Sunday, May 1, 2011
There's a Cat in My Garden
As a fairly fanatical gardener (my family would say 'very fanatical'), I am constantly defending my beloved plants from critters: squirrels and foxes dig, slugs and bugs bite -- you know how it is. But one critter is so, so welcome: our beloved cat, Max. Max is a rescue cat, found in a local shelter by our daughter and presented to us on Christmas Eve in 2009, to fill the holes in our hearts left by the loss of our Sylvester. Max was distraught when he arrived. His is a shy nature, and he had gone from whatever abandonment had put him in the shelter, to a vet's office for shots and neutering, back to the shelter, then in a carrier with our daughter to our house, and thence to us. He literally didn't know where he was. And for the first two weeks, neither did we. Letting him settle in, we left him alone too much. We know that now. But we found he loved to be brushed and that calmed him like nothing else. And over time, although he'll never be a lap cat, he has learned to love being hugged and brushed and tummy-tickled. And when he craves attention, he does this charming thing. He sits and waves a paw. Melts us every time. And here's the thing: Max is polite. Unlike many other fellow creatures, he knows the meaning of the word 'No'. And here's another thing. Max is empathetic. When one of us is poorly, he stays close. He knows. His domain is my garden and he rules it. He paces it, he finds nests among the flowers and loves to play hide and seek. He dispatches snakes (he has no concept of good snake/bad snake). He gives us reproachful looks if we do not have the sense to go out into a glorious sunny day. He has become a beloved family member and taught us so much about love and patience. Now if he could only deter those squirrels.