Lessons From A Cat

I’m a dog person, 100%. Cats have an attitude and I have an attitude, so we rarely ever get close or get along well. I’ve never owned a cat before. The only contact I’ve had with them are on streets, in shops, or during visits to friends’ homes.

Mr. Cuddles

It’s not hard to predict my impression on cats. They are felines that don’t tend to cuddle with strangers. It has always been a mystery to me how some people could stand living with them. This may be because the only pets I’ve ever owned are birds and dogs which are animals that have very different personalities from cats. You seldom sense their negativity towards you, especially dogs who just seem to give endless affection.

I’ve heard people say that dogs have no dignity. It wasn’t until my roommate brought Cuddles home one day that I started to understand — in a way they were right. After interacting with Cuddles under the encouragement and guidance of my roommate I changed my perspective towards cats.

My roommate, Daisy, is a cat lover. She not only loves cats, but also goes to great lengths to help stray cats or cats in need in the sanctuary. She applies for financial aid from animal rescue foundations that advocate animal care and animal neutering. She also sacrifices her precious time and effort to help capture wild cats and bring them to safety.

Cuddles was a stray in our school’s parking lot. I remember going to the parking lot late at night, finding her meowing nearby and pacing around my ankles briefly, obviously hoping for food I didn’t have. She would scamper away after she decided that I had none, and I would think to myself that cats are snobbish animals. One night Daisy told me she caught the cat and shared the process of and after. Daist sent her to an animal rescue foundation for ligation and the cat was being checked up and taken care of.

What really surprised me a bit was how she spoke about the cat, who she named “Cuddles”. She spoke of Cuddles like it was a person, and she could empathize with its emotions. Daisy told me that she’d been watching Cuddles and playing with her now and then for a while to earn her trust. She said she spent more than two hours luring Cuddles into its cage. Two hours! Her patience with cats amaze me. However, Cuddles is also very cunning. Daisy failed on her first attempt because the trigger on the cage wasn’t sensitive enough to trap him in time and Cuddles got away after eating all the bait its cage. This effort didn’t go to waste though, Cuddles thought the cage was safe to enter the second day and the catch was successful and brief, done within five minutes.

Daisy covered Cuddles’ cage with a cloth after capturing her to prevent her from further shock as they rode through bustling streets, and took her to the foundation for her ligation. She said Cuddles’ meows changed from playful purrs to sorrowful, long moans after she was caught and locked up in a cage. I could never hear the difference in a cat’s meows.

Cuddles was in shock after her ligation and Daisy had mixed feelings for what she did. She said she definitely would do it all over again if she had to because this process means well for Cuddles and stray cats like her, but Cuddles has become afraid and not as playful as she used to be after the ligation — which should be temporary.

“She must think that you’ve played him.” I said, “Pretending to be the nice lady with food who ultimately kidnapped him and cut off his balls.”

“Yeah, he wouldn’t even look at me today. It’s been the third day of his recovery from the ligation.”

“I bet he’ll hate you forever.”

But Cuddles didn’t hate Daisy forever. Daisy found a person who was willing to provide a home for Cuddles eventually. She said that she would bring Cuddles home for a day or two to observe the adopters’ condition before handing him over to them. Cuddles would stay at our place for two days.

I never would have thought a cat could teach me so much about the respect animals should be entitled to. For me Daisy served as the interpreter during Cuddles’s stay while Cuddles was the lecturer.

On the night that Cuddles came, I was told that he would arrive at eight. To my surprise I actually kind of looked forwards to his arrival just because I wanted to pet the cat. I helped Daisy carry Cuddles’ cage to her room.

“Can he come out now?” I asked eagerly as I placed Cuddles down and closed Daisy’s room door.

“Yeah, you can let him out.” Daisy replied.

I had trouble opening the cage and I saw that Cuddles had squeezed himself into a ball on the other side of the cage like he wanted to melt and dissapear. Daisy opened the cage door while gently telling him that he could come out. Cuddles still sulked at the other side of the cage.

“We can wait for him to come out.” Daisy said.

“Does he understand? I would just take him out if I were you.” I stared at Cuddles as he froze in place.

“Why? It’s fine to let him get comfortable and come out on his own.”

It took Cuddles two or three minutes to feel that it was safe to poke his head out. He took his first steps cautiously, peering around the room with his huge round eyes, meowing at the space around him. Daisy continued responding to his meows by saying things like “Oh, really?”, “Right…”, and “I know, I know”. Her kindness and patience towards cats surprised me greatly and made me rethink how animals should be treated.

Cuddles started sniffing around the plastic shelf by the wall, as if she was looking for something.

“He wants to hide. I knew that he would do that so I blocked up the shelf in advance.” Daisy said, “You would also want to hide first if you were taken to an unfamiliar place.” The empathy also came as a shock to me.

After some unsuccessful poking around, Cuddles started to explore the other side of the room, she squeezed herself in the gap between Daisy’s desk and cabinet, getting lots of dust on herself. Daisy apparently could read cats like a book. Cuddles then wandered to the door, meowing to nothing again.

“See? His meows are not as tense as they were just then.” Daisy pointed out.

“Really?” I didn’t think that there was a big difference, but it seemed as if Daisy could pick up Cuddles’s every demeanor.

After lots of wandering around, Cuddles finally decided that it was safe to approach us. We sat in the center of the room the whole time, giving him enough space to explore. That would have not happened if Daisy wasn’t present. I would have wanted to take him out immediately and pet him.

Daisy treated Cuddles like a person while I didn’t know how to. Would you reach out to touch a cat or a dog if you encountered one? I would, and I also thought that it was natural for animals to be cuddly. However on retrospect, I wouldn’t go around touching strangers on the streets. Then I realized that I didn’t see animals as beings that deserved equal respect as I give to other human beings.

Daisy said that Cuddles is already a cat with almost no temper. We could hold him and scratch his chin and head. He would make soft grumbles and relax, melting into on our arms. Daisy said this was quite unusual, especially when Cuddles used to be a stray. Strays don’t tend to trust people so easily.

Cuddles fell asleep under Daisy’s bed that night.

Cuddles and I

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Digital Marketer. Creative Copywriter. A record of experiences and events. I write to get back on track.

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Victoria's Dream Life

Victoria's Dream Life

Digital Marketer. Creative Copywriter. A record of experiences and events. I write to get back on track.

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