Time to honor our fur-babies on their special day! This is Calpurnia, in the photo above, a truly lovely cat who I rescued a few years ago. She was born outside, it seems, and I spotted her playing with her mother (who I also rescued) on a bright, sunny day. She was about 4 months old at the time. I suppose technically she would be called "feral," and 4 months is a bit beyond the time when it's possible to socialize a cat. Still she's incredibly sweet, very shy, and enjoys her home with us.
This is her mother, Eliza. Not quite as shy as Calpurnia, Eliza is a lovely cat, who enjoys being pet, and occasionally jumps up next to me and nuzzles me. I feel sure she had a home at some time, because she immediately found her way to the fridge!
There a few myths and misconceptions about cats. (True cat lovers will know these are false, but I thought I'd list them anyway.)
The biggest misconception is that "all cats are alike." (usually quoted by someone who has never had her very own cat fur-baby.) Those of us who have been lucky enough to have cats in our lives know that their personalities are entirely different. This is Shadow, one of the most adorable, loving cats I have ever had. Just look at that intelligent little expression!
Another misconception is that cats are not "loyal," and tend to be "self-absorbed." Well honestly, they may not show their loyalty and affection as readily as a dog, but they definitely do care about their "humans" and love to curl up with us on the sofa, sleep on our pillow and tap us with a velvet paw when we fail to pet them.
This is Oliver, who always had a very sweet expression on his face and was so happy with us for so many years.
And cats are interested in other species, here they are watching the Nature Channel!
Some people feel that cats are "sneaky," and I totally disagree. Yes, I do have one cat who I call "my little sociopath," but he has changed his ways and isn't terribly naughty any more. In fact, he seems to make every effort to be well-behaved since I devoted 20 minutes a day to him. For those 20 minutes, he was "top cat" in the house and was lavished with petting, grooming and playtime. Did it make a difference? Yes, it did. I saw a huge improvement in his behavior. Here he is, posing "behind bars." Ha-ha.
Some people think that only kittens are playful and grown cats are serious. False! Siggy, a wonderful tuxedo cat, used to go "surfing" on a large square of cardboard. He would back up, make a running leap at the cardboard and glide several feet across the kitchen floor, jumping off before it hit the wall. And then he would do it again and again! Forget about expensive cat toys, all Siggy needed was a piece of cardboard to make him happy.
Some people think that cats don't bond like dogs do. They're not pack animals, but they surely bond with other cats as this picture demonstrates (and they also love boxes, as every cat owner knows!)
I have two cats in my Dream Club Mysteries, named them Barney and Scout. These fictional cats are just "cats," they don't solve crimes and they're not magical. Many readers have said they enjoy hearing about Barney and Scout even though they don't have any particular skills. In fact, they act like "pillows that eat" (Gallagher's description of cats) and spend a lot of their time sunning themselves on the windowsill.
Hope you've enjoyed this look at some of my cats and happy Cat Day to you and your fur-babies! To truly celebrate National Cat Day, please consider making a donation (even a small one!) to your local animal shelter. They always need funds--desperately--and every penny helps. If you can't give money, they always need clean towels, blankets and even bedspreads. Just do whatever you can, the cats will thank you!
By Mary Kennedy