Tuesday, May 08, 2007

In The Beginning......

"To gain the friendship of a cat is a difficult thing. The cat is a philosophical, methodical, quiet animal, tenacious of its own habits, fond of order and cleanliness, and it does not lightly confer its friendship. If you are worthy of its affection, a cat will be your friend, but never your slave. He keeps his free will, though he loves, and he will not do for you what he thinks is unreasonable. But if he once gives himself to you it is with absolute confidence and affection." ~ Theophile Gautier

"The girl" (Nyssa) and Cassi. 1986
(Click pictures for larger view)
....there were cats in our home. Nyssa spent her first night at home with three Siamese cats. Shamroc and Ramie looked at her, sniffed her, turned noses up and walked away to find their usual sleeping spots. To them she was just another human and as long as she didn't occupy the warm tile over the hot water line or the round bowl bed in the corner of the living room, they were fine with it. Besides, it didn't look as if she were capable of stepping on tails and pulling ears yet.

Cassi, however, had a problem. Actually, Nyssa, Cassi and I all had problems. Nyssa was hungry and I was determined to provide all the nourishment she needed without the help of formulas and bottles. My problem was that this was an unrealistic expectation at best and turned out to be totally impossible over the long run; but this was something I didn't know at the time. Cassi's problem was one of tender and sensitive ears, inner ears. Cassi's ears could discriminate between singing voices on the radio and records from those of a real, live, singing voice in the room; and her ears did not like a real, live, singing voice! Actually, she couldn't abide live singing, whistling or..... CRYING!

Nyssa was hungry, so we sat in the living room in my fabulous rocker, a soft pillow to support her and she nursed. We rocked and she nursed and it was all so idyllic and marvelous and the bonding was going on... except for one thing. Nyssa was still hungry and she cried. OH! NO! Cassi heard the hungry cry and she ran to investigate, sitting on the floor at my feet just looking at Nyssa, then me, then back again. When her ears could stand no more, Cassi stood on her back legs, braced one paw on the pillow and swatted my hand.... "DO SOMETHING!!! MAKE IT STOP!!" I tried, and we nursed some more but the hungry cry wouldn't quit! So, Cassi gently reached her paw to this miniature human and gently tapped Nyssa on the head... a soft pat as if to comfort her. When that didn't work, Cassi cried; a plaintive "meow".

And thus began our long first night at home, an eight hour attempt to satisfy both a hungry newborn and a small kitty with a hypersensitivity to the crying sound. All night.. I rocked... Nyssa would cry... Cassi would "mew".... rock...cry..."mew"! Early the next morning, after consulting with the OB/Gyn and finding several cases of formula on the front porch (courtesy of her godparents), Nyssa drank eight ounces of formula and her crying stopped. Then Cassi was happy, Nyssa was happy and Mom was happy.... and we all slept... for eight hours straight!

Miss Chloe shows her tummy at the request of "the girl." (Present day)
Fortunately, Nyssa and Cassi became fast friends until Cassi left us at age 17. Perhaps this early interaction with our feline friends encouraged her love for animals that exists still today. There has always been a cat sleeping at the foot of her bed... at least one; always a couple enjoying her piano practice or helping her with homework and always two or three waiting to greet her when we returned home in the evening.

Miss Clover giving "the girl" a kiss.

Miss Willow and "the girl" relax.

Miss Clover and "the girl", a meeting of the noses. Posted by Picasa
Yes, there have always been cats to cuddle and coddle; and they have given comfort and companionship in return, far greater than that we give them.

"The girl" and her cats are going to visit Cats on Tuesday, hosted by gattina. Miss Chloe presents a grand tummy for Tummy Tuesday over at catstuff. "The girl's" baby tummy, on the other hand, is showing but just a peek. (end of post)

No comments: