This lovely feline goddess is Cleo. She is nine-years-old, and she is my protector. She and I have always been close. In fact, I knew I wanted her before we ever got her. I told J one day (nine years ago) that I wanted a female black cat. We searched high and low, and we finally found her amidst a huge litter of kittens living at some hippy girl’s home (when we got her, we also took her twin sister, later named Indy, whom we gave to a good friend of ours). As a kitten, she had ears that made her look like a bat, and she could fetch at just three months old.
I really should have titled this post, “Confessions of a Crazy Cat Lady,” but I don’t like to be too obvious.
Our first cat together was Pierre (the handsome gray and white boy you often see on this blog). This was also J’s first cat, and she has always been madly in cat love with him. I have too, but Cleo stole my heart in a special way. I have always sort of understood her neediness. She has the biggest heart of any cat I have ever known. If I cry, she comforts me. If J and I argue, she stands between us and meows. Cleo is special.
Let me offer you an example: For years, I suffered from really horrid carpal tunnel syndrome and De Quervain’s syndrome (another painful wrist ailment). There were times when I couldn’t use my hand at all, the pain was so bad. It wasn’t uncommon for me to cry from the pain. On one particularly difficult day, Cleo sat down next to me, and she started licking my wrist, precisely where it hurt. She then did the weirdest thing. She bit my wrist, then threw back her head, as though she had tossed a bit of food into the air and she was catching it. She did this a couple more times, then continued to clean my wrist. And my wrist felt freakishly better. The pain had been reduced by about fifty percent. Since then, I swear she does little check-ups on my wrists. If they’re doing poorly, she’ll chew on them where they hurt, and she’ll clean them. I don’t necessarily attribute my healing to her (I went through expensive physical therapy, made lifestyle changes, lost weight, etc.), but she certainly has helped me on my worst days.
It shouldn’t surprise me, then, that Cleo would intuit that something is different about me now. For the past few days, Cleo has been treating me differently–almost gingerly. Normally, this behemoth (she’s something like fourteen pounds!) will walk all over me if I’m lying down until she finds a comfy spot–the closer to my face the better. She would use me as a bridge or springboard if I happened to be in her path. But not now. She walks around me, even if this means going well out of her way to get to her destination. She won’t step on any part of me. When I sit on the sofa, she now takes up residence on a cushion behind me or on the arm next to me, insisting on touching me with one of her paws, and instead of the hard scratchy, frantic kisses she used to force upon me, she will nuzzle me or clean me in this mama cat sort of way. When I move to a new room, she follows me. This morning, when she came in to our bedroom (we lock them out at night to preserve our sleep), J picked her up, and Cleo kept looking concernedly at me. She wanted to check on me first. She simply won’t leave my side. We have concluded that she smells something different about me, but I swear she knows what’s up.
It’s so strange and yet so sweet to have this little attendant–my own furry guardian. I couldn’t be happier. (Nor could she, when it comes to nap time.)
Do you have any good dog or cat (or horse or ferret or bird) intuition stories? Share them with me! I love a good pet story. And, since it’s national delurking week, this would be a great time for any lurkers out there to chime in with their own stories. Come on–you know you want to!