Tuesday, March 15, 2011

When a Cat Comes To Visit

The cat looks at us from his high perch on top of the kitchen cabinet.  Big round eyes glowing with discovery stare at me.  The tail flicks in the air. This is Miso, my daughter's big cat.  He is spending time with us so she can be on vacation.  He entered our quiet life and brought with him the old concerns about his safety that we used to expend upon our children long time ago. My husband, Barry, created for him soft landing spots on our sofa in the living room so he could jump from his high perch unharmed -- but he never looked at it and lands carefully by its side.

Miso the Cat
Miso jumping to his perch

Then Barry created a step on our bookcase leading to the high spot by adding my thickest books to its top but the cat ignores it and just jumps amazingly where he wants to go.  It is a big distance from the shelf top to the perch but he does it as he would take a stroll in the garden.  Daringly and elegantly.

In other words, we have become like new parents while he does of course what he wants; prideful creature that cats are.  He also showed us incredible catlike affection, turning his tummy up for us to pet him, sitting on Barry's lap while he would tell me "Answer the phone, I cannot move!"  I would look at his face in total bliss and laugh watching his hands stroke the cat's fur.

Miso allowing Barry to pet him
The pets in our life pack with them a whole lot of joy and activate new concerns, keep us entertained, bring us the happiness that our unpredictable life sucks out of us at times.  I remember a friend in Florida who photographed pets, told me that they were our kids especially after our children were gone and had started their adult lives.  I had proof of that with so many people around me loving the furry, feathery or fuzzy creatures we have as pets.

I sometimes look at Miso with wonder thinking how another specie has come to be our friend and adopt us as foster parents although our pets run our lives in many delightful ways.  I peek in the mystery of Miso's green eyes and wonder often about his allegiances, his choices, his ancestors past as an older predator and his familiarity with us, his human friends now.  It is itself a great mystery and a marvelous step in our development.  I know the scientists have their theory but I retain the mysterious approach of the cat to my life as a compelling tale of friendship and attachment. 

It is a proven fact that pets are important to our well being and keep us alert, alive, involved.  They are our companions, often our lifeline, as many handicapped people can attest.

We have had many cats.  Mimi was one of our favorites. We went with him through the destruction and the horrors of Hurricane Andrew and traveled with him from Miami to Colorado when we took my small Honda and explored the state.  I remember the big orange tabby that he was, looking out of the little car, waiting every day to eat until we reached a motel at night even though we had provided him with his cat litter and food bowl to no avail.  We would stop at dusk at a motel that would not always welcome pets. We would sneak him in at night and hope for the best only to find him at the window in the morning innocently looking out giving his presence away.

The day he died, he came to my studio already so bony and sad and I petted him till he retired in the adjacent guest room to die silently.  I discovered him later and wrapped him in my best shawl to grieve alone until my husband came home.

In our case now, we cannot keep a cat when show season starts as we are often gone for several weeks at a time.  We tried with Coz, a brown tabby, but once when we returned from a trip, my friend the cat sitter had left me many notes telling me that she never saw the cat who hid under the bed every day when she came to change his cat litter and check on his food and drink.  The cat would miss us horribly and we would miss him as well.  After a while he became almost neurotic and we gave him to a good family with children where he thrived.

But we miss all our furry ones and I envision the day when a cat will delight us again.  Not just for a few weeks as it is now, but every day as I want it to be.  I like cats since they stand for what they want and not what I want; their sense of self and undeniable regal attitude, their great dignity and purr and their quiet affection.  They would climb on me if I was sick and lay on my stomach purring.  They were great healers concentrating at making me well in the silence of the night.

Of course people like all kinds of creatures that add to their life in some manner.  Our pets are our companions that speak in their own way and tell us tales of love and loyalties.  For many that is enough, but for me, their mystery enhances my life and adds a taste of the wild even though they are tame, and make me a constant care giver.

Mystery of Miso

Copyright 2011 Micheline Brierre
Edited by Barry Kaplan


  1. Thank you Micheline!! I love your new blog entry! Tell Berry his photos are
    fantastic. I am so glad you both are getting a sampling of the feline divine!

  2. Dear Micheline,
    You are very lucky to be able to enjoy that wonderful "tiger"...he is so beautiful and I love his name...beautiful pictures too...enjoy it while you can. Hopefully Miso will come again during another of Lisa's vacation to disturb your lives in a wonderful way.
    Love, Micheline in LC