Monkeyface: The Story of a Cat or a King



 

I’ve heard people say that cats have nine lives. I’m here to tell you about the two of mine. While totally different, they were both equally filled with love and excitement. Of course, both of my moms quickly learned who was the boss.

Let me start from the beginning. It was on a warm spring day in May that I took my first breath in this world, and found that I had three siblings. We found ourselves in front of my first mom’s house. We all met Momma Kym, who took us into her big house. Mom then put us in a small portable room, which she called a cooler. It had a soft pad on the floor, which was warm and kept us nice and cozy. The room was a little cramped for the four of us but it would do. Soon Momma Kym moved two of my siblings out of the cooler, which left room for my other sister and I to expand and be much more comfortable.

Because the room was portable, Momma Kym took us everywhere she went. She fed us every three hours and took care of our every need. This went on for days. We came to think of the cooler as our own little paradise. Mom never tired of fulfilling our demands. She was my first servant and as such, Momma Kym was excellent. She served with such tenderness, love and loyalty; I knew I had chosen well.

One day Mom took us from our sanctuary. Our world now enlarged a hundred-fold and was quite scary at first. We were put in with other kittens and they were huge and some were even bullies. I quickly acquired an attitude of self-importance. This was easy to do. Why, I already had Momma Kym and the rest of the humans around wrapped around my little paw. Soon the others came to fear, respect, and yes, even idolize me. Life was indeed good!

This adoration went on for two years, growing stronger everyday. No one could resist my charm. Everybody who came into my life loved me, especially Momma Kym. She often showed her devotion by picking me up and kissing me all over while telling me that I was her baby. Imagine me a baby! Humph!! This degraded me beyond belief, especially in front of the others, so I would turn my head and push her away. But, I’ll tell you a secret…I really did love it.

My favorite sport was hunting. I especially liked to hunt gophers. I don’t know, there was something about the chase. It was thrilling beyond compare. My comrades said that I was the best hunter, with the exception of one time, when the gopher actually had the audacity to bite me before I had the chance to hunt him down. Talk about embarrassment. I came home to Momma Kym with my tail between my legs. Off to the vet we went. They fixed me up, good as new. Soon, I was out searching for more excitement.

One day, while I was out chasing gophers, I wandered off too far. When I realized that my prey had escaped my grasp, I noticed that I was in a field across the street from home. I sauntered back toward the road and heard a car coming. Well, I wasn’t afraid of a car. After all, I could run faster than any of the other cats. I can surely outrun a car. I took a running start. Faster and faster I went. Catching a glimpse of the car speeding toward me, I picked up the pace, almost making it to the other side before the car got to me. Almost. I felt the pain in my hind leg and I realized the huge mechanical monster had hit me. I could not make it home, so I limped to safety under a tree where Kym found me. We made another trip to the vet.

Then one day, a lady came into the office. She called my name and I cuddled up on her lap, purring happily. I heard Mom call her Denise. Mom then asked me if I would like to go home with her. Well, this lady seemed nice enough and knew how to scratch behind my ears. I liked that. Maybe it wouldn’t be too bad.

So began my second life. Now this life was different then my first. Momma Denise didn’t let me out to hunt. There were too many mechanical monsters. Instead, she bought me toy mice to pounce on and balls to chase. This was almost as fun as the real thing. I learned to love my new life as much as I did my old. I was the only cat in the house, which made me king with no competition. Momma Denise gave me as much love and attention as Momma Kym. In my first life, I was the “Big Cheese”, idolized and adored by all of the other cats, mascot of the office and the love of Momma Kym’s life.

Whereas with Momma Denise, I wormed my way into her heart with my silly antics the very first day. She also picked me up and made over me just like Momma Kym used to do, but boys weren’t around to make fun of me, so it was okay.

Every morning I woke Momma Denise up by softly mewing as I jumped on the bed. I would lay on her head and knead her hair. If that didn’t wake her, I would add a nibble on her earlobe. If she wasn’t awake by then, I would go to Plan B, pouncing on her feet usually did the trick. I would act as if they were gophers and get some hunting practice. By the time I was through, Momma Denise was awake and laughing. Then I could expect breakfast.

I loved it when Mom went away for a long time because she would always bring some new toy home to me. Once, after being away for one whole day, she brought three balls and a new mouse to play with. These were all very nice, but my favorite toy was the paper bag that she dropped on the floor especially for me. I loved to explore it, climbing into it and hiding from Mom. Then I would spring out at her feet as she walked by the bag. She laughed and I would rub up against her, showing her that I really loved her.

Momma Denise often called me her muse. I don’t know what that means, but I do know that I inspire her. You see, she is a writer. Mom works all hours on her stories. While she sits pounding away at the keyboard, I would sit in the windowsill, watching her. Every time she hits a hard spot, Mom would stop, lean back and stare at me. Then came the time to do my job. I would jump from my throne and into her lap so that she could pet me. Then she would get going again, telling me that I had inspired her, once again.

In both of my lives, I was lucky. While other cats had people who owned them, I had moms whom served me, and served me well. It’s a cat’s world after all.

My Best Friend

This poem was written in memory of my first cat, muse, and best friend, Monkeyface.

 

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My Best Friend
(for Monkeyface)

Each morning, when I awake,
my best friend is beside me;
his eyes are wide with love,
and my heart soars again.

As I go through my day,
expectations all around me,
my friend is always near,
to soothe my troubled mind.

When nighttime descends upon us,
and the world is through with me,
at last I can meditate,
and give loving thanks for him.

My friend is very special,
a truly amazing soul,
he’s very soft and gentle,
for he’s my cat, after all!

Does Your Cat Speak to You?

Good question! It has been shown that cats do, indeed have their ways of speaking to you. All you have to do is to learn cat. In the past, people thought that cats were just cats, arrogant and independent. Like their brothers and sisters in the wild, it was thought that they hunted, bathed themselves and slept; then they would wake and start this process all over again. A cat would only grace us with their company when they wanted something, like food. They were good for hunting and killing mice, but not much more .
Pretty dull existence, huh? However, experts have found that all cats do not have just one cookie-cutter personality. Like dogs, they each have their own personality, their needs and desires, and each communicates what is going through their heads differently. Recently, those who have studied the cat-human communication have found that there is a “language” used by cats. If you watch and listen to your cat, the bond your bond with him will become even tighter than before. These examples are just general ways that a cat might communicate. more

Purring as a way of cat communication

First, I want to make it clear that when a cat purrs, it does not always mean they are contented. While, it’s true that this is sometimes the case , there are times when purring means something altogether different. When your cat purrs, watch him. Look at his stance. Are his muscles tense? Is his hair standing on end? Are his eyes dilated and ears back? Most likely, this is a sign of anger and sometimes anger will be accompanied by purring. Another reason for communication by purring is that he is sick and is trying to heal himself. Several year ago, I was seriously ill. I had two cats and, each taking turns, they would lay beside, purring to comfort me.

It’s all in the tail

Other ways of cat-speak is in the tail. That’s right, I said tail. Have you ever noticed how your cat’s tail moves? That is him trying to speak to you (and to other cats). Different ways of cat-communication are, as they say, all in the tail. Cats quite often use their tails to tell you what they want. If it’s erect and the fur is laying down flat and still, he’s happy, alert, and/or inquisitive. He is comfortable in his territory.  If the fur on the tail is bushy, he is angry or afraid. Like a dog, if the tail is held low and between the legs, he is anxious or insecure. If it is thrashing to and fro, he is agitated; leave him alone. The more agitated he gets, the more chances that he will scratch or bite you, or both. If the tail is straight up and quivering, it be one of two things; either he is excited or, if he/she is not neutered/spayed, the cat is likely spraying. more

Eyes

Watch the eyes. The cat uses them to communicate a host of feelings. These are a few ways you can know what your he is trying to tell you. If pupils aren’t dilated, it is normally a sign of contentment. If the pupils become dilated, it can mean that he is angry or terrified. Keep your “eye” on the tail for further clues.

Body

There are a few things you need to know about the body communication. If it’s arched with fur standing on end, he may be scared or angry, but if it is arched and the fur is flat, he is telling you that he wants a pet from you. Laying on his back means he is relaxed. It is also a sign of trust, especially when he allows you to rub his belly. If he is hunched down, with his hind haunches quivering, look out. He might be getting ready to strike, in either anger or play.  Again, watch that tail.

There are, of course, many other ways your cat speaks to you, and we will cover them in later posts.

For more information on communication between you and you cat, please visit:   Man’s Other Best Friend

Our thanks go out to:  Cat Chat, Catster and New York Magazine

DISCLAIMER: I am not a cat behaviorist, vet, or an expert of any kind. Therefore, I can only claim that the statements made in this blog are based on my personal New Nresearch and my 20 years of experience as a cat guardian only.

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