There are shriveled souls out there that don’t like cats. If you are one of the cold, wrinkled, closed in, cat hating crowd; if you are one of those people who, when someone loses their pet cat say’s, “it’s only a cat”; leave this page and go on and read some more coronavirus orders, descriptions, and projections.
There is an old joke that says that “cats don’t have owners; they have staff. I like that and it is true. A cat somehow finds a way to run the house and the humans that it lives with in ways that dogs cannot match and do not try. It is as if they know what you are capable of and what you will tolerate and they will push the limits on both. They have been called the epitome of indifference. That may be true but they can also be affectionate disease detectors. The night before my wife had a heart attack the cats congregated on her lap, which they never did before. There are cats in nursing homes that will lie on the beds of the dying until they pass and then they move onto the next patient. It is as if they are trying to offer comfort. The sound of a cat’s purr has been noted to have the ability to lower stress levels and blood pressure.
My wife and I were staff for a cat named Szuki for almost 15 years. She was the kind of cat that had a regal attitude and I swear she had the ability to express with a look what she was thinking. If she would slip on the floor or stumble on the steps and you laughed at her, she would look at you the way I imagine the Queen Mum looks at Meghan and Harry, A haughty kind of disapproval would be evident and she would simple march away with her dignity intact and your understanding of your place in her world reinforced.
She was the only watch cat we have ever owned. When my wife was away at an LWML Convention and I was left alone to take care of her and the house, I was awoken by Szuki jumping up and down on my chest like she was giving me CPR. I brushed her off the bed and went back to sleep. When I got up in the morning she was laying in the hallway, and rather than getting up and rushing off for breakfast, she watched me with a look on her face that said “get ready for a big surprise”. Sure enough, in the living room I heard snoring coming from a strange man who came into our house and fell asleep on the couch. That is another story for another time, but it brought home the understanding that when a cat does something out of routine, and they love routine, you better pay attention. She had never jumped onto the bed before and never went pounding on my chest. The most she would do was lie on my lap and gently tap my eyelids with her paw.
She loved being outdoors. Being responsible staff members we put her on a leash in the yard so she wouldn’t roam and bother the neighbors. She hated it but she put up with it because she wanted to be out side. As time went by and she grew older we unleased her and let her wander her yard and she seemed to know the boundaries of her dominion. She loved sitting on top of an old stump and surveying the realm. Most of all she loved lying in the sun in her own special lawn chair. She also loved being in the screen porch and she had another throne in there as well.
When routines change staff needs to pay attention. Her highness had more and more trouble getting around. She was loosing weight and didn’t want to eat. Soon it became apparent that the end was near and so we did what good staff do. The Doctor has known her for 15 years as well and I could see he was saddened as we were. He called her “old friend” and gave her an injection while we stroked her calico hair and saw the light go out of her eyes.
So the palace is a different place and the Queen will be missed, but as I stood in the Vet’s office, I remembered Martin Luther telling a dog to “be comforted because in the resurrection you too shall have a golden tail”. Szuki would be offended to be compared to a dog, but I believe that in that light in which we see light; in that place where the lamb is the light; there will be a special lawn chair for a special cat named Szuki.