You will have noticed that cats feature prominently in my favourites. I love cats. Cats are not only beautiful, and that they are, but they are also pretty and cute and killers. You deal with a cat on its own terms. They can be incredibly affectionate if they want to be. They are smart, lithe, agile, timid, bold and need I say curious. They are certainly as popular as naked women on this site, maybe even more popular.
My first experience of a cat was as a five year old. My parents took me to an uncle's farm. Beyond the normal impressive sights a farm holds for a kid, I was totally taken by the big furry farm cat that jumped up on my lap and sat there comfortably purring until it was time to leave. I was mesmorised by the connection to this other being clearly communicating its pleasure as I played with it fur.
I must have begged for a cat, because soon we had one. A child requires adult supervision around a pet. Someone told me cats always land on their feet and in the process of verifying that fact from successively greater heights the cat decided it was better off elsewhere.
The next cat didn't fare much better. My sister and I would have a tug-a-war with it. "I want it, no I want it". That poor stretched kitty took off pretty quickly.
I was 8 or 9 when a cat finally decided to hang around. It grew up with our toy poodle. Puppy and kitten bonded better than me and my sister. They were hilarious, providing hours of family fun as they chased each other around the house, finally falling into an exhausted sleep in some mangled embrace.
In my adult life I have had two cats in succession. Both lived 20 years. The first an all white female and the second an all black male. Both cats were sterilized. They were outdoor cats, free to come and go. In 20 years the female never came home with more than a tiny scratch on her nose. She was smart, when attacked by a big male she would lie on her back and offer her throat to the aggressor. He would straddle her for a moment, decide he had made his territorial point and then wander off. My black cat in his first 4 or 5 years would come home with claws stuck in his head. Three trips to the vet for abscesses at $400 a stay made him a pretty pricey cat. Not as pricey as our white female who shredded two couches.
Our male cat was like a dog when he was young. He would be playing with children half a block away.I would call him from the front porch and he would come running home. The female was the hunter. She would sit on the narrow railing of our deck three floors up. She would leap into the air and catch a bat flying blithely blindly unaware. When I would hear a shreek I knew the cat had deposited its gift on my wife's pillow. I would return the relatively unharmed creature back to the night.
I miss those cats. But I live now in the centre of the city in an apartment. No place for a cat.
Each of their deaths, really from old age, was like the loss of an intimate friend.
That's the only downside of a cat. They don't live as long as us