Kay Frances: Let’s get catty!

Kay Frances: Let’s get catty!

Representing for the feline fanatics

By Kay Frances

My cat, Seisan, was convinced that she was not so much a kitten playing with yarn as a Jedi Ninja Warrior with a light saber. I’m sure that in her mind, she “broke out” of the clinker in a blaze of glory instead of being quietly rescued.

If a person has five dogs, no one even questions it. But, you let me have 21 cats and it’s “Crazy Cat Lady!”

I’m kidding, of course. I have ONE indoor cat, although I’m pretty sure that, in her mind, it’s her house and she is being charitable to allow me to live there.

Seisan seems to forget that she was a rescue kitty and spent the first six weeks of her life in the “clinker.” Yet, she still remembers the cupboard where I kept catnip in 2005 and frequently camps out there hoping that “today is the day.” Selective memory if I ever saw it.

There is no doubt that dogs are pretty wonderful. They can be trained to do police work, be employed as service companions and provide comfort as therapy dogs.

Cats can purr.

OK, it may seem like cats can’t do anything but, it’s really not that they can’t, but that they won’t.

It is their nature to be independent, some might say aloof. Cat guardians will defend them to the end as the preferred pet. (Notice I didn’t say cat “owners.” One does not own a cat.)

So, what makes cats such great pets? First of all, there is the whole litter box thing. No getting up at 6 a.m. to take them outside. Second … OK, nothing springs to mind, but give me a minute.

You want to get a good laugh out of a cat guardian? Ask if you can bring your cat(s) over for a play date. No sane person would willingly subject themselves to that kind of mayhem.

My cat barely tolerates me, but when she sees an outdoor cat pass by the window, she goes into full panic mode.

She does the same thing when I get out the vacuum cleaner. Not once in 11 years have I even tried to get her with the vacuum cleaner, but she always assumes that this must be the day that I woke up and said, “This looks like a great day to suck up a cat.” We go through this every time I vacuum. Who needs this kind of drama every three months?

There is actually a thing called “dog parks” where people take their dogs to frolic and play with the other canines. So, why are there no “cat parks?” As far as cats are concerned, the whole world is their park, their playground and their kingdom. So, there is no need to take them to a designated “park.” And, of course, there’s the whole doesn’t-play-well-with-others.

I am reminded of the old adage, “Ancient Egyptians worshipped cats as gods. Cats have never forgotten this.” I know that is a bit over the top, but as I “serve” Seisan on a daily basis, I do begin to think those Egyptians weren’t so crazy after all.

As I clean her litter box and allow her to lay on my lap until my legs go numb (I wouldn’t want to disturb her comfort), make sure she never sees the bottom of her food bowl, and brush her after I take my shower (yes, she lays on the floor and waits — expectantly — for her brushing), it’s pretty evident who has trained whom.

(Side note: After seeing so many bed sheets made from “Egyptian cotton,” I wondered: Who made the Egyptians experts in sheets? Then, I figured it out. One word: mummies. Their sheets last 5,000 years.)

Even though Seisan is well-fed by any known standard, she will occasionally finish her meal, and then lie next to her bowl, like she’s weak from hunger. Drama queen much?

Cats do have a lot of personality and can be downright hilarious. This is why Facebook is rife with videos of funny cats.

Of course, when Seisan does something cute and adorable, my camera is nowhere to be found. I can’t count on her to give me that viral video that will seal my retirement. She’s not much of a “mouser” and she doesn’t charm my houseguests (more like a quick look of contempt before hiding under the bed). But, the truth is, she’s an awesome companion and I really do think she loves me.

I think.

I do know that she is much, much smarter than me. From becoming invisible when I get out the dreaded cat carrier to batting the nail clippers behind the computer desk, she outsmarts me at every step of the way.

Let’s face it, if cats had opposable thumbs, they would rule the world. I already have one ruling my house.

And, I know that “dog people” are baffled as to why anyone would even bother with a creature that seems to have such disdain for its guardian. Well, the truth is, they really don’t. Oh, sure, they won’t come when you call them unless food is involved, but they can be amazingly sweet, even though it will likely be on their terms.

And, there is something endearing about having to earn the love and loyalty of a cat. Unlike the unconditional love of a dog, cats love people who are good to them. I find that admirable. Plus, they are soft and furry. And they purr. And, let’s not forget: If not for Siesan having a house and letting me stay there, where would I live?

Salt Magazine