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Perspective: Living and learning on the farm, part II: Love from Cats

Former feral turned professional napper Eek
Susan Stephens
Former feral turned professional napper, Eek

Eighteen years ago, we were given a cat whose life had been constrained by a leash law. Sméagol, a sleek black and white feline, started by hunting rabbits– under the deck, around the barn. Curious and bold, he would also slip under the pasture fence and walk up on sheep. Now, about twenty years old and arthritic, he spends most of his days sleeping. However, he “talks” to us when he wants attention — emitting a meow that is quite demanding.

In contrast, our Border Collies love tasks – herding sheep, retrieving a ball, separating lambs from mothers. They express tail-wagging delight when we freely give them attention. Journalist Christopher Hitchens said famously that when you provide a dog with food, water, shelter and affection, they think you are God. If you provide cats with food and water and affection, they think they are God.

A cat does have a wild and independent nature. The phrase ‘domestic cat’ may be an oxymoron. But there’s another side. Sméagol seeks closeness with us – lounging on a lap, reaching out a paw when we’re nearby, taking naps with us.

James Herriot, the famous Yorkshire vet, once said, “I have felt cats rubbing their faces against mine and touching my cheek with claws carefully sheathed. These things, to me, are expressions of love.” I agree! Cats respond to love and reciprocate in a very special way. If we attend to them, they’ll purr their way into our hearts.

I’m Connie Seraphine and that is my cat Perspective.

Connie Seraphine is a Sycamore-area writer and poet.