Wednesday, May 14, 2014

The Most Important Cat

We're pretty sure that Possum, Wendy, and Lion were born outside, to mothers who had to fend for themselves. We don't know much about Toffee's babyhood, except that he was rescued from the street in Dorchester when he was very small. Of our five cats, only Harris was born in a foster home, where he was nurtured and cherished from birth and raised comfortably indoors. 

Harris's ideal early-childhood circumstances made a difference: Harris is a Very Special Cat. He has magnificent self esteem and confidence. He is accustomed to love and attention and expects that from total strangers. He feels entitled to all the love and attention anyone has to give, and doesn't see why other cats deserve any. (Well, maybe just a little.) If we're talking to and stroking another cat, Harris appears quickly, coming between us and the cat with his nose and tail in the air, eyes half-closed. His message is clear: "Ahem! It's Me! The One you adore? You must have thought that other cat was Me. Of course you'd rather love Me." 

He always has a slightly pouting, needy expression that declares that whatever we offer him will be not be enough. I find this utterly irresistible, and I'm sure he knows this. He's also snuggly, and likes to roll on his back and purr as you talk to him, so he's looking at you upside down. He's charming enough to convince you that he IS the most important cat. On the other hand, he stole all of Lion's possessions when he arrived, including his toys, collar, and blanket. Some might say Harris is a spoiled brat.

I suppose those people would send a cat like him to military or Catholic school to learn discipline, humility, and democracy. We are not those people. I am more like Mrs. Reed in Jane Eyre. (I can't help it, but at least I don't neglect our orphans, and we have four. I do think Wendy imagines herself as young, abused Jane, not that she ever bothers to read classic literature. Possum must have told her the story.) So we indulge Harris, and tell him how Important he is. 

When he knows that we understand, he relaxes:

I think he could use a bath, don't you?

I wonder if Important Cats regard baths as yet another way to get a ton of attention, or not.


  1. Thank you for being such amazing parents to Harris. You are all we could have wished for. I am always thrilled to see photos of him, as he is a dead ringer for his mommy Winnie. She has a little colored triangle on her nose but the fur elsewhere is dead on. Glad to see his is such a Very Special Boy. :)

  2. Hi Donna, thank YOU for giving us our perfectly perfect Harris! After today's worry and sadness over Robin's kitten, I'm looking at all of mine with new eyes and realizing what miracles they are. I hadn't seen kittens being born since I was little myself, and didn't fully realize how tiny and fragile they are, and how many things can go wrong.... Thank you for your kind words; we feel very lucky to have Harris. But I'm afraid he needs a bath!

  3. All your kitties are so lucky now. And beautiful. Every one of them.


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