Lest you think that senior citizens have acquired common sense and
judgment, 'Tain't necessarily so.
I live a very peaceful life and am more or less in control of it -- or I
was until this week. My friend Terry and my son Dave have been
nagging me for a long time to get a cat. which they felt would add
challenge and confusion to my life. And boy, were they ever right!.
My much loved Siamese died ten years ago at the tender age of 21 and I
decided at that time, no more cats.
But once again I am living with a cat, a two year old feline named
Mercury. He either has invisible wings or powers of levitation, since
his favorite beds are the highest spots in the house. Also, the Phoenix
Mercury is my favorite women's basketball team, so the name seems
Mercury and I are getting acquainted slowly. I spent many years with
Siamese cats, and Mercury is quite different. He is quiet and dignified
and very loving, but I have not yet learned his language, and I still
don't know his secret hiding places when he disappears for hours. Of
course, if I did they would not be secret. He perks up when guests come
in, so apparently he is a party cat. Friend Terry came over one evening
and had a long talk with him. She explained to him that I have been
catless for a while and that he must be understanding and patient with
me. I am not sure what he said to her, but I think it was cat for "OK,
I'll try, but she is weird." We are doing much better.
Cats abound in art and literature. There are pictures of them in the
earliest recorded history. In a more recent art form we find some great
cartoon cats. One of the best will be remembered only by those of my
generation. Krazy Kat, whose nemesis was Ignatz the mouse, went in for
puns and alliterations and attracted a highly literate audience. Of the
more modern cartoon generation, the rakish, sophisticated Kliban cats
are far and away the best, and I am sad that there will not be any more
of them. Then there is Garfield, a cat with an attitude, whom I prefer
Libraries are natural places for cats. Back in the 18th century, an
Austrian novelist explained it. "Cats exercise . . . a magic influence
upon highly developed men of intellect. This is why these long-tailed
Graces of the animal kingdom, these adorable, scintillating electric
batteries have been the favorite animal of Mohammed, Cardinal Richlieu,
As an ex-librarian, I am interested in the number of libraries which are
presided over by cats. Judge Kitty is the official greeter at the Park
County Library. While not on the county payroll, he has his own bank
account to which his admirers contribute.
Hemingway takes care of things at the library in Alamosa. He
particularly enjoys riding around on the book cart when books are
shelved and perching on topmost library shelves to oversee patrons' book
selection. Hemingway is a card-carrying member of the Society of
Library Cats. http://www.ironfrog.com/libcats/lcs.html
Cats also help out in stores. One of our local hardware stores has a
resident feline named Smudge, who lives in cat paradise. Imagine the
number of places to hide is a store like that. But usually she is
dozing close to the door so she can keep track of the customers.
I am learning again how to live with a cat. Cats are remarkable
creatures, sleek, aloof, mysterious and often funny. Mercury is lying
on the very top of the bookcase in my office. Every few minutes he
opens one eye to see that I am still working, and then goes back to
sleep. I guess we're getting used to each other.
Life would be very dull without our pets. Cats and dogs make our lives
brighter. Be assured I have nothing against dogs, but dogs don't fit
well into a small space, and anyway, I am a cat person. Bit I do agree
with Jeff Valdez. "Cats are smarter than dogs. You can't get eight
cats to pull a sled through the snow."