Who IS this cat who sits, roams, meditates?

Published 1:59 am Wednesday, March 1, 2017

ZaZee is the nickname I gave him because I could not remember how to pronounce the one my granddaughters chose. He is a fine cat with a black and gray swirling coat of color, and he seems to know his markings are something unique.

For a cat, he is a talker and he shares his views on life with me anytime I come close to him. The meows continue until I acknowledge his presence and join the conversation.

If ZaZee has one character flaw, it’s that he is a roamer. The call of the world beyond our yard is too great for him to ignore. Some mornings I call and call before he decides to show up about midday. This tendency to venture gets him into trouble. I’ve had serious discussions with him on the subject. (I know he isn’t roaming to mate because we nipped that urge).

Once he set out on an adventure and was gone almost a week. I was about to give up on ever seeing him again when he returned looking battered and tired. From his looks, he’d been in some kind of confrontation with another animal, perhaps a big bird that tried to capture him.

I babied him, nursed him and he recovered. For a while, he stayed close to home and I thought the experience meant the end of his roaming days.

That was short-lived and before I knew it he’d disappear only to return when he darn well felt like it. I guess he has an adventurous soul and will live out his days seeking what is beyond what he knows as home.

For now, ZaZee is in a hanging-out-near-the-house spell. He does this every so often. When he decides to stay close, he becomes my outside buddy. All my cats hang with me when I’m in the yard, but ZaZee is more tenacious in his attempts to keep my attention.

We have a ritual we’ve followed since he was a kitten. It involves sitting by the water time. What I call my filling up with spirit experience.

He can be nowhere around when I head to my favorite chair by the lake and ZaZee instinctively senses it’s time for sitting a spell. First thing I know he’s walking by my side, brushing against my legs and talking.

Now I usually have an entourage of cats, my cat posse, walking along with ZaZee always leading the pack. As soon as I settle in my seat, he comes up beside my chair, and gives me a look and a meow.

I let him know I see and hear him, which seems to be what he wants. Then he hops himself into the chair beside me, sitting up tall with his eyes fixed, like mine, on the water.

For as long as I sit, silently meditating and listening to the world around me, ZaZee stays with me. When it is time to venture back home, he follows me like a puppy.

I told my husband about how this cat faithfully sticks to his ritual of sitting with me beside the water and he asked me an interesting question.

“Who do you suppose that cat really is?” he said, laughing. “Who was that cat before he was that cat?”

That stirred my imagination and conjured up all kinds of possibilities. Maybe he is a cat from my childhood returned to share a bit more of life with me. What if he wasn’t a cat, but a dog, or a bird or that pig that lived with me for a short while?

Whatever or whomever he was before, ZaZee is presently my proud, handsome, adventurous cat friend. Maybe he is in my life as a reminder for me to be open to what lies beyond my comfort zone, to be willing to roam a bit from of my usual path.

And, he is surely an example of how being a friend sometimes means simply sitting silently with someone while she contemplates life.



Nancy Blackmon is a former newspaper editor and a yoga teacher.