Wednesday, May 23, 2012

CATS AS COMPANIONS AND IN BOOKS




Many authors (and non-authors) have found the companionship of cats desirable. Count me in that number. I know that to them I’m mostly staff, but they seem to be fond of me. Don’t say “tummy love” because I know all about that. I love dogs, and am so grateful we have our little black Shih Tzu, Webster.He's adorable and faithful, but there's something undeniably attractive about cats.

Consider, for instance, all the books about cats. Only a few include Lillian Jackson Braun's long-lived The Cat Who mysteries, Miranda James' Cat in the Stacks mysteries, Leanne Sweeney's Cats in Trouble series, Shirley Rousseau's Joe Grey mysteries, Carole Nelson Douglas' Midnight Louie series, Linda Stewart's Sam the Cat mysteries, and countless other single titles which feature cats. We love them!

Miss Delilah Sue Kitty

My favorite cat (shhhh, don’t let Sebastian and Bailey know) was Delilah, officially Miss Delilah Sue Kitty. She was sometimes ill-tempered and used a nip on the ankle or elbow to keep her humans in line. If we'd been out of town, even though Darling Daughter Two provided excellent substitute care, once we returned Delilah would nip my ankle once to let me know she was not pleased, then she was over her snit. She used to sit beside my keyboard for long periods while I worked at the computer. For a long time, she’d sit motionless until she wanted my attention. Then, she's simply sit on my hands and the keyboard. Annoying, but endearing in an odd way. She died at the age of sixteen, and I miss her companionship every day.

Sebastian and Bailey on my office half bed
In spite of their eyes in this photo, they
are not actually possessed. Really.

As I’m writing this post, my cat Bailey Erin is vying for my attention. She doesn’t really meow, but sounds more as if she’s saying “Blachhhht.” I try not to take it personally, even though it sounds a bit like a raspberry. She stand up and taps on my arm for attention. After several years, she is still mostly feral, although she now never leaves my office. She loves our other cat, Sebastian, but is not very fond of Hero or our dog, Webster. As for me, she loves for me to brush and pet her as long as I don’t try to pick her up. Yep, that feral gene or whatever makes her wary and afraid to be held. I have considered contacting a pet psychologist Darling Dughter One knows.

Sebastian in repose

Sebastian is mostly a real sweetie. He is huge cat and has the softest, shiniest coat I’ve ever seen or touched. For part of the night, he sleeps on the foot of our bed, then he returns to sleep with Bailey on the half-bed in my office. In the daytime, he follows me from room to room. He’s not a cuddly cat, but only wants to be petted or held when he’s in the mood. He is extremely smart and talks to us. Yes, I know cats cannot talk. They lack some sort of vocal mechanism. But he makes the same sounds at the same times, so I know what he means. Yes, he has me well trained. He waits for me to open the gate that keeps our dog from my office litter box. When I open the gate for him, Sebastian makes a sound like “Thank you.” When I don’t do what he wants, he makes a sound like “Now.” He has one sound like “Ca-rooo-liii-nnne.” That’s because when Hero is annoyed with me, he makes my name about five or six syllables. (Hero doesn’t yell, just draws out my name.)

We adopted Sebastian because he was the runt of the litter and falling behind in growth. Like starving. Has he ever made up for that! Once when we had a tiny mouse who apparently lived under our entertainment center, Sebastian was no help. Although Sebastian was fascinated by the mouse, he had no idea he was supposed to kill the little thing. Instead, he watched as if the mouse were a new toy.  As much as we hate to kill anything, the mouse had to go. Hero took care of the ugly deed.

Darling Daughter Two also loves cats. She has a tiny black cat named Meisha Louise that meows just like Bailey. Darling Daughter Two tamed a lovely feral cat named Kiki Dee who now realizes being indoors is a much easier life. In winter Kiki has her own large heating pad she grudgingly shares with her housemate, Saint Brendan the chihuahua. Rough life, eh?

You may remember Darling Daughter One's friend, Darlene Arden, was a guest here several months ago with her book on THE COMPLETE CAT'S MEOW: EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT CARING FOR YOUR CAT. Darlene is a true pet lover, because she also writes about dogs. She has rescued cats and her book helped me realize why Delilah died. If I'd read the book years ago, Delilah might have avoided renal failure for years. Unfortunately, I'm gifted with 20/20 hindsight.


My friend and Texas western romance author, Lyn Horner, also loves cats and used them in her mini-memoir, SIX CATS IN THE KITCHEN (only $1.99 at Amazon).  She has several cats, not six as she covers in her book, but more than I have.

If Hero were not sensible, I’d have a houseful of cats and need all my carpets replaced by new wood and tile floors in no time. Hmm, now there’s a thought.. . .

What pets do you have?

Thanks for stopping by!


3 comments:

Michelle @ The True Book Addict said...

I enjoyed your post, Caroline! I'm a huge cat lover. I have my black cat, Alice, who is five years old and our new addition to the family, Arya Snow, who is six months old. Almost two years ago, I started thinking about how much I enjoy cats and I started a weekly feature on my blog, Cat Thursday. I have many great cat lovers who participate each week. Sure would love to have you join us. We post pics of our own cats, or images we find around the internet, or pretty much anything cat related. Cats rule!

Maggie Toussaint said...

Hi Caroline,

we've had cats, dogs, guinea pigs, horses, hermit crabs and tropical fish. Out of all of those, I'd say the cats were the most independent, the most "personable," and the most mouthy.

If our cats didn't like something, they would darn near have a hissy fit until you paid attention. And if you didn't -- they'd get even. Devious creatures, cats.

In my first writing group, we raised money for charity through gift baskets. There were always three or four cat baskets, and they were the most highly sought after.

Women love cats. Heck, we all secretly want to be cats.

katsrus said...

I have been around cats ever since I was a little girl. Had a dog then too. She was my best friend. I am a huge cat lover and I have 6 cats whom let me love them. Garfield,Squeaky,Charlie,BearBear,Tubby,Cashew. We are not allowed to have dogs where I live. Really enjoyed your post.
Sue B