If you received my New Year’s card you have seen the picture of my cat, Grace, sitting on the couch with her paws demurely crossed, looking like the Duchess she is. My children say she is my mother, reincarnated. I don’t know about that, but she certainly has presence and the same green eyes.
Last year I went to the shelter to adopt a cat. I was looking for a perfectly black cat, my favorite and the same kind as my dear Sam who died a number of years ago. Instead I came home with Grace, who the vet says her genes couldn’t decide to be a tabby or a “tortie.” In other words, she has lots of brown stripes and a white chin below really spectacular whiskers. I did not want a tabby. However, from the time I entered the shelter, her eyes never left me. “Well, she seemed to be saying. When are we leaving? I want out of this place NOW.” Finally I had them bring her to me and she licked all the residual sugar from my hand left from a doughnut I had eaten. She had me.
She quickly established herself in my apartment, perfectly behaved so far as the litter box was concerned and aware of my displeasure when I disapproved of the places she was pulling her claws. We came to an accommodation on that score. Then she began to assert herself. She only likes beef. She can’t stand fish and tolerates chicken. The only dry food she likes comes at a cost from the vets. She considers any yarn in the house to be common property and “helps” with my knitting and needlepoint. When she is ready to go to bed, if I am on the computer she sits on the keyboard. My monitor attracts cat hair like a magnate. But she does keep my legs warm at night.
Frankly, I got a pet because I was depressed last year (Grace! Stop going through the mail!) Companionship, I thought. Yes, that’s true, but mostly she has taught me that paying attention to something other than me is the best cure for depression. And like my mother, she is insistent when it comes to teaching me anything. About that reincarnation stuff, my favorite poem about by mother is one I entitled, “She was Decisive.” Hmmmm.