I have to admit, I am not the worlds greatest cat lover. In fact, I grew up in a family where cats are considered to be entirely selfish and aloof creatures who are far more interested in food than the unrequited love of their owners. From a tender age, it was drummed into us by my dog championing father that cats CHOOSE to spend all of their time either defecating in children’s sandpits, or winding up the family dog – probably to illustrate their superiority over us lowly, dribbling humans whilst they casually rejoice at their own splendiferousness no doubt. In short, they were viewed as no more than unwelcome furry visitors to our garden.
As I grew older, if visiting friends and a feline creature just so happened to decide to sit on my lap, I’d silently panic. I cannot relate to cats, and do not know how to respond to their advances. Reluctantly, and somewhat awkwardly, I would make polite attempts to stroke them whilst desperately trying to avoid their sharp little claws. I also felt like they were judging me, mocking my attempts to connect with them.
For several weeks after first laying eyes on her, she was just the ginger cat with no tail that stalked the car park and meowed far too much. Our encounters amounted to no more than a disapproving meow as I shooed her away from my car. But gradually, she started appearing in my garden (much to my dismay). ‘Really? Is that strictly necessary? Please leave Mrs Cat!’ was usually my response. Yet this cat was either exceptionally determined or incredibly dull. For weeks she persisted to sit in the garden and stare at me. Eventually, I decided to try an interact with my new garden feature, and was entirely surprised by the results.
I do not know her name, or even exactly which house she lives in. But what I do know is that she has entirely changed how I perceive cats. She is comical, endearing, and clumsily cute. I often find myself listening out for her characteristic meow, and now delight at her presence in the garden. What’s more (and perhaps embarrassingly so) I even attempt to call her by mimicking her ‘meow’. Whilst I think I do this quite well, I am sure that the neighbours have other opinions- i.e. why is an adult woman shouting MEOW loudly out of the window with apparently very little self awareness.
I won’t go as far as to say that I am now a religious lover of cats, nor would I consider getting a cat before a dog. But what I can say is that one cat has entirely changed my entire life’s opinion of a species. I no longer think that all cats are rude, selfish and demanding creatures, but ones that need a little bit more time when it comes to making new friends. I suppose it’s like many things in life, if you just exercise more patience with things you don’t understand at first, you may be happily surprised by what you find. 🙂