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Cat Personalities

Story ID:6012
Written by:Suzana Margaret Megles (bio, contact, other stories)
Story type:Musings, Essays and Such
Location:Lakewood Ohio usa
Year:2010
Person:Suzana
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I'm not an expert on cats though I imagine that any of us who have enjoyed them as family pets are experts in our own right. And since I have had cats for over 35 years, I have, like many of you made some observations re them- their antics, their uniqueness, and their personalities.

I hadn't planned to write on this beautiful Saturday morning in May, after what one TV weatherman claimed we had been experiencing "May-vember" weather. I should be enjoying the outside but I had plans to do a much needed house cleaning. Well, it and nature -communing will have to wait because my experience with "Blackie" this morning prompted this blog.

I put out dry cat food and water each night for the stray cats in the neighborhood and when I see Jerry in the morning, he gets a dish mixed with wet food. I have written about his sad story in another post when two young girls one day plopped him into my hands as a beautiful red long-haired kitten in need of a home. I was happy that Judy who lived nearby would take him in, as I had already exceeded my quota of rescued cats.

Jerry found love and affection from Judy, this lovely lady who sadly had Aids but who loved cats with a passion. Tragically, her passion for them and life itself was not enough to keep her from shooting herself one day when Jerry was I believe 4 years old. Allen, Judy's friend took Jerry and her other two cats home with him. But Jerry seemed unhappy and one day got out of the apartment. Then, in my opinion, he turned rogue. I don't know if that's a good word for him, but he is on the "run" so to speak and lives on the outside looking for food hand outs. He will come on my porch for food too, and initially I was so glad to see him, but I can't get too close to him or he'll bolt.

Outside life agrees with him and his strawberry blond coat seems luxurious though perhaps matted in places. It seems our food has contributed to his well-being. But sadly, aside from his unfriendliness to all of us, he seems to have become greedy. One day "Blackie" a young skitterish cat came on my porch and I "gingerly" brought out a dish of food for him because he seemed fearful and didn't want human contact. The next time I looked out from my door, Jerry was eating his food! Whoa, this was not fair. Jerry had gotten his dish and this black cat was in need of nourishment too.

I hadn't seen "Blackie" for awhile but this morning he was on my porch again. This time I brought the food out for him and stood by the door while he was eating. Wouldn't you know it - out pops Jerry. Well, this time he wasn't able to frighten away this poor little cat because I stood guard while Blackie was eating and clearly relishing the wet and dry food.

Paulie, my indoor cat is willfull and loves to escape to the outside when he can. Pixie my feral, who for years kept me at arm's length is now content to let me pet her, and she has no interest whatever to go outside. Paulie, on the other hand, tries to sneak out when I open the front door and often succeeds. I have resorted to going out the front door quickly and then returning through a back door in order to keep him in. What we have to do to protect our cats.

I do regret that I must keep him in because I know he loves to roam outside occasionally, but my reasons are sound. There are the dangers --cars and getting into fights with other males, as well as bringing in fleas and perhaps contagion from other outdoor cats. One night escapade resulted in him getting the worse of a confrontation, and this was followed by a visit to the vets and minor surgery. He had to wear an Elizabethan collar for a week - which of course he hated. You would think that he would remember that bad experience - but no, it obviously has not deterred him from wanting more nightly and sometimes dangerous escapades- which for the most part, have been lessoned considerably by my efforts to keep him in.

I have written about my cats in "Blame it on Peaches" and it definitely showed how cats -like us have different personalities. I've had some of the most beautiful, gentle cats like George, a big giant Tabby who never gave me a moment's grief and was just a wonderful, soothing presence. And then there was poor Pippi -a nondescript grey cat who never seemed happy and even frightened the daylights out of Gracie when I brought her into the basement which I had tried to turn into a home for them. Paneling and a new floor and little wooden boxes for their privacy made the basement cozier. Not the best, but they would always be sheltered from wintry blasts and they never would have to scrounge for food and water again. And of course, all were altered. I will never understand how people who adopt cats or dogs don't realize that this a great gift to them - a promise that they will never have progency who may well suffer cruel lives and even cruel deaths.

Anyone who has had a cat or dog recognizes that each has a personality. Can you believe that in the Middle Ages the thinkers of the time rejected this notion as well as animals having any attributes similar to our own? Some believed that animals were nothing but automatons. Forty years ago I read that a group of these cruel "thinkers" nailed a living dog to a board and opened him up so they could see his beating heart. They said that his howls of pain were only natural reflexes and that he felt no pain. And these were the experts of the time? I think from then on I have become cynical about "experts" of all stripes. Sadly, through the ages, while our medical community now concedes that animals experience pain as we, I believe that they too are guilty of causing unnecessary pain to animals in experimentation. Many of these were repeated and I doubt that much was gleaned from extropolation. There are certainly basic medical differences between us. "Slaughter of the Innocent" was introduced to me for reading in the 80's and of course is the type of book one never forgets reading.

Through the years I have learned much about the personalities of cats as well as of dogs. Peaches, my deligthful first and never to be forgotten puppy led me down this path, and I know that there are many others who have had companion animals who enlightened them re the animal condition. And certainly they were all wonderful additions to family life. Often times, I have learned from them, and I believe that most of you have too. Thank you George for always reminding me to try to be kind and gentle. Ditto - Chrissie, Martin, Cleo, Bootsie and many others of this same ilk. And thank you Peaches for introducing me to the animal kingdom. All that God has made is good.