Sunday, December 2, 2007

Becoming Catty

I'd never had a cat before moving in here in September, and I'd never wanted one. My family had a few Beagles as pets over the years, and I've just always seen myself as more of a dog person than a cat person.  I've never been intentionally hurt by a dog, but I always seem to end up scratched in my encounters with cats. I don't like the way cats jump and creep around. They seem nosy.  And their eyes are spooky. The black and white cat curled up by the radiator as I type this is part of the Mr. Mike Package Deal, though, so I have been adjusting to the feline-filled life.

"All he does is sleep!" I commented to Mike about his cat, Stuffed, a couple months ago. "What's the point?! He wakes up, goes back to sleep, wakes up and eats, sleeps some more, wakes up to use the litter box, sleeps some more...." Surprisingly, though, watching the cat nap on all his various perches around the apartment has turned out to be one of the small joys of my new life here.  Sometimes Stuffed sprawls out along the windowsill until he looks two feet long, and other times he'll curl up on top of the couch with his paws all tucked under his body like a bunny. He naps with one arm outstretched sometimes too, and when he's safely on the floor he'll stretch out on his back for a second with all four paws pointing outward, then curl up into a ball again. Most adorably of all, he can sometimes be found asleep with his paws over his eyes.  "Go back to sleep, Stuffed," I hear myself softly saying when he begins to stir, and I sit extra-still as his fluffy football-shaped head slowly settles back onto whatever he's using as a pillow.  He scrunches up his nose every now and then, with his cheeks and whiskers quivering around itI wonder if he's dreaming, and I hope that if he is, that it's a good dream.  
I emailed Mike while he was at work one day in October to tell him I'd changed my mind about cats:

The thing I meant to tell you about Stuffed awhile back is that I've been thinking about what I said about him before--"What a boring life! All he does is eat, sleep, visit the litter box, and look out the window!"--and realized/decided a few weeks ago that some things, like cats, must just be here to be loved by us. They don't serve much of a purpose, so maybe they're "just" here to make us happy and give us something to love and take care of (and ooh and ahh over while they sleep curled up in a ball). That's my new theory and perspective on cats.

A couple months since that email, I have learned something else about cats, as well: I don't know anymore if I could ever consider a place "home" without one. Just as I feel when I look up from writing a letter and see Mr. Mike contentedly reading his newspaper and drinking coffee, it makes me happy to see Stuffed looking so peaceful here. I probably could have figured it would come to this--my slowly becoming a cat person. My childhood favorites had purring cats at their ankles, after all: Strawberry Shortcake had Custard and Holly Hobbie always had a kitten nearby.  Anyway, dear little Stuffed has found his way into my heart.  I'd tell him right now, but he's asleep. 


kent said...

That is so sweet! If I can catch a field mouse before the hens or Mephit, out tom, gets hold of one I'll send it to Stuffed.

Getting up in the middle of the night and stepping on part of a mouse carcass (lovingly placed where you'll be sure to find it) is one of the many joys of sharing your home with a cat. Hens are more sensible.

Val said...

Thanks, Kent. :)

Stuffed caught his first mouse just a couple of weeks ago--at 1 a.m., of course--but we weren't lucky enough to step on his little gift to us. :)

You and your hens. :)