Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Felines in the Family >>> #8 in a series on Music Mentors

     I grew up with dogs, cats, horses, pet rats and snakes.  The pet rats were all snowy white fur and pink pin eyes and were just "visiting" from my dad's lab at the university.  The snakes were collected in the fields around our house by my brother who revered them and kept them briefly in cages in his room, regularly taking them out, and eventually returning them to the wild.*    My fondest memories are of the cats, though.                                                
It's really all about the cats.
     Someone asked recently if I had a dog.  It still kind of surprises me to realize that, no, I don't have a dog, and I haven't had a dog since I was a child.  I love dogs and always assumed I would inevitably have one claim me again.  But as my children grew, in the company of assorted beloved cats, our family just never did get around to a dog.   We were busy with the cats and then, for a brief period, pet rats----three sets of two females.  Domesticated rats are actually wonderful little companions and very smart and sweet----highly recommended pets, although their life span is only 3 years.

     But back to the cats.  I've catered to cats my whole life.  I've watched some being born and I've sorrowfully parted with others at the close of one of their nine lives.  We even had a cat during my childhood year living in Argentina (where having pet cats was not de rigueur) which we named Mishi, "kitty" in English .  How it found us and what became of it when we left are secrets my parents took to their graves.

     Both my own children came into this world welcomed by Minnie who, incredibly, hung around with us through eight moves, five major career changes, two human births, and a litter of her own.  Thanks to Rick, husband/dad/fellow cat-lover, we have video proof of what an intrepid character she was, standing her ground, demanding her rightful pampering and concessions.
Matthew with Minnie enjoying a good read in the company of twin bears.
     Who could've known that a feisty, no-nonsense, furry little ball-of-fire like Minnie would turn into a softie with the kids?  She'd let them haul her around, chase after her for hours, and erupt in frenzied squeals of delight at the mere sight of her.  Wily little Minnie's secret to success with handling her tiny adoring fans?  She had an uncanny ability to take all this devotion with kitty aplomb----when she was in the mood---and then to thumb her furry little nose at it all by shimmying and sashaying safely out of reach under cabinets or atop bookshelves.

     Minnie was our kid before we had kids.  Minnie was their first cat.  Minnie inspired the song "Tickles the Cat" that I wrote to humor kids and cats everywhere.  You can listen to a sample here, Track #15  I humbly thank Minnie for giving us master lessons in compassion, plus all those duck-and-cover skills.

     * except the 5' long garter snake that escaped and was "at-large" for several days, resulting in Grandpa's refusing to enter the house.


1 comment:

  1. Such fun memories! Love the photo of Matt absorbed in Treasure great on so many levels!