Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Ailurophile

Main Entry: ai·lu·ro·phile
Pronunciation: \ī-ˈlu̇r-ə-ˌfī(-ə)l, ā-\
Function: noun
Etymology: Greek ailouros cat
Date: 1927
:
a cat fancier : a lover of cats

That's according to Merriam-Webster's online dictionary. I am, and always have been, a cat lover. Cats have always delighted me. From their birth as blind, fuzzy little mousies; to kittenhood as obnoxious, fluffy pranksters; to adulthood as somnolent, purring sunshine-seekers; to geriatric life, as cranky, scrawny, dictators. No matter the stage of life, I enjoy them.

I love their huge, luminous eyes. I love their dainty, prissy paws. I love their dramatic, varied facial expressions. I love their individual, quirky personalities.

I have almost always lived with at least one cat. Many have come and gone: Bandit, Friskie, Trouble, Piano, Fortissimo, Giocoso, Formata, Staccato, Allegro, and my special Sebastian. Each came into my life for a time, was fiercely loved, and left either for a new home or cat heaven. (And don't try to tell me there aren't cats in heaven - God loves them just as much as I do.)

Currently we have five cats: Minuet, Sonata, Maestro, Oreo Speedwagon, and Birdie. There's also the outside cat, Matilda, who supposedly belongs to our neighbor. (Funny, though, how we're the ones who got her spayed, feed her every morning, and take care of her flea prevention.) I know these kitties inside and out - quite literally for Birdie, who I performed surgery on several times in her kittenhood. They are my daily annoyances, who distribute cat hair to every household surface, who trip me on my way to the kitchen, and who try to jump into my bowl of ice cream at every opportunity.

The benefits far outweigh the costs:
  • Cats are excellent nap buddies. All I have to do is act like I'm about to lay down, and Maestro and Birdie are on the bed, waiting to snuggle.
  • They let me know when it's bedtime. Their food bowl gets refilled at bedtime, so around 8:30 p.m., they gather around me and stare, trying to will me into feeding them.
  • They (usually) reduce my stress level just by their presence. Snuggling them & talking to them calms me down when I'm anxious or sad.
  • They're also good mousers. Except for Minuet, who once bopped a mouse on the head in disgust, and then promptly took a bath.
Besides, who can resist these faces, or the way they intertwine their paws?

Sonata, L, and Minuet, R

6 comments:

Nichole said...

They're so cute!! I'm a cat person, too, but I'm also very, very allergic to cats. We're currently petless, and we'll probably stay that way for quite a long time.

Amy said...

Sweet! I'm a cat person for sure...too bad I inherited two dogs.

Heather @ Not a DIY Life said...

I am also a big cat lover! We had two cats growing up that produce at least two litters a year - each! So we were always blessed with new kitties to love on and play dress up with.

I wish my Siamese only stared when it's time to refill her bowl. She talks up a storm. The closer you get to her bowl, the louder it gets. But she puts up with a toddler who pulls hair, so she's a good cat to have around.

Annie said...

Cute cats, they would kill me. Literally. I once spent the weekend at my brother in laws house, he had two cats. My allergies could not be contained with two prescriptions and taking Benadryl like tic tacs. I spent the entire weekend passed out and drooling and needed steroids when I got home in order to breathe. Also having three under four, we're done with pets for a long time.

Beachy Mimi said...

I love cats, too. Their personalities just crack me up.

Eco said...

I'm just gonna be the one who goes out on a limb here and says it, "I don't like cats." There, it doesn't mean I don't like you, I just don't like your pet. It probably all stems from the time when I was about 3, asleep at my uncle's house, when I was awoken by his Siamese monster who used my face as its scratching post. Yep, that's probably what did it. I've tried to be nice to many cats since and it's gotten me nowhere. So I turn all my love to my big, goofy, slobbering English bulldog. :-)