Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Animal Love: Cats, Part One

If you have visited my house or read my blogs these past few years, you know a bit about my love of cats. My inability to say no to a crying kitten staring at me with those innocent eyes. My never ending searches for Buster, who was found, and for Mokito, who is 'still missing'. My willlingness to budget my food and live on bananas, apples, cheese and crackers....oh and peanuts in a shell...for days sometimes just to make sure the cats eat their favorite crunchies and CANNED food! I'm going to blame it on my Catholic upbringing (Gotta blame someone.) Those nuns told me I would have a 'calling' in life, a vocation if you will, which would lead me to the best of the NO OPTIONS life I faced in our Polish Catholic neighborhood in Toledo, Ohio. In 50's and 60's, 'callings' for girls were: 'wife and mother', 'nurse', 'nun' or 'factory worker', if I remember the entire gamut correctly. Obviously I never had a calling because I worked a gamut of careers in my adult life. (Using careers to describe my job history is a stretch, but it is the word I've chosen). I had and still have a strange need to live and work among other cultures and peoples. In some of these places, many many animals need a lot of help, love and care. I'm in one of those places now.

St. Francis of Assissi is still my favorite subject of twelve years of Catholic schooling. HE gave me a calling. I understood that I was to save and feed all the needy animals who crossed my path throughout my lifetime. That is quite a calling and it appears I still own it. A career, no. Becoming a veterinarian was never an option, - see options above. No one would have coupled my love of animals with a career oriented toward that interest, e.g. veterinarian, there wasn't any such counseling. I'm only realizing now that there were quite a few interests I could have pursued, but didn't know of any avenues to get there in the early 60's.

Since I wasn't allowed pets as a kid, in my yard I made friends with squirrels, nightcrawlers, caterpillars, bumble bees, and butterflies; years later in my underwater life - moray eels, reef fish, jellyfish, sea cucumbers and nurse sharks. With the cats, though, I may have taken this calling a little too far. I say that because now I have the moniker of  (crazy)(old) cat woman. That's how I feel sometimes too, when I am caught talking out loud to my furry friends. People around the neighborhood all seem to know that I take care of a lot of cats. I don't suppose my frequent purchases of whiskas pouches, occasionally canned tuna, and bags of cat crunchies give me away a few doors down at the Dunasusa store(plecios chinos, plecios balatos).

The love between animals and the people they own can be beautiful and fulfilling. A little creature who trusts you 100% and knows when you are sick or stressed and thus sits by your side trying to console you in their kitty (or doggy - no bias here, it's just that this is supposed to be about cats) ways. A creature you can cuddle and cry with and they look at you with equally saddened eyes, as if to say, "Don't cry, I am here for you and I love you." I quite appreciate having a human mate who comforts me during those times, don't get me wrong, but the extra love from one's pets is special, it must warm a separate part of our hearts or souls.

Ok, sorry. Here is the story I want to tell. You would think I would edit out all that crap above, but no, I don't think so - it seems to have fused into the story itself.  A little excessive for a lead in, but these are true feelings I have and doubt I have ever expressed them this way. When my 'human mate' is away from home, I never feel alone because I still have the love of the animals around me.

And as you can see, I mean LITERALLY around me. I took this photo a few weeks ago and I have since changed computer desk and location and have placed their pillows on the stools and table near me but away from the keyboard, mouse and screen. But these cats actually sit with me while I spend many hours on the computer. Things only get ugly when they demand a mid-afternoon treat - it's a power move, they don't get afternoon snacks around here - but if I don't respond they start sending faxes, make me hit the mouse when I am not in the right spot, walk across the keyboard, or my favorite -change the settings. Moka turns off the volume. They change settings I don't even know about, but they know just which button to hit...what am I to do?  Off I go to give them a snack, so I can then restore my settings and continue with whatever I was doing, and shortly everyone is back in their favorite spots to sleep away the day as I keep on workin'. After resetting the buttons they hit during the power move, that is. How many friends would quietly stay by your side for 8 hours at a time? Animal love is special.


Eric Chaffee said...

Balance, balance, balance, Lin. As the ancient Greeks said: "moderation in all things."

(But then there was that naughty French girl, Collette, who said: "If I can't have too many chocolates, I don't want any at all.")


Linda Dorton said...

With a house this big, I thought two would be good: Buster who'd come from to Hawaii and Moka, the first abandoned kitten left at my gate. When Moka had kittens (surgery was medically impossible due to her respiratory and sinus infection), I was like a little kid having my own kittens for the first time. The decision to keep all four kittens is where I think the moderation was lost in chocolates.