On cats

Everything Worth Knowing I’ve Learned From Cats

Cats are more than just mystical creatures. They seem to understand the moment–the now. Dignity, I think, was invented by cats. And they teach you important life lessons without your knowing it, as if by osmosis. Just being in their presence makes you wiser somehow.

I’ve been privileged to know about 29 cats in my life, so far. And each one planted a memory seed that will remain intact as long as my gray cells hold out. Funny, because as a child, I had allergies, especially to cats. At least that’s what I was told. But as an adult, I have always been drawn to cats, as though I might secretly be one of them. They can sit and stare, seemingly into space, for the longest time, causing you to try without success to zero in on the subject of their focus. And, why, without discussion, does a cat suddenly decide that sleeping in this chair or that corner is better than the other one. And a sudden burst of speed that unsettles the household is never quite clear, but sometimes seems tied to a trip from the litter box.

And what remarkable trainers cats are. You know the moment she saunters into the room, just when you’re at the best part of your book that you might as well drop what you’re doing and follow her. After all, she may need a treat, or a brush, or maybe just your undivided attention.

Being the well-trained cat owner you are, you know exactly what to do — follow like a good cat slave. A phone call prompts any member of the feline household to spring into action, even if they’re sound asleep when it rings. Like perpetual two-year-olds, they’re committed to disrupting your phone conversation. And don’t they do it well?

Multiple cat households are definitely a challenge, but well worth it if you know how to be the ‘bigger’ cat. That’s right. You must get that across to them; otherwise, you totally lose control. There should be a slight element of fear when a certain tone is spoken, or a stance taken. Cats understand this. The alternative to doing nothing is to let them rule. And I’m not sure that any of us are ready to give up all of our humanness.

It’s a beautiful relationship between humans and cats once the ground rules are clear. And it takes a commitment from pet owners to make mutually beneficial choices. It really is worth taking the time to do it right. Believe me. Some of my best friends are felines.