Why a Cat’s Love is Special

Sometimes, you really gotta work for it.

Cats, man.

I don’t really know where I’d be without them.

I live in an apartment that only allows cats — no dogs. It’s probably a good thing or else I have a feeling I’d have quite a circus.

I’ve been around cats all my life. Growing up, my sister knew the genealogy of just about every cat we ever had — which kittens went to which mom and who was related to whom.

I think my sister might have cat DNA. The jury’s still out on that one.

The really interesting thing about cats is that a lot of them take life on their terms and only their terms.

Yes, I’ve had cats that were very much like dogs — they’d follow me around the house, sit in my lap, let me do just about anything I wanted to them.

But I’ve also had cats that were, well, like cats. When they wanted some loving, you better be ready. And when they didn’t, you better not go near them.

I live with six cats in my apartment. I worry sometimes that I’ll end up being the crazy cat lady (if I’m not already), but I just can’t imagine my life without them.

My oldest boy, Grayson, is a “dog cat.” He is a sweetheart. I can pick him up like a baby, I can bug him whenever I want and he just hollers a hello.

If a need a smooch, I search him out and put my head against his and he’ll start purring. No matter what.

Then there’s his brother, Loki. Boy, was he appropriately named.

Loki is a “cat cat.” When he’s feeling affectionate, he’ll walk all over you, purr up a storm and shove his head into your hand.

But if he’s napping, do not bug him. Or you’ll get the Cat Stare of Death (that might need to be trademarked some day) . I know cat owners know the one I mean.

I’m telling you, if my cats could actually talk, Loki would need a bleep censor. I imagine it would be like watching an episode of The Osbournes. Good old Ozzy. Kept the censors employed, that’s for sure.

I think Loki could do the same.

The thing about Loki is he’s smart. Somewhat alarmingly so.

He’s been known to sit in the window at the back of the house and watch for birds. Nothing unusual there.

But when he sees a bird (or maybe a squirrel) he watches to take note of where they’re walking. Because if they head up the sidewalk, which follows the side of the house, he will jump off his perch and literally follow the bird or squirrel from window to window until he gets to the front of the house.

I watched him do this a number of times and I marvel at the fact that it’s gotta take not only pre-planning on his part, but also a knowledge of where the sidewalk actually goes and which window comes first in the progression.

I am convinced if Loki had opposable thumbs, I’d be in a human slave colony ruled by him.

The other four cats in the house are a mama and her three babies who were initially rather feral. I’m just getting to the point (after more than a year) where I can pet two of them.

Living with beings that look you like Attila the Hun really can do a number on your self-esteem.

But that’s kind of the thing about cats — you really do have to take them on their own terms.

I’m lucky to live with examples of each “kind” of cat, if you will.

Grayson, the lover. Loki, the affectionate only when he wants to be, and mama and her kids, slowly coming around the humans.

I had a friend tell me cats were the bomb because you have to earn their love — you have to be deemed worthy by them. And once you are, you’ve got yourself a real triumph.

I have to admit on the rare moments when I can pet those little kittens and they don’t run away and they actually rub up against me a little, I feel a real sense of achievement and can understand what my friend meant about “being worthy.”

Cats really can be somewhat unique in the animal world.

And once you’ve known the love of a cat, you really get an idea of what it means to be truly lucky.

Animal-lover, mind wanderer, extroverted introvert. Director of Communications at Cumberland Valley Animal Shelter, Chambersburg, Pa. www.jennyvwrites.com

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