Sunday, August 15, 2010

Cats and Writing

I didn't grow up with cats. My mother was definitely anti-pet; she had her hands full with three children and didn't want to put up with a fourth (or fifth, depending if he considered my dad as a kid). I never understood the deal with cats, until my husband and I started dating. He grew up with cats; his family owned three at the time: Smoky, Jasmine and Rufus. Smokey was the Big Brother, Jas was the Feline Diva and Rufus was the affectionate Tom Drooley.

After Hubs and I got married, we adopted a little orange kitten from the Albemarle County SPCA. She climed into my lap and refused to leave. We named her Trouble. Unfortunately, that Christmas, she fell ill--the flu hit our house hard, and she died on my birthday. I was devastated, but a year later, we acquired two other felines, Frank and Jesse.

When we got them, Hubs thought we had two boy cats. He named them Frank and Jesse, after the infamous James brothers. On a trip to the vet, we found out Frank was actually a girl. We should have named them Bonnie and Clyde. They were two Confederate-gray cats with bright green eyes, part Persian and part mutt. Frank was the spoiled princess; Jesse the easygoing laid-back guy. He thought he was a dog in cat's clothing, followed me around and even played the occasional game of fetch.

Frank and Jesse stood guard outside the computer room while I was writing. Occasionally, they'd scratch at the door because they want attention, and I'd go out and pet them. If I wrote by hand on the couch, they kept me company by moving to my lap. If they got too obnoxious, I went out to write.

We had to give them to the SPCA three years ago...and right now we don't have any room for any pets (with 3 kids). But I think cats make good writing companions. They're independent, but can be sociable when they want to be. They watch the world go by and notice the smallest details. A writer has to be just as observant to add spice to her writing. Cats are mobile and find the most interesting places to explore and to curl up in.

Are cats psychic? Maybe. I think they're more attuned to their surroundings, that observation thing again. I've seen too many weird things to discount the possibility. Even with all their little quirks, I wouldn't have wanted it any other way. Besides, as a writer, the cats had to put up with my little quirks too.

All writing and art copyright A. Dameron 2000-2010

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