Picture this: Two gorgeous Bengal cats parade up and down a room of about 100 cat-loving people who divide their attention between a remarkable cat-training demonstration and, well, the cats themselves. Hands reach down. Whispered coos of affection create an aural subtext to the voice on the sound system. Everyone wants the cats. One woman, wearing faux-fur ears and leopard print, leaves her chair to meet a Bengal at eye-level, on the floor, in the aisle. She wins: The cat stays with her to receive petting for a minute or more, until he’s called back to the demonstration. We all envy the woman. We wish we had her cunning, her timing. We wish the cat had chosen us.
This very scene unfolded at the 2012 Cat Writers Association Conference in Los Angeles. The armchair sociologist in me thrilled at the spectacle of feline and human behavior on display. It demonstrates a truth about cat-loving people, that we’re eager to show our feelings for and knowledge about cats. We want to engage the cats and the world. Thus it was when I queried Catster contributors and staffers about telling the world (in just a few words and a single photo) what cats do for them. See, we’re observing World Gratitude Day, which is Sunday (Sept. 21). Once I asked, the chorus of “Count me in!” would have been deafening had it been delivered via voice rather than email.
So. Why are we thankful for the cats in our lives? Here’s why.
I’m a big ham, so I’ll go first.
Thomas, you’re the first cat I’ve ever considered my friend. Days before a vacation or business trip, I feel the pre-emtpive tug in my chest of missing you. Yours is the brattiest meow on record, yet when I’m awake in the dead of night, reading or writing, unable to sleep, you sit with me silently in our big red chair. Our relationship isn’t perfect, but it grows stronger as we learn from each other and keep working on it.
You show me the mysteries of the universe through your beautiful eyes. You make me laugh every day. Thank you, Thomas, my handsome lad.
There’s one cat I don’t write much about, but she totally deserves a shout-out. I adopted my sweet baby, Belladonna Moonshadow Kelley, in January 2013. After a really tragic year with the deaths of two cats in less than six months, my unresolved grief had morphed into a full-blown depression.
But Bella, with her goofy antics, brought me back to life and put a smile on my face for the first time in a long time. Bless you, Bella!
Every morning after Ghost Cat and Specter eat breakfast they come to find me. I like to sleep in, but somehow Ghosty and her little sidekick convince me to get up and join the world.
Their little morning meows bring such joy to my heart — and I am so thankful that I get to give them love and safety. They are the cutest alarm clocks I’ve ever had, and because of them I am now skilled in making coffee with a cat on each shoulder.
Much like our regular contributor Louise Hung, I’m fascinated by things that go bump in the night as well as fortean critters like woodwoses and Black Shucks.
So I’m deeply grateful for all my cats, past and present, and my current two, Ambrose Hoffman and Gentleman Jim, for providing a comforting furry presence at 3 a.m. when I can’t sleep because I’ve been reading too many books about creepy supernatural phenomena.
Without my cats I would be a cranky ball of anxiety. On my darkest days, my cats are my silver lining. Brandy need only do her “pill bug impression” or blinky-smile at me, and despite how down or nervous I may feel, her affection and sincere goofiness remind me not to get so bogged down in the muck of life.
When life gets rough, my mantra is often, “Look to the kitty, look to the kitty.”
Five years after we brought home our cat, my wife and I started bringing babies home, and I’m grateful that my cat doesn’t hold it against me.
When the kids are asleep and the coast is clear, that’s when she comes out and re-stakes her claim, coming in for headbutts and stretching out on the floor, acting like it’s just the three of us again and not five. We’re old friends in the evenings, remembering younger days. Then she incessantly meows for dinner.
I’m grateful for my two cats, Bubba Lee Kinsey and Phoenix, because they are magical creatures. Sometimes I think they are aliens from another planet who were sent to Earth specifically to make me happy.
When the daily grind threatens to crush me, my kitties are always there, sitting on my lap and purring, making my worries disappear. In that way, my purring cats are like tiny, vibrating wizards.
I started feeding Cow, a feral cat from Golden Gate Park, about five years ago, after I found him in the house eating the dog’s food. At the time, I had a blind Basset Hound named Lucy, and she and Cow became fast friends. After Lucy passed away, I adopted a senior, one-eyed, Pekingese named Beasley. Cow became obsessed with her, and I had to buy a bigger bed so they could sleep together.
My cats bring me countless smiles, and that’s just one of the reasons I feel delightfully grateful for their fuzzy little butts. They’re little comedians and have absolutely no idea they’re constantly entertaining me. When I’m in a cranky mood and find my cats shooting each other hilariously jealous looks over “ownership” of a cardboard box, how could I not recover to complete joy? Thanks, cats!
I am grateful for the cats in my life for helping me to become a better person, for their love, and for connecting me with the rescue community.
How are you grateful for the cats in your life? Or cats in general? Let us know in the comments.