Monday, November 23, 2009

Cat Tales

For some reason, off and on over the years, I have this "thing" with cats. I don't know what it is, but sometimes I swear if there is a cat anywhere within a mile radius of me that is in need of something, I tend to find it. Or maybe it finds me.

It started years ago, at my parent's former beach house. I heard a cat crying in the brush at the end of the driveway. It saw me, it kept crying. I could tell it wanted to come out of the bushes yet it was hesitant. Eventually, the lonely kitty, abandoned by the home's former owner, did come across the lawn to meet me. And I fed it dried dog food while my dad stood at the sliding glass window, shaking his head. Shortly thereafter, "Lily" the cat found her way into my parents' hearts and home because unfortunately, they are blessed with a deep love of all creatures great and small.

My mom calls Lily her "angel cat" and I have to tell you, if it wasn't for me and my persistence and a bowl of dampened dog food, I'm not so sure that cat would have found a family again.

Another time, I was dog sitting for a friend and woke up in the middle of the night to the sound of a cat crying, a sad, desperate cry. There was a small strip of lawn and a fence that separated the town home I was in from a small apartment complex next door. I could hear the cat all night, even through closed windows. I was so frustrated. Why wasn't the person letting the cat in? Was it hungry? Cold?
Did the owner go on vacation and leave it out? The cat was still there the next day. I peered through the cracks on the fence and saw it on the doormat of one of the apartments. It seemed to know it lived there. I crawled through the landscaping at the end of the fence line and called the tiger-striped cat. It did come, but wouldn't let me pet it. I filled a Tupperware with water and food and hid it there. I noticed a sign on the side of the building with the landlord's phone number. The cat still hung around, and cried, all day. This was bothering me to no end. I felt bad for that cat. I made it my mission to figure out what was going on. I called and reported the cat crying. I was just trying to help. The landlord said she knew of the unit and would stop by and check it out. She did say that the tenant was not supposed to have a cat. Oops. I finished out the dog sitting job and never heard what happened to that cat.

Two summers ago, I had a strange visitor to my patio. A very masculine looking medium-haired gray striped cat with a bob-tail.

The cat would appear late in the afternoon, and just sit or lay on the warmth of my cement patio, staring out into the night as twilight set in.

Maybe the cat was hunting birds that flitted about the bushes. He'd come over and rub on my legs and let me pet him. He was well-fed and cared for. Even wore a collar, sporting a new one at some point in time. I never knew where he lived, which house he belonged to. I kept a bowl of water for him on the patio. One day, after this happening for several months, he just disappeared.

While driving around with family on a recent vacation, we drove down a dead-end road. We had been looking at houses that we'd lived in as children and were snapping pictures like the paparazzi. As we exited the street and stopped at the stop-sign, I saw a black cat appear in the ditch. It stopped to watch us and didn't move. I told my cousin to wait and I jumped out of the Suburban on a whim, Nikon in hand, crouching down low and calling the cat. The cat looked at me and did not run off. But it also did not want to meet me and it walked off down the ditch. The cat was beautiful, jet black with yellow eyes. I couldn't get a good focus on the eyes.

Halloween is over. But last week, on a stormy wet night, I got into my car to go to the grocery store. As I pulled away from the curb I saw a black cat streak across the end of my very busy street, towards entrance of my house. As I got to the stop-sign, I looked at the steps leading to my patio and the cat was standing on them, looking back at me. I quickly backed up my car back into it's parking space, pulled up my coat hood, and headed back out into the pelting rain to see where the cat had gone. It was no longer on the steps but as I walked up I saw it scuttle under the over sized azalea bush. I called it, here kitty kitty, which could hardly be heard over the sound of car tires on the wet pavement as they drove by. I bent down towards the bush and called again, and the cat leaped onto the wall surrounding that part of the yard and disappeared, probably to the sidewalk below, where it slunk off into the dark night. Avoiding the road, I prayed.

Many, many times, I have been told by people how surprised that their cat, which does not normally approach strange people, is not afraid of me, and, quickly becomes my friend.

My parents had a feral kitten that let nobody other than my parents touch or pick her up. Even though I visited my parents at their homes for weekends frequently in my twenties and early thirties, it does not explain the closeness I shared with that cat based on the little day-to-day contact I actually had with her. She would sleep in bed with me, sit on my lap, and let me pick her up and hold her.

What do you think it is with me and cats? I don't consider myself a "cat lady." I don't even have a pet cat. Why are we finding each other? I have some theories of my own. Have you ever had something pervasive like this in your life? A series of events, which separate, are just experiences- yet when you connect them dot-to-dot, perhaps some kind of meaning starts emerging out of them?


  1. Totally a cat person! We are cut from the same cloth.

    Even cats that don’t like other people like me. We have trapped and fixed ELEVEN feral cats here, and that doesn’t include the one we brought with us from our old place, and the one that visited us at our old place. And the two that I had for college roommates...and the one that I grew up with.

    We’re doomed. ;)

  2. I keep telling you that you need Simba in your life! She loves to talk, and I bet she would answer all of your questions!! She loves to cuddle, eat canned cat food and cheese, crawls between your legs, and I know you would love her!!!

  3. {PG}~ Nice try!! I don't think you could get me to take Simba, if you paid me!!
    Just kidding.
    Besides, she does like her outside time. I'd have to get an indoor cat.

  4. this is very interesting! i too seem to attract cats...i can't even count the number of cats that have adopted me through the years! i have two kitties presently, but i certainly don't consider myself a crazy cat lady...i love all kinds of animals but cats are more conducive to an apartment.

  5. I am like this with cats too. I can't say I am a cat person and haven't owned any of my own. I love them and play with them and they always seem to find my lap to sit on or head that would normally be skittish to be scritched. This reminds me of some pictures I should post.

    Perhaps this is your spirit animal.

  6. Cats are interesting creatures ,in that while they are fiercly independant ,they also seek safety and nurturing , I suspect they see in you a safe haven ,yet someone who is willing to let them be.To them you are just "the cats wiskers" (sorry lol) It is great that you are so willing to help them when they need you.

  7. I am not a cat person at all. I am actuallyreally allergic to them. I think the cats know this and they too seem to always rub on me and jump on me. It's strange. But u think cats can read body language really well. In tune with energies. Or maybe I am nuts. Ha ha ha. You just might have a good laid back kind of energy that cats like.

  8. I think you were meant to "Dance with Cats"! I have the book...!!!

  9. How interesting and enjoyable and the pictures of the cats were wonderful. I think cats must have a special meaning in your life and I'd love to hear more about your thoughts.
    As for me, it's dogs. If there is a dog anywhere, it will find me and I've been able to approach any dog.
    It's a special kinship to bond with animals.

  10. You're definitely a cat person, just like me! We've had more stray kitties come to us than I can count - my husband's a serious cat person too. Love the stories and the cat with the two differently colored eyes.

  11. I think there is something very special about people that can have that kind of bond with animals, whether it be dogs, cats, horses, or some other variety. You must put off an aura of peace and safety that attracts kitties, particularly those in need of a friend most. I'm curious though....with all of these experiences, how have you managed to stay cat free?

  12. i am much more a cat person than a dog person! they are so fascinating and a beautifully perfect example of evolution at its best!!! i come from a family that does not really like cats, but somehow i got the cat gene! thanks for those beuatiful and sensitive photos, pony girl!

  13. I'm not really a cat person but I have ended up with a couple strays. The first one would sit on the brick ledge below my front picture window. I didn't feel it, hoping it would go back home. But after a solid week of visits and one night when it was rainng cats and dogs and she looked like a drowned rat, I took her in. She was very ornery and no one could pet that cat or handle her except me. It was a weird experience. I had her for 20 years and still miss her feisty nature.

  14. I loved reading about all of your cat tales. I think cats are certainly drawn to you because they feel safe around you. I am a cat freak too. You are not alone. I have six of the most fabulous cats in my barn that are all loved, well fed with names to suit their personality.
    To me they are very interesting creatures!

  15. Holy Moley - you have photos of all these cats? Incredible...

    Cats love me too. I used to be quite the cat person and then I had to do a news story on a woman who had about 100. Gross. Feral. Hideous. Not the cats' fault of course, but made me a bit wary.

    We have a cat almost EXACTLY the same as your black one there... Middy the Great Dane chaser.

  16. Great cat stories. I love cats and dogs, but stray dogs find me at every turn. My friend, Ginny, and I always joke that all stray dogs know where we live. Constantly happening to me with dogs like you with cats. Hey...I don't know diddly about the Twilight series, but maybe the cats are some sort of immortal being continually finding you! lol! Love your adorable photos!

  17. My daughter has a roommate that has a cat and every time I go there it climbs up on my chest and nurses my neck! It does not do this with just any visitor! Kinda strange but I'm glad she feels at home! LOL! You must have that same calm assurance they like! Happy Thanksgiving!

  18. PG, you need a cat, my friend.

    We have two cats and can't imagine life without cats in our life. :)


  19. hmm, and why do you not have a kitty living with you??? you seem to love them. cats are so easy to take care of and so loving! all of my cats were strays. now that daddy cat sleeps in the tack room with callie and cricket, it feels really weird that he is not in the barn and it feels empty when i say good night to the horses...silly, since he is just in the next room, but cats have such a strong presense to me.


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