit with animals. I have always had a dog, and I got my first cat, Monet, just after Larry and I got married, much to the suprise of my husband. (He came home from work one day and there the cat was, all white and grinning, as if to say, “So, big fella, whatcha gonna do now that she’s in love with me?” My ‘love affair’ with Monet lasted 17 years, then I had to put him down after he developed a terrible cancerous tumor in his face. I cried for a week straight. It was really rough. I couldn’t imagine a house without a cat. They provide such a feeling of tranquility and comfort. (This is strickly personal. If you have the cat from hell, well, then your opinions will obviously be a hellofa lot different then mine). Would it be possible for the anti-cat people to change their irrational notions of cats if they had a pet like my cat Fletch?
The question I ask every day is, “Why do you love me so much?” This I ask not of my husband, but rather, of my yellow cat, Fletch, when he looks up at me lovingly, as though I were God himself. What did I do to deserve this devoted love my cat exhibits for me on a daily basis? And will there be a day when his adoration for me will be gone, and he’ll no longer even look my way, let alone give me that long, exaggerated blink with a smile attached that translates to ”Baby, you’re numero uno in my cat book?” I have 3 other cats, and not one of them even comes close to showing me the love that Fletcher does.
I’ve looked back at my history with Fletch and have picked it apart, looking for that magic moment when our worlds collided and we became inseperable (at least in his way of thinking)- when he became my cat companion for life. I believe I’ve figured it out. I look back to when I first saw him as a kitten in the cage at the humane society. I was the person who pointed at him, and cooed through the bars, and ultimately freed him from his tiny confinement in that cage and brought him to a sprawling home to live. I remember the time shortly after his adoption, when I discovered he was missing from our house. I looked all over for him outside, and waited for him to come back. He was gone for 2 days. It was autumn, the air was crisp and it had been raining. I made several passes around the outside of our house, to no avail, he was no where to be found. I called his name, was worried sick and to tears, said prayers that he’d come back and never gave up. The next day I had a strong feeling I should go in the backyard and search again and that time I was determined I was going to find him. I called him and checked the basement window wells again. Almost like a miracle, there he was, right where I had looked the previous day, stranded in the deep window well, cold, wet and very happy to see me. My face is what he saw as respite from his bad situation, my hand lifted him out from his prison and my warmth gave him comfort. He caught a bad cold from his bout in the rain, and I nursed him back to health with medicine and love. Years later, he became sick and disappeared in the house. I knew something was wrong because this cat is like my shadow, and he hadn’t been by my side all day. Initially, I thought he had gotten out, and I was distraught, thinking he was gone forever. After a while, I decided to search the house, looking in all his hiding/sleeping spots. No luck. On a whim, I checked my bedroom clothes closet and there he was, lying in the far corner, trying to not be noticed. He looked up at me and I could tell something was terribly wrong. I lifted him out, assessed his overall condition and made the decision to take him into the vet. This was the night before Thanksgiving, so the emergency vet was our only choice. I had a bad feeling if I waited till Friday, he might not be with us-he looked that sick. Long story short, he had pancreatitis as a result of swallowing a length of thread he picked up in my sewing room. He had to have surgery to remove the string from his intestines, and after a week, he was beginning to seem like his old self again. I think in his little cat brain he made the connection that I was the one who lifted him from that closet where he felt like absolute crap, and brought him to ‘the place’ where he was fixed and then, as a result he came home feeling better. These situations are what I believe created his devotion for me. Considering he’s a cat that doesn’t like to be held or picked up, he certainly does show his love in other ways-by doting on me.
Its funny now, 4 years after Fletcher had his exploratory remove-the-thread surgery, we now refer to him as ‘the $2000 Cat’. At the time, my husband couldn’t understand why I’d spend that kind of money on a cat that’s ‘so unfriendly’. Sure, that’s how he sees Fletcher, but the way I see it, there was no way I could let a cat down who needs me and who gives me such undying love and devotion. I had to plunk down the money to save him-I considered it repayment for his love to me, no matter how much it cost. Fletcher was young at the time, only about 2 years old, and I did the math, coming to the conclusion that he will probably live at least 10 -12 more years and in that time frame I will have many blissful moments with him- moments when I’m having a bad day, and there he’ll be, in his nonjudgmental way, just happy to be with me. I figured he’d be my shadow and my sofa companion for as long as he could manage, and for that, I owed it to myself to fix him.
I’m sorry for people who are denied the opportunity to have pets as children. I’m also sad for people who claim to hate cats. What causes someone to hate an animal so much? I’ve seen people who seriously detest cats and others who are so terrified of them, they recoil at just the sight of a cat. I know of a woman who can’t stand to be in a house that has a cat in it, not even if the cat is locked away. That is just plain weird, I’m sorry. I’m sure it’s deep seated and psychological, or it’s possibly related to something that happened to them as a child. But whatever the reason, I still feel bad that they won’t be able to experience what I do with Fletch. And in my humble opinion, those are just the people in need of as much unconditional love as they can get.
To this day, my husband never misses a chance to tell people who visit us about Fletcher and how he’s a freak for me. It’s almost like he’s jealous. I said to him, “Well, Lar, certainly you of all people can understand why Fletcher loves me so much, can’t you? ” Know what he said? “Well, not like that!” I found that to be funny. And it made me appreciate that little golden cat all the more.
If you’ve toyed with the idea of getting a cat, then good for you, go to your local shelter and adopt one tomorrow. If you already have a cat, I congratulate you. When you’re stressed out or if you develop high blood pressure, just a few gentle strokes across a cat’s back will send your troubles fleeting for a short time and just might bring your diastolic number down to an almost normal range. Give animals a chance. They are certainly willing to give us a chance-and that’s saying a lot. I don’t think Fletch will be losing his verve for me anytime soon, and I definately have no fear of him nibbling on my fingertips should I kick the bucket. Somehow I know he’d never do that to me.