I know we all think that our cat (or dog) is the most amazing, most talented, and cutest one in the history of its species. What good pet parent doesn’t?
But my Lucy? She might seriously be up there in the top 5, well, OK maybe the top 100 of all time.
I’ll spare you all the “cute” stories about her childhood. “Cute”, when it comes to kittens is only slightly relative. Hard to find one who doesn’t elicit an “awe” from even the most hardened resisters.
Lucy was born into cuteness. Our whole world was cute the day we found her in our woodpile with her 3 tiny siblings. (You can read more about it here:)
Though I am primarily a dog person, I’ve also had cats my whole life…usually more than one. They have been mostly outdoor cats until the recent influx the of brazen coyotes into my neighborhood. No fault of the coyotes. The builders have run them out of their habitat. But now, any felines I parent are strictly house cats. It only takes one time seeing your favorite cat being carried off in the mouth of a coyote to make you rethink your responsibility to the animals you domesticate.
Lucy will be three years old this summer. I have many good stories about her (again, what good parent doesn’t?) For example, sitting here at my desk each morning, I can see the squirrels arrive on the deck right outside my window to steal the food I have put out for my Crows. If I say “Lucy, your friends are here!” she will come bounding out from anywhere in the house, even if she is sound asleep, and jump on the window sill to cat-chirp at the thieving rodents.
Here’s another quick tale. If I so much as TOUCH the bag of cat treats, she appears like lightening. Oh, the other cats come also but not nearly as fast. And Phineas and Zorro do not perch on their hind legs at my feet like a begging Meerkat!! Lucy will stand in that position any time I say “UP” and then gently grab the offered treat from between my fingers. If I toss it, she’ll even catch it mid-air, just like a Frisbee dog, right between her two paws, like she is clapping!
And then there is her fascination with containers of any kind. I know, I know. Most cats love boxes and various bags. But Lucy prefers the emptied plastic wraps from Costco.
All of that is cute, right? But there are two things she does lately that really have my attention. (A reminder here that I have often posted the disclaimer that I am the QUEEN of anthropomorphizing)
1) James is clearly Lucy’s favorite human. She imprinted on him the very first day we found them in that woodpile.
James has had to travel a lot lately and when he is gone, Lucy misses him…no, seriously. She mopes. She repeatedly sniffs where he has been sitting. And she refuses to sleep on the bed with me. When James is here, she sleeps under the covers, ON his legs, ALL NIGHT!
OK, so maybe that doesn’t prove anything but listen to this. If the phone rings when James is out of town, she is instantly on alert. And if it is James calling me, (we talk on the speaker) she is on my lap instantly, purring like crazy. She rubs her cheeks on the phone, and will not stop until I hang up. Sometimes, our whole conversation is about how she is head-butting the phone or, if I happen to be semi-reclined, how she has settled high up on my chest, under my chin for maximum closeness to the receiver. She does not do this with ANY OTHER caller. James will talk to her and I swear, her purring increases in volume.
And 2) Here’s the Lucy story that really gets to me.
Since she was very little, she has liked watching TV. Not so rare for a cat but it’s WHAT she watches that caught my attention. It started with this…
And then she branched out but the only other shows she watched were Cat shows
Recently, with Lucy asleep on the bed, I started a National Geographic show on Netflix. I left the room for something before the show got rolling. (Have I mentioned that Lucy is the sweetest, most gentle cat I’ve ever had? Not once has she ever clawed or bitten or even so much as played too roughly. And she is very quiet!) As I headed back to where I left her asleep, I heard the most unusual sound, a faint whimper at first and then a low whining that turned into what could only be described as a slightly muted keening. She was up on the dresser with the TV, gently pawing the screen, and keening. I’m not kidding.
The show was about the study that certain animals do, in fact, grieve.
She whimpered and mewled for the whole show and when it was over, came over and, like she sleeps on James all the time, and, as if in empathy fatigue, collapsed onto my chest and fell asleep..
Not sentient, my ass!