You can’t own a cat. That’s a fact. Cats are independent, stubborn, aloof and very much their own creatures. They may choose to share their presence with you, but when they have had enough of company – or something more interesting presents itself – they’re off with a twitch of whisker and a flick of a tail.
They come and go as they please – not as you want them to. They sleep when you’re awake, and decide at 4am that you’re the best bouncy cushion ever. They suddenly turn their nose up at their favourite food and then deposit live mice in your bedroom at midnight to educate you about their preferred menu choices. They disappear into hard to reach places the moment you go near the cat basket and you can bet your airline tickets that they’ll manage to injure themselves in some fashion – or go walkabout – two days before you’re due to go on holiday.
So why is it that so many of us put up with behaviour we wouldn’t tolerate from a teenager just to have a cat in our lives?
It’s because they’re magical creatures, of course. And as such, they’re allowed their idiosyncrasies. They’ve perfected the art of owning humans. With a sinuous sway and a look they leave pawprints on our hearts. When the mood takes them, they can be mischievious and playful. They can sense when we’re sad and offer comfort. Touching their fur dispels headaches. Their purr reduces stress and even helps mend bones. And their mere presence can turn a house into a home.
I’ve long accepted that I’m owned by a cat. Or several. And I have the pawprints on my heart to prove it. Our Tiger has been with us for a little over two years and as we’re preparing to take him to a cattery for the first time, I can’t help but feel a little apprehensive.
Oscar cat, who owned us before Tiger came to us, seemed to have radar for when we wanted to go away and he’d often go walkabout himself. That’s not conducive to a relaxing holiday for the humans, so when Tiger didn’t wake me at four this morning demanding breakfast I was more than a little worried. Especially since he was nowhere to be found, it was blowing a gale outside and he tends not to go out until he’s been fed. He finally came home around five and just crashed out beside us. No breakfast required until a reasonable hour.
What was that I said earlier about the idiosyncrasies of cats?