- Lorraine V. Murray For the AJC
“I can’t fit on the chair unless you move over,” I protest.
But talking is pointless, because Mr. Fuzziwuz — nicknamed Fuzzy — doesn’t grasp the law of physics that states, unequivocally, that two objects cannot occupy the same space simultaneously.
I beg, cajole and plead, but it’s not until I gently lift and nudge him into place, then sit gingerly beside him — careful not to crush his tail — that we make our truce.
This orange tomcat, who has a smattering of freckles on his nose, has been my companion for more than a year, and despite the ongoing dispute over chair boundaries, we’ve hit it off quite famously.
In fact, he’s filled the year 2017 with many moments of joy.
He follows me around during the day, and whenever I leave the house, he’s waiting by the door to greet me upon my return. Come nightfall, I’ve declared my bedroom off limits, so he curls up on a dining room chair and remains there quietly all night long.
In the morning, as soon as he detects the first shuffle of my slippers, he rushes down the hall and meows plaintively outside my room.
And when I open the door, he hurls himself upon his back and waves his paws in the air, a feline version of “good morning.”
While I eat breakfast, he sits by the screen door, staring in fixed fascination at the chipmunks and squirrels that show up for handouts.
And when I’m writing on my laptop, he curls up beside me — and the only reply I get when inquiring about the spelling of a word, is a rumbling purr.
I rescued this 3-year-old cat from the DeKalb County Animal Shelter about a year after my husband died. At first, I was so overwhelmed by caring for him that I tried to give him away.
Still, friends prevailed upon me to keep him, saying we both needed an adjustment period — and they were right.
The day I drove to the animal shelter, I didn’t realize one shard of my broken heart was slowly moving back into place, like the first piece in a large jigsaw puzzle.
Truth be told, I dearly missed doting upon another creature. My preference would be bestowing care upon a human being, but that’s not in the cards now, so I’ll content myself with a cat.
And for those who claim they’re standoffish, I agree with C.S. Lewis, who wrote to a friend, “I can’t understand the people who say cats are not affectionate. Our Siamese (my ‘step-cat’) is almost suffocatingly so.”
He added, “True, our ginger Tom … will take no notice of me, but he will of others. He thinks I’m not quite socially up to his standards, and makes this clear.”
For poet Emily Dickinson, hope was embodied in a little bird. “Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul,” she wrote. “And sings the tune without the words and never stops — at all.”
This makes lovely sense, since early morning birdsong is so uplifting, as the choir in the trees celebrates the first slivers of sunlight.
Birdsong reminds us that dawn arrives and the world goes on, no matter what. For me, it indicates how much God loves us, since he gave these feathery creatures the ability to sing. As for cats, he gave them a purring mechanism, so we know when they’re happy.
Fuzzy is quite fond of birds, and enjoys hiding under a chair, while observing them at the window feeder. Every so often, he lunges against the glass and the birds scatter — and then Fuzzy retreats, dignity intact.
As 2017 draws to a close, I’d tweak Emily Dickinson’s poem to suit my own circumstances.
You see, for me, hope is the thing with whiskers that perches in my favorite chair. He doesn’t sing, but he purrs — and that’s quite sufficient.