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October 29, 2010

Never Underestimate

Here in my home, I have this cat that I managed to acquire by marriage, and is now part of my family. I'd had cats before so I knew what to expect going in.

But this cat is something different. Something special. Something about half a bubble off plumb.

Despite rightly being called a "special needs" cat, owing to suffering an especially high fever during her kittenhood, sometimes the wisdom of this not-always-so-smart pet just blows me away.

This cat has no patience for anyone. She wants to sit on your lap, but you're not allowed to actually touch her. Give her a skritching and you'll face the grip of her steely jaws.

Food must be delivered on time, or preferably early, or a string of thuggish behavior will ensue that begins with knocking things over and culminates in all out attacks on appendages.

She likes to fight before settling down for sleep at night, often leaving The Good Man with red marks on his arms.

She's rasty, moody and rather obsessive compulsive.

And, may I mention again, she has no patience for anyone. Or really...anyone who lives in the same house with her.

Guests? Oh, guests are great. She mews coquettishly and rubs legs and climbs up in laps and accepts chin scratches with chirrups and purrs and loving eyes.

In short, the cat is a tart. She'll give it away to anyone who visits, but for the folks at home...nothing. But here's where my heart grows soft. This silly, rasty, bitey cat is especially kind to kids.

Yesterday evening, a dear friend brought her eighteen-month-old daughter over to my place to watch Game 2 of the World Series. Her husband is on business travel and she wanted company.

Many cats I know will run hide under the bed when a toddler enters the room.

Not this cat. She adores children. The moment that toddler's toes hit the ground, we heard "kitty!" and it was off to the races.

The toddler pulled The Feline's tail, poked her ears and repeatedly hugged the kitty rather roughly. Did the cat run, bite or get nasty?

Nope. She went right back in for more, letting the child maul her while she head butted and purred.

Later, the cat was asleep up on top of her favorite perch, a stack of blankets on an old steamer truck. The toddler noticed the cat again, as though she'd never seen her before, squealed "kitty!" and went racing over.

I kept a close eye on things as I feared The Feline's patience was running thin. Toddler got a hold of tail and pulled hard. "No, no," I said, "We don't pull the kitty's tail." The toddler looked at me like I'd lost my mind, but let go.

At that moment, The Feline extended her paw out and I thought, "uh oh."

Then my rasty, tacky, bitey cat laid her paw (claws very much retracted) very gently on the baby's forehead. It was sort of like a "that's ok kid, you can pull my tail. We're all good."

And the baby giggled.

It was one of the most gentle and sweet gestures I've ever seen between two beings. They found a simpatico.

Again I'm amazed at the...well, I'd use the word humanity, but that wouldn't apply to a cat...the felinity?...that this little animal displayed.

I'm not much of an animal rights activist type person, but I will say this...never underestimate the soul of an animal. There is personality and spirit that is much to be respected.

Even a wacky, not quite right, bites my toes when I sleep kind of animal like mine.

Taken with my iPhone 4 using the Hipstamatic iPhone app

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Creative Commons License
All content of Oh Fair New Mexico by Karen Fayeth is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.