Monday, September 5, 2011

Comforting Cats

As a child I wasn't allowed to have a dog or a cat, and was brought up by parents who professed to love dogs but not cats. But I had a passion for ALL animals and would frequently rise before dawn to feed stray cats in the garage. Baby birds that had fallen out of their nests, stray dogs, frogs, lizards, caterpillars -- -- I loved them all.

My first cat (bought when I was 43) was a Siamese called Kim and he was an inside cat -- an envirocat. It was at this stage in my career as a writer that I was asked to write a book about keeping cats either indoors or within a garden enclosure. Hyland House published my book Envirocat in 1997, and it's still available through The Australian Book Group in Drouin, Victoria, Australia.

Envirocats are birdwatchers not bird catchers. They are utterly indulged, loved and content. Katie, our present Siamese, is the most affectionate and loving animal friend I've ever had. She sleeps between Doug and me in bed, with her head on my pillow. She follows the sun around the house, interacts well with our two German shepherds (she is top 'dog'!), and at 14 years of age is still playful.

At present, my mother aged 93 lives with my brother, his wife, lots of dogs and two cats who've made it their purpose in life to convert Mum from not liking cats to a cat lover. And they have succeeded!

My mother now admits (somewhat reluctantly) that a cat on her lap and purring offers the gift of unconditional love, while at the same time offering a comforting presence.

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