Anthropomorphic me

by tamarjacobson

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I
always thought of myself as a dog person, until about fourteen years ago when I acquired a
cat because I thought Life Partner
would want one. We had just married, and as we were too old to have children of
our own it seemed to me like our home still needed some kind of vulnerable
soul for both of us to take care of – other than ourselves, that is. And so, at that time, Molly the kitten joined our humble abode. Within a few months I was
completely in love with her. I bought numerous books that told me how to care
for cats, including ways of understanding the way they learn to communicate
with their humans. But, through living with and observing them, I rather think that I
learned how to communicate with them instead! And from then on I became an avid cat lady.

Lately,
I have been reading through the archives of the blogs that I have been writing
for the past eight years, to find where my cats Molly, Ada, Mimi or Oscar are
mentioned. I am amazed to discover how many of the posts include those little,
furry, feline creatures. It seems they accompany me throughout my life, in the blog whether as
asides, thoughts, mentions, or with lengthy descriptions of their behaviors and
interactions. Indeed, they are never far from my mind. If they were able to
enter my brain and listen to my thoughts, I would say that they know me very
well. More than that – my cats are a part of me inside and out. In fact, I am
beginning to think they represent me, or that I identify with them. We are, at
least in my mind, inseparable. When I prepare to leave on vacation or even for
work in the morning I experience pain and longing for them just at the thought
of leaving them alone in the house. I imagine they will feel abandoned and
despairing, and that they will remain sitting with their noses pressed up to
the windowpane searching for me until I return. People tell me that they go to
sleep when I leave. But how do they know that for sure?

Surely
I am transferring my own childhood fears and feelings onto them?

Not
long ago, when little Oscar was very ill, the vet assured me of his resilience,
describing the amazing strength feral cats had to survive the most challenging
of conditions. She smiled and chuckled when I described the aggressive way I
saw Mimi playing with him. I was mortified and fearful worried about how poor
little Oscar was being hurt by his sister. The vet gently explained to me that
was how cats play together! Was I putting myself in Oscar’s shoes? – Me – a human
in the paws of a cat! After he died, I watched Mimi searching for him from room
to room. At times she mewed as if calling to him. My heart broke for her as if
she was a human mourning the loss of a sibling – as if I was mourning all of my
own past losses. 

Yes indeed, I realize that there is much more to explore about these symbiotic relationships between me and my cats. I have only scratched at the surface, if you will excuse the pun, gentle reader. In the meantime, I will try to head out on my many travels this month across the Unted States and over the oceans to England and Israel without too much angst and agony at having to leave sweet little Mimi behind with an adoring cat sitter named Lindsey.