The Joy of Cats

Author: Dennis Wackerbarth, DVM

January 21, 2012


The fact that you are reading this at all probably means that much of what I say, you already feel...

Cats, what amazing creatures they are! Having spent more than 30 years working with them and 50+ years living with them I find myself ever more intrigued and infatuated with the species. Big or small, young or old, they're all so different yet so much the same.

While watching the lions on the plains of Africa I constantly saw my own cats. Then, returning home to our brood, I saw the lions of Africa as they chased, stalked, rolled, and played groomed themselves and one another. The same open wide yawn, the same stretching only to seek yet another "perfect" place to nap. Life is a bit easier in my house on the sofa than on the savanna, particularly when it's mealtime, though I'm not sure my "pride" would agree given the frenzy they create around mealtime, particularly if they must wait a bit longer then their routine dictates.

As an adult, I've been fortunate to have had most of my cats live long and healthy lives, truly a blessing. They become such a part of you and a vital member of the family. They have such distinct personalities, some of which stay with them their entire lives, and some, like humans, are but a phase they pass through.

We have only three at this time, number four did pass before her time and it was a tragedy in our home that was felt by all. She was only 12 when she became acutely ill and in spite of extensive diagnostics, two weeks in the hospital(s), and multiple second opinions/specialists no answer could be found until after she was gone and then, of course, it was too late. Life didn't seem fair then but with time the wound of her passing mostly healed. Watching her last days was a humbling experience; her eyes spoke of her never-ending trust and love. We have a stone in our yard where we buried her, with her name "Little Orca" and what she was "Angel of Grace," engraved to always remind us of her and her strength.

The hooligans that remain are a never-ending source of joy and humor with an occasional bit of "annoyance" and "obnoxiousness" thrown in to keep them from taking on too much of an angelic persona. One must be in your lap at mealtimes, not for a handout, but just because that's what she likes and does. One who waits patiently on the bed when it's nearing bedtime so as to have the "most choice" spot on your chest to "make bread" while she serenades you with her endless purring and stares with her dazed eyes into yours. And our old girl who has never been found not to be purring because no matter what comes her way "it's just perfect." I could go on and on about all their amazing and amusing little traits as I know you all could and hope you will.

All I know is I'm really glad to have cats in my life, what a gift they are.