I am a natural skeptic, unconvinced there is such a thing as the supernatural or paranormal beings. Perhaps because it?s been my experience that the people who enjoy talking about such things are pretty wacked out. Let?s face it, those who dress in black, wear over-sized silver crosses around their necks to ward off evil spirits, and swear they have been abducted by an alien craft are usually long on exaggeration and short on credibility. However, if there were any animals that could actually see into the paranormal realm or sense the supernatural it would be cats, don?t you think? With hugely long whiskers that twitch at even the slightest breath of air and radar ears that rotate and work individually to detect the most minuet movements, cats are genetically endowed to discover another dimension.
There are many superstitious beliefs that follow the footsteps of the cat. From the ancient Egyptians to modern day America, cats have been the subject of this supernatural debate. Can cats see or sense things that we cannot? Pharaohs believed that the sun?s rays were actually captured by the cat and stored overnight in its eyes to preserve light for the morning. Sailors told stories of cats predicting bad weather and causing storms to occur by magically whipping their tails. Many of today?s psychics believe that the energy surrounding our bodies can be seen by cats, which may account for their senses being alerted when we are sick or excited.
There have also been reports of a cat named Oscar that can sense death. Oscar has been comforting patients in the Steere House Nursing Center for most of his 10 years. He roams the hall hesitating outside each door as if trying to determine if it?s time for his visit. When the patient is just hours from death, Oscar gently jumps on the bed to curl up beside the patient as they take their last breath. Actually, his predictions are so accurate that when the cat is seen sleeping on the bed, the staff makes a call to the family, asking them to get ready for the inevitable. Skeptics say Oscar smells some kind of chemical changes in the bodies of those who are dying, but believers think that Oscar has an eye for death. His vigils have accurately predicted the death of over 100 patients. Oscar is otherwise not especially social; he is well aware of his responsibilities.
Cats have always been associated with witchcraft. Queen Elizabeth I burned dozens of black cats as a testimony that she planned to get rid of all the witches in England. Ever wonder why most black cats in New England have at least a little speckle of white on them? Back in the 1600s, in Salem, Massachusetts, there were so many black cats burned to rid America of witchcraft that cat lovers began breeding their black cats with white ones in order to protect the newly born kittens from the black cat curse. So now, we have many varieties of black and white cats. One of my favorites is the Tuxedo cat, named after the fancy style suit men wear on special occasions. Some Tuxie cats also sport white feet that many refer to as spats, like those worn back in the 1920s by the most fashionable gents.
For a mixed breed, Tuxedo cats have made quite the name for themselves. The Clintons brought their Tuxedo to live with them in the White House. And, who could forget that famous Sylvester, who made a very lucrative living from stalking little Tweety Bird? Perhaps the most famous Tuxedo cat who gained international acclaim was Dr. Suess?s Cat in the Hat.
I myself have a little Tuxie named Sassy, and the name fits her to a tea. With a household of animals to include a Golden Retriever and a German shepherd, Sassy rules the roost. Tuxedos were named for their black and white framed bodies, but their coats come in all different lengths. Sassy prides herself on her very long and shiny coat, which she grooms constantly to keep her looking quite smart just in case we should have unexpected guests. She?s careful to include her long, white whiskers in her grooming routine, brushing them back along the sides of her cheeks like a woman would toss her hair to brush aside unwanted suitors. To complete her look, Sassy also has white on the very tips of her paws. When she parades herself in front of others who may not have given her the adoration she feels she deserves, Sassy tiptoes around with her britches swaying until people give her proper praise.
One of Sassy?s favorite places to relax is atop our glass breakfast table, especially when everyone is gathered there for a meal. Although this is our regular routine, when the in-laws arrive for a week?s visit, Sassy?s popularity declines drastically. Sassy is reluctant to give up her morning ritual and shows her distain by not only laying on her table during breakfast but by claiming it for most of the day. Then the circus comes to town, and we have non-stop animal entertainment.
No matter how much my mother-in-law tries to keep the glass table clean, Sassy won?t budge. Because my mother-in-law is the queen of clean, she not only washes the table top but insists on lifting the glass top to clean the prints on the flip side. Still Sassy won?t budge, content to ride the table as we lift and balance it on our knees while mom crawls beneath to wipe. This has proven to be a useless endeavor. Just about the time every spot has been cleaned, Sassy covers the table top with little puddie prints from one side to the other. Next Sassy flops and rolls like a fish out of water to attract the attention of our rather oversized German shepherd named Clete. Ready to join in the fun, he runs beneath the table to lick at Sassy?s flattened belly that he sees beneath the glass. Since Clete has made a habit of this behavior when Sassy is lying on the clear glass table, I decided to look under it to see what the attraction was for him. Clete?s view beneath the glass was hysterical. There laid Sassy looking like the bottom of a kitty pancake?all fur with four little pink pads. What were even funnier were Clete?s tongue marks on the bottom of the glass that my mother-in-law had been trying to remove since her arrival. Gives a whole new meaning to spit shine, don?t you think? Since her last visit, I?ve felt my relationship with my mother-in-law just might be on rather shaky ground.
This made it clear to me that IF YOU?RE A CAT YOU CAN?