Sunday, January 24, 2010

Why I like cats

1. I like cats because they’re furry. Our two cats’ coats feel quite different from each other: Cassie’s is utterly soft and fluffy – like fairy thistledown – while Sirius’s is smooth and silky. Stroking them is soothing and comforting. Feline security blankets.

2. I like cats because they’re quiet. I can quite see the attraction of dogs also – though I’ve never had one or known one very well – but the one thing I don’t like about them is their barking. Cats just sit peacefully there looking elegant and saying very little. Mostly.

3. I like cats because they’re beautiful. Ours are particularly beautiful, of course, which you don’t really see because black cats don’t photograph well. In photos they tend to look either featureless or rather sleek and evil. But they’re actually sootily glossy and also slender and dainty and streamlined. Unlike me.

4. I like cats because they’re sweet. Yes, I know this is an even sillier reason than some of my others. Yet when they unfurl and offer their fluffy tummies to be stroked – well, they’re cute. I’m vulnerable to cuteness because it’s such a long time since my children were babies and (sigh) I have no grandchildren.

5. I like cats because they’re calm. This is a slight bending of the truth because they actually jump even at not-very-loud noises; and, if a burglar arrived, he would never know they existed because they’d be panicking silently behind the sofa. There are also skittish times when they chase each other up and down the stairs and from chair to chair to table. But most of the time they sit and gaze around placidly or go to sleep. So relaxing to watch.

6. I like cats because they don’t worry. I would love not to do so. I know, oh how I know, that there’s no point in chewing over the past or agonising about the future. But it’s hard not to. Cats just exist in the present. They don’t like it when the window-cleaner arrives outside the living room with his clanking bucket – but they don’t sit counting the days till he comes back again. And do they search their consciences about that little mousey murder or those scratches on the kitchen cupboards? I think not.

7. I like cats because they purr. What a lovely sound.

8. I like cats because they allow themselves to be picked up and dandled like a baby or carried around or just fluffed as they pass by on some business or other. Burying one’s face in their velvety tummies is immensely pleasurable – ah, the smell of warm cat! And then they’re quite happy to be put down again. It’s a very tactile way of passing a few moments. And it’s touching how a creature will accept human contact and will trust us not to hurt it.

9. I like the individual bits of cats. Their little heads fit so nicely in a palm. Their tails are satisfying to twiddle between the fingers, like worry beads. Their small feet with those claws that could scratch you, but don’t. Their furry trousers, straight out of Beatrix Potter. Their mouths – from the front they look solemn and judicious but if you look at them from the side, they have a secret smile.

10. I like cats because they’re so easily made happy; so uncomplicated. They like warmth, food – particularly prawns – and a bit of stroking. That’s it. They’re not ambitious or jealous or clingy or proud or avaricious. They’re just themselves.


  1. How beautifully said!

    I agree with every word. I love cats too!

  2. Yes, your cats ARE particularly beautiful Isabelle! And very sweet. They amazed me at how quickly they warmed up to us when we were there. And did you mention the entertainment value when they get into mischief? Our cats regularly make us laugh!

  3. Oh I like your cats too!!

    I agree about their sweet little faces - our Lucy is a calico with elaborate markings that make her look either bored or aloof all the time - it's a pity, since she's a lovely purring lump.

    But oh, your babies are so lovely!

  4. Agreed on all points. I also like their athleticism. Something about the way they leap and bounce and pounce and stretch, so balanced on the edges.

    Black cats are not photogenic, but I agree, they are the most beautiful.

  5. I totally agree, and feel so downcast at my catless life. Except for a visiting black cat called Morley, and I am not sure I trust his motives - probably to use my garden - but these days he allows me to stroke his head.

  6. Yes I like cats for all those reasons too. But I don't like cats that disappear without a trace. Can't wait to get our new one, not long to go now.

  7. Oh, you make me miss my cat! I had to leave him behind with my father when I moved out to study at uni - he's an outside country cat, he would have hated to live in a very cramped city apartment.

  8. Anonymous8:39 am

    Wonderfully written! You capture the essence of what it is to own a cat. Thank you for making my morning!

  9. I agree completely, although our cats are very chatty. They are having a huge philosophical conversation together as I type!

    I love that first photo. I love it when they do that pummeling thing, as long as it is not on my knitting!

  10. We are fabulous creatures aren't we? Purrs.

  11. Yes, I agree, absolutely. I could add that I love that super-dignified demeanour that they can just drop, suddenly, and become really silly - until they collect themselves and become haughty Lady Bracknell again in the twitch of a whisker. Oh, and how their coats smell of fresh air when they come in from the cold... and...and...

  12. Yes, I like cats too, for all those reasons, and black cats are particulary beautiful. I often think that yours look as if they're made of black velvet. We have a frequent cat house guest but he's inclined to be aloof - even with his own people. Miss my big, fat ginger and white chap who lived to be 20.

  13. Just to inject some diversity of opinion, there is another side to cats too. Growing up, I remember our cat also as remorseless. Like when he would jump on the cupboard to nibble at a freshly frosted, unattended cake. Or on one of the rare occasions when he would nap on my bed, sinking his claws into my foot if I moved it too much. Or when he would tire of his night-time prowls and scratch at the window screen to come in, usually at three or four in the morning. Then once in, maybe he would jump up on the pool table to engage in a solitary billiards exhibition or explore the furnace ductwork to further rouse the residents.

    Now sing along if you know the tune,
    "I've looked at cats from both sides now
    From up and down, and still somehow
    It's cat illusions I recall
    I really don't know cats at all."

  14. As I was reading this post, our two new arrivals were chasing each other round a circuit that involved two different counters in the kitchen, the hall, the stairs, upstairs hall and blanket box. Rinse and repeat. At speed. Every now and then Bellus gets fed up at being outpaced and pounced on and lets out a catty wail of irritation. Zyra has shredded the brand new clean sheet of newspaper I put under the litter tray just....because. It was there, and looking at her funny. I can't wait for the quiet dignity to kick in! (They are furry though)

  15. I agree with all of these reasons.

    Some very good friends of ours are having to find a new home for one of their kitties, she needs to be a lone cat, not one of three, she's such a lovely pet it's heartbreaking.

    Pardon me, I must just go find a fluffy cat belly to nuzzle.

  16. I could write 10 reasons why I don't like cats...but we have two anyway. And can't imagine life without them.

  17. AAWWWW, that is sooooo beautifully written! You have encapsulated all the reasons why cat lovers are just that - lovers of cats! When I'd finished reading it, I went around the house looking for Topsy, just so I could give her a cuddle. But she wasn't to be found anywhere. Being black she can hide extremely well. I think she is still cross with me after today, when I hauled her out from under our bed, to show her off to the dozen people we had here. They all oohed and aahed and wanted to pat her, but she was having none of that, thank you! After three people had managed to stroke her, she was all patted out, and took off, only to return for her dinner when everyone had gone!

  18. I'm a convert (in theory though, not practise - the dogs would never stand for it!).

    Your cats look and sound great and I think they photograph beautifully.

    Lesley x

  19. From one cat lover to another ... that is beautifully written. Thank you for sharing your love of cats ... they are amazing creatures. Take care :)

  20. Amen.

    There is a type of human that feels the necessity to declare loudly in conversations held in public places, "I hate cats."

    I have run across them many times in my travels, and while I instinctively dislike these people, I am simultaneously thankful that they compulsively disclose this gaping flaw in their personality, so that I don't waste any time on them that I could be spending with my cats.

  21. Ah Isabelle . your cats are indeed very beautiful!

    But having collected 5 dead redwings from the garden over the last few weeks and having found our neighbours tom cat in our house, uninvited, twice over the last week (the fearless canine has a broken pelvis AND a broken leg so is unable to properly perform her guard dog duties) ... I am less than enamoured with the felines hereabouts.

  22. Your cats ARE beautiful... and your words are too!

    Our Gabby Cat has gotten so skinny but her face is still so sweet. She's almost 18 years old but still eats well, drinks, and plays.

    I love the way cats relax. They drape themselves on whatever they choose. Hmmmm... I'm good at that too!

    Thanks for the comments and kind words, Isabelle.

  23. I love cats, too. We have a sleek black cat and a fluffy gray; and also a dog. So I would add to your list that cats don't slobber, which makes them infinitely superior as companions. :)

  24. I love cats too, they are so cute when shredding my lounge even though there is an unused scratching post next to it. I love my 2 birman cats even when they bring up hairballs on the carpet even though they are brushed and combed twice everyday. I love it when they ignore their own expensive beds and snuggle up in my bed. Just love cars..

  25. I like cats, too, because you've now convinced me to! What a beautiful ode to cats.

    Seriously, although I am a dog person, I can definitely see the attraction of a good-natured, friendly pusscat or two :-)

  26. I love the way that they hide a few steps down the stairway to the basement and then, when my attention is elsewhere, race up and sink their fangs into the meaty part of my leg. No. Wait a minute. That's the part I *don't* like. Except for giving me something to blog about. :-) (And only Max does that.)

    What I really love is the way they are all such different little personalities, and the way they so quickly become part of your life. And they are very good lap warmers, too, when you want to curl up on the couch and read a book.

  27. I totally agree with each point you've made. I couldn't imagine life without them.
    They're such good therapy, not to mention fun to be around, and great gardening companions.
    Your two are exceptionally beautiful, of course! :)

  28. Yes, I like cats for all those reasons too. I want a cat.

  29. Selfishly, among other things...I like them because they don't need to be walked. Especially attractive to me on windy freezing days.