Thursday, September 3, 2009

In my next life, I want to come back as my cat. This angel of a creature has THE LIFE! It may seem that I'm a bit obsessed with her lately, but I promise you, there's good reason for it. She really is extra-special. I'm not just saying that because she's mine (or rather, I'm hers...cuz let's face it, nobody OWNS a cat. They are their own masters and we are their loving attendants. End of story.) But really, it's not just because she's 'mine'. Even people who don't like cats at all find her to be both charming and adorable. Add to that the fact that she doesn't make even the most allergic-to-dander people so much as think about sneezing...and...well, like I said, she's extra special.

Right now, as is usually the case when I'm at my computer, she's using my arm as a pillow, seemingly undisturbed by the movement as I type. Occasionally, she does that half-opened-eyes thing and takes a peek at me as I work. Maybe she's checking to see if I'm smiling. Or maybe she knows how much I adore her beautiful eyes. Who knows? Whatever her reasons, she seems to take great pleasure in lying beside me as I work. She has full freedoms all day and into the evening. She can come and go as she pleases, indoors or out. I've never been one to try to confine a critter, especially not a cat. It just doesn't seem right to me. I tried it only once. While living in the seedier part of Nashville, where raging rednecks took great joy in running up onto sidewalks and into front yards to run over any animal they spotted in their monster trucks. Insane sub-human beings who I'd have loved to tar and feather, given the chance. I kept my cat locked in the house the entire time we lived there. It drove both of us crazy; but I wasn't willing to take the chance. I didn't stay there long and this was a large part of my 'why'. Just couldn't bear seeing my darling kitty sitting in that window all day every day, looking like the caged animal she was. Horrible horrible horrible.

As I was saying...Chella has full freedom...until I hear the coyotes start their early evening concert at dusk. They gather together in large packs very close to our house, and when they do, the sounds are blood curdling. Now, I have to tell you that I am one of those who believe that the coyotes have as much right to eat and thrive as we do. They were here long before these houses were built, on their stomping grounds. Who am I to say they should be shot dead? Instead, I just make sure Chella's in the house when the coyote chorus begins....and she stays in the house until the sun has risen the next morning, and the coyotes have taken cover for the day. Given that she has such 'freedoms', I find her choice to sit with me even more endearing. She does go outside early in the morning to do her early morning 'business', and hunt for a while. She prefers not to use the litter box (gotta love that!) unless it's pouring down rain, which is quite rare in these parts. Once her morning rounds have been made, she comes back into the house, walks to the bottom of the stair well, and 'speaks'. This is, apparently, her way of checking to see if I'm upstairs or not. She has a very distinctive 'voice' which can be heard quite clearly from great distances. As soon as I hear her, I answer back. "I'm up here, AngelGirl. Whatcha doin'?" and up she comes, chatting the whole way. I am NOT making this up! She does this every time she enters the house. And she does chat all the way up the stairs into whatever room I happen to be in, and keeps right on chatting until she's shared her adventures in great detail. She's quite the conversationalist. Once we've had our chat, she may go have a little snack or sit on the pile of pillows next to my desk to preen, and then she jumps up on the desk to take her spot next to me.

If it happens that she wants to play, she will not be denied. She has a whole big bag of tricks she uses to get my attention. Sometimes she grabs one of her toys and brings it into the room, tossing it at my feet. Apparently she has no idea she's a cat. If this doesn't get my attention (it always does, but sometimes I'm engrossed and choose to ignore her), then she starts this running around like a lunatic...from room to room, up and over and under the furniture, pouncing on this or that along the way. If this doesn't work, she marches to my large wooden desk and reaches up onto one of the legs...digging in with her very long claws (I never cut them. That'd be like sending a soldier onto a battlefield without ammo for his guns. Not fair!) She doesn't actually scratch the leg of the table, she just digs in enough for me to hear the sound. I WILL NOT BE IGNORED! The moment she does this, I stop whatever I'm doing and attend to her demands. She's got me trained quite well. Clever kitty.

Each and every evening, without fail, just after dinner, she follows me around the house, demanding to be brushed. She will not stop until I sit on the floor and brush her until she's shining and free of the shedding fur of her luxurious coat. She's a long-haired mix of some kind (we don't really know what...but what difference does it make?) and the shedding is pretty much year-round. I must clean the brush a minimum of 3 times before this process is complete. Again, she will not be denied. In her world, this is an absolute requirement, much as our need to eat and bathe and sleep is. When she's had enough, she grabs the brush and/or my hand, and bites until I let go. Communication has never been an issue for her.

As bedtime approaches, our rituals are as predictable as sunset on planet Earth. I have a quick shower (I love getting in bed all fresh and clean!), brush my teeth, and turn off the lights on my way to the bedroom. No matter where Chella happens to be when I reach the bed, the moment I've settled in with whatever book I happen to be reading, she pounces on the bed in her very grand manner, and comes right up to my face to touch noses. She does this every night. We have a few moments of purring and snuggling and cooing...and then she settles up against me while I read. When I turn out the light, she moves over a bit, to let me adjust and then moves back closer again, purring as I drift off into my happy slumber. This is how we end our days, every single one of them.

This is a creature who has taught me about the splendor of 'the little things'. She shows me all day every day just how easy it is to live in the moment. How to appreciate this glorious life we live. How to laugh at the oddest moments, and not take myself so seriously. She is full of life and love and incredible genius. She is my daily bliss.

In my next life, I want to come back as my cat.

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