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Cat being loved

A cat’s love and unbreakable bond with a human.

A cat’s love and unbreakable bond with a human.

From personal experience, I can recount one special relationship and presently, am observing another. As for the first, it was between my wife, now estranged and one of our cats named Tara. They were inseparable. Almost like mother and child, but more so best friends of the highest order.

Tara was female; I guess the name gave that away. She also lived to the right old age of 19. Yes, 19 and from her very young start in life, it’s surprising she lived past kitten-hood. You see, we got Tara from a run-down local pet store, she couldn’t have been more than 6 weeks old, tops. In retrospect, I now assume she was the product of what I now know to be a kitty mill of sorts. She was tiny and troubled with so many afflictions. A rash here, a gastro attack there and a host of poor health issues in-between.

We must have taken her to the Vet at least a ½ dozen times before she reached 3 months and at least a total of a dozen by the time she hit 6 months. Tara remained small, one might say for her entire life. Eventually, she turned healthy, real healthy around the 6 or 7-month stage. I attribute the special and unique bond that was to evolve between Cathy (my wife at the time) and Tara to the care Tara received and more importantly, the expression of worry that Cathy experienced.

Drama would be an understatement. It was out right hysteria, crying and loud gestures to the Veterinarian, along the lines of “I don’t care whatever it costs, you have to save my baby”. Like I said, this was indeed a mother and child bond. Tara must have recognized all the ongoing and deeply, for this was to become an incredible bond. Don’t get me wrong, I worried too and forked over the credit card which eventually summed to a total in the $4,000 or $5,000 range. Keep in mind this was back in 1983.

So, everything being relative, that could easily be about $10,000 today. Tara liked me, probably recognized my deep concern. Maybe she even assessed the cost paid out, as she was indeed a smart cat, but never took to me in the same way as she did with Cathy. So, about this bond I’m describing here, I wouldn’t a blame you dear reader if you doubted what I’m about to describe, but I swear, it’s all true. Wherever Cathy went, Tara went and Cathy made sure to oblige Tara her constant accesses.

If Cathy took a bath, Tara stood on the tubs’ edge. Regardless of the reason, which ever room Cathy was in, Tara was in, without exception. Cathy made sure to keep doors ajar, or open and close them once Tara was in. Not even sleep would keep Tara at bay, if Cathy woke up and left the room, Tara would wake up and leave the room. At dinner or any meal for that matter, yes you guessed it. Tara would lean up and remain poised front paws on the table, from an adjacent angle.

Now this behavior wasn’t restricted to the confines of our apartment at that time. If Cathy went to the laundry room, yup, so did Tara. She sat or lay down on the top of a dryer, or washing machine and just watch Cathy. Folding of the clothes was particularly enjoyable for Tara, as she would stand on each piece, as it made its way to the pile and politely move to make way for the additions, as the pile grew. Often, she took the ride in the basket, as opposed to walking.

As for the sleeping arrangements, Cathy would wear Tara, like a tiara placed at the top her head and Tara would stay put, till Cathy got up. Have you ever seen someone walk a cat? Or at least a walk that was reasonably successful. The few times I’ve seen such attempts with other people, it doesn’t work out and if so, not for very long. Cats in this circumstance usually struggle, if not outright resist and with vigor. However, Cathy would walk Tara, as one who would walk a well-trained dog.

A matter of fact, it was like Tara pranced, with head held high. It was quite something to witness. Cathy turned down countless offers of people wanting to buy Tara. Who by the way was no special breed. Just your common domestic short haired, tiger striped tabby, with distinctive body stripes of dark and light gray. What a pair. If not for the amazement I had about this relationship. I might have been jealous. Another unique thing about Tara was that she could be very friendly with anyone, but only with Cathy’s’ acknowledgment, that look of approval Cathy would give.

A look that Tara required and watched out for, in most circumstances. With regard to playing, the typical go-fetch exchange. It was amazing to watch, without fail Tara would return the play object, usually a tin foil ball, right to her feet, or lap. Boy, did they love each other and when the time came. You know that time, the saddest of times. Well, Cathy took quite a while, to get back to a functioning state. Hey 19 years. 19 wonderful years, that certainly holds true “it is better to have loved and lost than to have never loved.” Well, that’s my recount and recollection, for you to absorb. I trust, you’ll see its’ beauty, just as I do.

Now, for a second time, I’m presently witnessing a similar bond evolve between feline and human. This relationship is between my son Justin and his beloved Jasmine. Justin being my oldest child, 25 years of age and his feline buddy being 1 ½ years old. Jasmine is a long and lean black cat, with a small blush of white centered on her chest. She too, like Tara, is a simple domestic short hair a find discovered at our local SPCA here in Montreal. Well, for starters Jasmine is very rude and insulting.

I should be a bigger man for these experiences, but I find it difficult to be so in these encounters. On occasion, Jasmine will venture beyond the realm of Justin’s’ room and explore a bit. If I should take note of her and she should take note of me taking note of her. Swoosh! She’s gone, back to the masters’ realm, that being his room. Why on earth does she think, I would do her harm? Or maybe even worse; that I’m unfit and unworthy to look at her.

Fortunately, and to some relief, she behaves this way with everyone, save for, his majesty Justin. Jasmine has been with us for over year. It’s not like there’s some adjustment period required. If a year doesn’t constitute an adjustment period, I doubt two, or even ten would. Okay, I accept I’m pariah and a dangerous one at that, as my two other kids are too. The difference is, they don’t care and I do. Yes, I should be bigger than I am. My reaction is downright hyper-sensitive and immature.

Back to the point, that being the strong and unique bonds forged between human and feline. Justin and Jasmine are always within 6’ of each other. Either Jasmine precedes or proceeds his every movement, literally. Nothing and I mean nothing, not even another cat and all eleven know this all too well – “Don’t get between the king and queen.”  It’s quite a thing to watch, their encounter that is, and if not for childish reaction.

You could say it’s a beautiful thing to watch. I do hope one day I experience such a similar bond with my felines friends. As I hope all my followers do.

*I’m so jealous!

dhendricks
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