Pets enrich our lives

Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 29, 2014

Pets are such an enriching part of life. They can add joy and treasured memories, all the more precious because they have such trust in that person that loves them. I have two friends, Catherine and Pat, who have the most elegant and charming poodles, Prissie and Milo, respectively, that are so pretty they would make heads turn in Paris. My friend Ann has a tiny Yorkie named Cricket, that is so precious it is not to be believed. Dan has a dachshund, Flossie, that he adores and who adores him in return. My sister Lisa has two dogs, Banjo and Shadow, as well as niece Rachel’s majestic cat, Dippy, that show their love every day. Sister Leah has Sushi, the most amiable cat I have ever met. I see other friends posting about their pets and how sweet they are. I love reading about all of them.

And then there is our cat Twink. She of the disdainful look and haughty stare. Who shares our home and hearth, nay, not share RULES this house. I wonder what I did in another life that I must needs be a servant to a 20-pound furry tyrant. But do not think it is me alone in this treatment. Twink is completely impartial about who she intimidates. I once saw a fully-armed law enforcement officer come into this house and do a double take when he saw Twink sitting sphinx-like in the shadows. The poor fellow kept his hand on his firearm the whole time he was here. I have kin that are terrified of her. Yet she has never offered to hurt any of them. It is just that look she gives them as in, “I know where you live when I get ready to settle YOUR hash.” She has only been outside three times since we got her. Please do not think I keep her prisoner. She regards fresh air, grass and sunshine as things to be avoided at all costs.

Last year, the Boo and sons added a screened-in back porch, supposedly for me. Guess who uses it most? Twink lies upon her padded throne (MY papasan chair that I found while antiquing and brought home with great difficulty) as she surveys the world through hooded eyes, mocking the others cats who are so unlucky not to be her.

She is suppose to be fed only twice a day and yet has a food bill that would feed an sumo wrestler. We have bought expensive beds, scratching posts and cat trees, but she prefers to sleep in the day on the love seat she is not allowed on, would rather use my ottoman to hone her nails on and climb up and over mantels and book cases.

Unlike more mellow pets, the foot of the bed is not her choice for night time sleeping. No, she must lie smack dab between our pillows and stretch out to her full length side-wise. Now with a kitten, this habit is of no consequence, but Twink stretched out is over three feet long. That does not leave the Boo and me much more room than to lie on our sides with shoulder blade and a fanny cheek to try and balance on. I have wakened thinking it must be about 3 a.m., only to find that the complete darkness is caused by a massive furry tush and bushy tail covering my vision. Poor ol’ Boo gets stomped on every morning to inform him it is time to get up and feed the cat. Twink even supervises the cleaning of her litter box each morning, so as to have a spanking clean setting for her… well, you get my drift. Then she strolls leisurely back to bed to begin the morning sport of aggravating the female slave until said slave gets up in disgust, at which time, Twink can then have the whole bed to herself.

Cats are supposed to be dainty, fastidious creatures, constantly grooming and dining with the grace of a prima donna. Twink would have no trouble fitting in at the most drunken and rowdy of frat houses. She will not eat out of her expensive food bowls. She drags the food into the middle of the kitchen floor to eat. But if we try to feed her elsewhere, she refuses. With Twink, it is her way or no way. Boo is her courtier, he carries her around like a baby, sneaks her treats and generally turns a blind eye to her antics. I, too, pander to her vanity, even as I snarl back at her.

Some people think we are crazy to indulge this cat the way we do. I write often about her aggravating ways. People who have met Twink, make the sign of the cross, spit over their left shoulders, backing away slowly, never, ever turning their back on her.

But here is the crux of the matter, she is perfect for us. I think all things happen for a reason. She is here because it is where she is supposed to be. There have been so many times when I have been sad, lonely, sometimes in despair and she will come up in my lap, lean forward until her nose touches mine, eyes looking into eyes, sometimes reaching up with a paw to touch my cheek and whatever feeling I am struggling with, eases, if only for a moment. Then she will curl up in my lap and purr. A cat’s purring is one of the most peaceful sounds in the world. For even though she and I live a daily battle of wits, her love for me is unconditional, as mine is for her.


Marsha Phillips