My past cat-friended experiences-story 3 of 4 (LONG)
My friendships with my current massage therapist's cats began after
March 2009. That's when my previous massage therapist decided to
marry an old flame and move to Vienna. I'm lucky to get two massages
a week: Monday and Thursday. But now I was down to one.
Between exercise, arthritis, and general aches and pains, I really
needed a second therapist.
I auditioned therapists. A friend of the Vienna-bound one
wasn't a good match. The Monday person suggested a friend
who could work on me on Thursday. The friend had filled in
when the Monday therapist was on call for a birth. (My Monday
therapist is also a doula. Look it up.) So I'd worked with her
The friend (let's call her CatMom, for reasons that will become
obvious) not only gave me a great massage, but as a bonus,
she was owned by two cats, both in their late teens. After my
long dry spell, being around two cats was a treat.
Merlin, the male, had a tough life before coming to live with
CatMom. He was found as a feral kitten/young cat by his previous
owners. That's why we don't know his exact age, or his breed.
He's a lovely blue-grey color, with very striking aqua-green eyes.
People often comment on his beautiful coloring... if they catch a
glimpse of him. He has very faint tabby stripes, on his tail in
particular. Also, there is a "new" specialized breed of cat called
the Napoleon, which is known for having short legs. Merlin has
short legs too--perhaps there's a connection.
Merlin is shy, wary, and seems to have difficulty focusing.
He's about 13 now. CatMom got him in 2003.
Kira, the female, had the opposite disposition: there was nothing
shy about her. CatMom raised her from a kitten. She was the prima
donna of the household. She lorded it (or empressed it?) over
Merlin. First to the food bowl, first to the prime sleeping spot--
you get the idea.
Kira's coloring was similar to to a classic tabby, although she had
darker (less distinct) stripes and a lot more orange. CatMom used
to say that she looked like they started out to make a calico, but
then changed their mind and painted tabby stripes over her orange
calico patches. Her stepmom thinks she had the calico type of
personality. They're known for being outgoing, very affectionate,
and a little bossy. Her coloring didn't change as she got older.
Kira and I hit it off at once. She came over while I was sitting
on the stairs, removing my shoes. I held out my hand. She checked
me out and approved. After some time, and with growing familiarity,
if I'd sit on the sofa, she'd jump up and sit in my lap, demanding
to be petted.
Merlin took longer to warm up to me. After two years, he still stands
just out of reach to be petted. But eventually, he sits next to me on
the stairs and purrs at the attention.
The two cats learned when I was to arrive. When I walked in the
door, Kira was right there, meowing at me. I couldn't get my coat
off fast enough for her. She demanded attention that instant--a
After a philosophical disagreement with my Monday therapist,
I changed my schedule so that I worked with her only once a month.
The other Mondays and Thursdays, I got "cat therapy" as a bonus
with my massages.
Sadly, Kira died a month shy of her 14th birthday. CatMom took it hard,
and I was surprised at how sad I was. After all, she was someone else's cat,
who I visited for twenty minutes twice a week. How could it be that I'd
grown so fond of her? However such things happen, Kira had worked her
way into my heart. I still miss her.
Some six months after Kira died, CatMom got a request to adopt a
kitten. Her stepmom's to-be-spayed cat was already pregnant, and they
had all the cats they could handle--their three plus the mom-to-be.
CatMom wasn't ready yet for another cat, but this was an emergency.
CatMom's nine-year-old daughter picked the kitten from the litter
and named him Arthur. Whatever you're thinking, this isn't a replay
of the Once and Future King.
CatMom took Arthur home three months later. He was three months old.
I've watched him grow--and has he ever! At nearly ten months old, he's
almost as big as Merlin, who's a good-sized cat.
Arthur is a classic shorthaired tabby. He has very distinct stripes and is
definitely orange. He's wide-eyed and fearless, and everything's a toy
to him. He's learned that he can sit in my lap on the stairs and be petted.
Then he lies on a step under me on his back and attacks my fingers.
That ends the petting. As I climb the stairs to the massage room, he'll
bat at my hand on the bannister. I have the scratches to prove it.
As CatMom has said, a few things Arthur does reminds us of Kira--
in particular, his tendency to take over. Poor Merlin is second fiddle
Needless to say, I look forward to my bonus "cat therapy" sessions
twice a week. And I think the cats do too.
Editorial note: This story should more properly be called "My present
cat-friended experiences". It's ongoing. And as some of you have
pointed out, the fourth story will be about my adopting two cats of
my own. Hence this story is numbered 3 of 4. ("Silly integers"!)
I appreciate your comments.