Until very recently, I was a dyed-in-the-wool crazy cat lady.
It's not my fault; as I say, my Mum is cat-mad, and her mother before her. Probably the women in my family have been mad feline fussers for centuries now. Probably we are actually part cat- God knows I shed hair like one, don't much care for being dirty, and have long fingernails the thickness of sheet metal that completely contradict zero interest on my part to look after them at all. As of yet, no whiskers, but I'm sure that will change in another 3 years or so when I hit 30.
I can hardly remember any cat I've ever met that I didn't like. When I was very, very young, my Mum taught me how to approach a new cat: slowly, with hand outstretched, and at their eye-level. Only when they chose to come closer to me, and had been given a few minutes to have a good sniff, explained Mum, should I pat them. As I grew older I learned that there are a few things cats almost universally love: getting scratches on the spot where their spine meets the base of their tail, having their noses rubbed, and a very gentle tug on their tails as they slink past.
I love that a cat's respect must be earned. Which is totally fitting, since most of the time mine make me feel like a glorified handmaid whose sole purpose in life is to feed them when they're hungry, cuddle them should they be feeling particularly magnanimous, but otherwise, to just sod right off- especially if I've just vacated a pre-warmed seat for them to jump into.
I also love the way cats play with complete abandon. My normally very dignified and often quite pompous bobtail Willow was only twelve months ago an ungainly little ball of legs and tumbles, falling all over herself to chase her rattly ball. Or climbing the clothes-horse like a regular chimp, just because she could.
Cats are the most self-serving, narcissistic creatures we congratulate ourselves for 'domesticating'; just because they don't scratch our eyes out on a daily basis and occasionally plop themselves in our laps for a bit of a purr, doesn't make them any less calculating. I love the sheer audacity of cats: even when they are caught in the act of doing something naughty, they will still look at you like you are a complete halfwit. 'Do you mean to say I shouldn't have my face buried in your dishwater? Perhaps you shouldn't have made it so tasty by flavouring it with spaghetti sauce from the pan. I am merely cancelling out your wastefulness here.'
And not an hour later, when I am in bed and peacefully snoozing, I will feel a little paw on my nose; not unlike someone knocking on a front door. This is Daisy's code for: 'Mummy, be a good human and lift up the blanket so I can take advantage of the bed you have spent time warming for me. You may scratch my belly also, but put some effort in or else I'll just get sick of you and jump off and guilt you for not being properly devoted to me.' And what can I say- I fall for it every single time.
All said, R-Patz had it almost right: fluffy kitty bellies are like my very own brand of heroin, albeit a more health-conscious choice and a little hairier. So without further ado, here's a fun little tribute to everything I love best about my meowing machines, and the crazy cat-lady that lives inside me.
Have a brilliant day poppets,