We were doing some house cleaning recently in our family home where my late sister, Miriam, lived during her retirement years. We found a needlepoint picture with a cartoon cat looking smugly comfortable below the words, "Some people own cats and go on to lead normal lives."
We realized that this is not always the case with us since our great granddaughter adopted a stray kitten last January. Since he was orange, Marilyn named him Pumpkin.
Even though we already had two outdoor cats we were fond of, Pumpkin became an indoor cat and began to make his presence known with his playful jumps onto the coffee table where the magazines had been carefully arranged. Naturally the slick periodicals went all over the floor where they were even more fun to play with. Wearing a floor length bathrobe was a hazard since the swishing materials were an invitation to Pumpkin to grab onto. Often, what he grabbed was our ankles beneath the robe.
As he has matured, he has developed another habit that I find very helpful. Almost any time that I sit down in one of the lounge chairs, he proceeds to jump in my lap and after a leisurely bath will curl up and sleep. Obviously, I can't disturb a sleeping cat, so I have to remain in the chair until some other commotion disturbs him and he leaves his comfortable spot. I had commented that he didn't purr often, but realized just recently that when I felt the vibrations of his purring, that he did indeed purr. Without my hearing aids I just didn't hear him! I apologized to him for questioning his sincerity in our moments together.
If Marilyn is gone overnight, Pumpkin has the run of the house. However when she is home he stays in her room, often on her bed.
When she was gone over the Thanksgiving weekend, I awakened several times to find a warm spot on my tummy or at my side. That took me back to childhood memories when my sister and I had a longhaired cat of a similar color. He was shut in the kitchen and basement overnight. But when our mother got up to get breakfast, she let Cuthbert out and he ran upstairs and jumped on the bed with us. We usually had another half-hour or so to sleep and enjoyed the comfort of a warm cat on the bed with us. My mother was a strong believer in having the window open at night and when she closed it as she went downstairs we wanted to stay in bed until the radiator began to take the chill off of the room. Cuthbert's presence helped warm us up but made getting up more of a chore.
I don't remember ever going very many months without having a pet cat. I probably could rattle off 20 or so names of the special ones in my life. When one dies I begin to think that I will not ever get another cat to become fond of. But I always do. It seems that there is a feline telegraph system that lets strays know when the time is ripe to come to our house looking pitiful.
One of the first pictures my parents took of me showed me in a baby carriage on the front porch of our family home with a cat in the carriage with me. I looked very happy.
I'm happy now that Marilyn wanted to keep this kitten. Our normal lives weren't that great anyway and we now have more laughs than before.