Sunday, July 29, 2012

Berowne's 128

(For Three-Word Wednesday and ABC Wednesday: "C" is for "Cordelia")
I wonder if I might submit a minority report on this week’s prompt.
The impact on human life of a pet is known by just about everyone; nothing is more comforting than having a dog greet you at the door.
But I wanted to say a few words about the pet that played an important part in my life: Cordelia.
As a dog, Cordelia had a few shortcomings. She never met me at the door. She never brought me the morning edition of the New York Times. She never had much interest in gnawing endlessly on a bone.
To be quite truthful, by just the minimum standards of dog-lovers, she wasn’t much of a dog.
That’s because she was a cat. (Remarkable how my post, by sheer chance, fit right into ABC Wednesday's topic this week.)
As we enter that stage of life known as “growing older” – which I guess begins at about age 28 :-) - many of us who live alone seek companionship. And a cat is universally acknowledged to be, for many, a possibly soul-satisfying companion.
Understand, I love dogs.
When I was younger, back during the French and Indian War, I enjoyed nothing more than running with my dog, tossing the frisbie to watch the spectacular catches, doing, in short, dog-and-owner stuff.
But now, as my friend Will Shakespeare puts it:
“My way of life is fall'n into the sere, the yellow leaf, and that which accompanies old age.”
I have joined that vast demographic known as “sedentary,” which is French for someone who sits a lot and doesn’t do much running and who tosses no frisbies.
And that’s where the cat comes, or came, in.
Cordelia was perfect for her role. Look at her. For one thing, she was beautiful.
And once I got used to the basic idea that my new pet was a cat not a dog, she made a fine companion and we got along beautifully.
I just had to accept that she would not be barking with enthusiasm, wagging her tail and leaping about when I returned home. Instead, she was, like, You’re back? That’s good. Forgive me if I curl up here again; I was having a nap.
Folks who do not understand felines say they don’t really feel the emotion of affection for their owners that dogs do. They say cats are independent and don’t really have such needs.
Ah, they could not be more mistaken. How strong was that need? Well, Cordelia needed to be with me: she did not falter, she had to come sit on my lap every time I read the paper or worked at my ‘pewter.
Let me tell you of the problem I had with her. I kept the bedroom door closed at night; she had the run of the living-room. I figured that way we’d both get a good night’s sleep. As the sun began to come up, and it came up at five am or so at times, she would come to my door with a message:
The child of morning, rosy-fingered dawn, has appeared! Up, up, time to start the day!
And she would loudly, and irritatingly, scratch the bedroom door to accompany the message. And I’d say, Keep your distance. Let me sleep!
Then I read of a device – ah, technology – that you could hang on the door, a device that made a loud, excruciating sound, a sound that could only be heard by feline ears; I, asleep in my trundle bed, would hear nothing.
It worked. From then on, she didn't touch the bedroom door, avoided it like the plague, and I slept uninterruptedly.
But the inventor of that noise-maker device didn’t know about Cordelia; she was not just a beauty, she was smart.
After a month or so she said to herself: Okay, let’s see, I hate that sound. But, thinking it over, it’s just a sound. There’s no danger involved. I’ll just ignore it and scratch away at that dam' door as much as before.
The end result? I gave up.
I kept the door open at night and she came to sleep on my bed. After all, spending the night with a beautiful and intelligent female is something I was usually in favor of, as a matter of principle.
(Submitted also to Sunday Scribblings)

56 comments:

Mimi Foxmorton said...

Eventually, we always open the door........
;)

Bee's Blog said...

What a beautiful story. And her persistence? Just like a woman!

Leslie: said...

Weeeelllll, you might just have changed my mind about getting a cat. But I still love dogs! lol

jabblog said...

Beautiful - cats are very affectionate, always on their own terms. I love both cats and dogs - and appreciate their different characters . . . and then, there's the difference between the males and females of each species. From experience, the males are more loyal, less independent - but I would never have missed any of the many cats and dogs we have had - in fact, I miss and commend them all.

Grace said...

Nice share of your cat...

Berowne said...

Bee's Blog: "What a beautiful story."
What a beautiful comment. Thanks.

Linda said...

Cat allergy alert. I enjoy cats but I seriously need them to keep their distance. Thank you for this inspiring tale. My dog always manages to find a way around things and snuggle up too. Lovely, Berowne.

christopher said...

I have been negotiating the proper use of my living space with one Hellboy who used to live next door but now lives across the street or with me, depending on the time of day and the quality of the food. He is the most cantankerous cat I have known but also the most oddly erotic. He loves a good scratch at the head and shoulders in an openly ecstatic way, but not on the belly, never there on pain of severe wounds, and never by his hips either. He likes to sleep on me in winter but to be outside in summer.

Kathe W. said...

Berowne this is so lively, funny and purrfect as I have lived with cats all my life-sometimes as many as 4 at a time- dogs are wonderful companions- but there is something intrinsically alluring about cats that keeps me coming back for yet another! Here's snap of Lucy-
http://kathewordaday.blogspot.com/2012/07/word-184.html
Enjoy this image!

Rinkly Rimes said...

Lovely! And something I entirely agree with. Cats don't fawn, that's what I like about them. And your writing always makes me feel I should try more prose anecdotes.If only there were more time!

Berowne said...

Kathe W: "Berowne this is so lively, funny and purrfect..."
A lively, funny and purrfect comment; thanx.

joanne said...

What a lovely story, and fine tribute to Cordelia.....she was(?) beauteous, and a wonderful bedfellow....I loved it....

Roger Owen Green said...

Smart cat! I prefer them to dogs, especially my neighbor's dog who barks at me when I walk on MY porch. Shut up, canine.

Brian Miller said...

smiles...ha...we are cat people too...because my wife is a cat person...and ours things that our boys are hers...so she sleeps on their bed and watches over them...alternating their beds...maybe you need to rent a kid....

Kutamun said...

Tres Bien , Berowne, "The Cat" is , as Mary Louise Von Franz puts it, a "tale of feminine redemption" . I knew there was a woman somewhere in this image , latent or potent.

oldegg said...

What a great post. Dogs of course know who is master. With cats however it takes some time for you to realize that they are yours.

J Cosmo Newbery said...

Lovely! Thank you for sharing this story.

Sue J said...

Apparently dogs have owners, cats have slaves :)

Berowne said...

Perhaps a bit extreme, Sue J, but there may be something in what you say.

Berowne said...

joanne: "What a lovely story, and fine tribute to Cordelia."
A much-appreciated comment, joanne, thanks so much.

Lyn said...

That's why I want to be a cat when I come back...sleep, scratch and look beautiful..
Cordelia must know how lucky she is!

Doctor FTSE said...

Sue is quite right. To your dog you are the pack leader. It would make no difference to your cat if you were a chimpanzee. Talk about napping, though. Our cats sleep 24 hours a day, often much more.

ninotaziz said...

Our cats loved your Cordelia, Berowne. Seriously I was at the end of my wits trying to work out our household of five young girls when Shanks and Sasha arrived and greatly improved mother daughters relations.

hyperCRYPTICal said...

I have a strange affection for cats for they do own us and we not them.

Lovely story Berowne. Thank you.

Anna :o]

Tumblewords: said...

They do take over. And some of us love it!

flipside records said...

This was so funny: "she wasn’t much of a dog.
That’s because she was a cat."

Cats ARE very smart; I'm not surprised she "won" this battle. :)

Helena said...

Hey! Hey! My, did that story touch my heart. Cat logic is an art all in itself!

Kat Mortensen said...

One thing I know, you can never win an argument with a cat. Never.

Oh, and I've never met one that didn't despise a closed door.

Lovely reminiscence.

Kat

Tess Kincaid said...

I too have always been a dog person...but your lovely story made me smile...Cordelia is the perfect name for a cat by the way...

Wayne Pitchko said...

great story....thanks for hsarin your words

Little Nell said...

I've never owned a cat but I do appreciate them and I'm very fond of those owned by friends. Cordelia sounds determined and tenacious, and was beautiful too. What more could you desire in a companion?

Berowne said...

Little N: "What more could you desire in a companion?"
Exactly, I agree. Thanks for the comment.

Tigerbrite said...

Enjoyed this. I am a cat person too. I once had a cat who did not scratch at the door, he would hang himself on the door handle with his front paws until it opened.

Roy Schulze said...

New York Times aside, cats are well know for their other deliveries, usually lifeless, too often headless. Great story. Mine this week is called Culmen ’79.

Wanda said...

Oh this was so adorable. She is in fact a beauty.

I was hanging on every word, as we have had many cats in the past, but now only have a small dog.

You brought back lots of nice memories of Manana coming in and patting my cheek to wake me up.

Joy said...

A door is no challenge for a cat. My friend has three who let her share the house with them.

DCW said...

I have had both; presently just a small cat. But a sufficient presence of affection for anyone's needs. The morning sunshne quote was beautiful . . chuckle.

Helen said...

I've had at least three or four cats in my lifetime ... wonderful companions all. I believe they are the ultimate stress reducer! Your Cordelia sounds enchanting.

Lynette Killam said...

This is a touching post. Having always shared my life with cats and dogs,I can't imagine a home without them...:)

Sharp Little Pencil said...

Berowne, the French and Indian War? I got a charge out of that. Cordelia sounds like my kind of cat... smart, unafraid of technology, and sweet after all. My late kitty Missy was like that. She could open the treats drawer standing on her hind legs walking backwards. Hell, I can't even do that! Peace, Amy
http://sharplittlepencil.com/2012/07/31/canvas-wwp-abc-poets-united/

Berowne said...

Tigerbrite, Roy S, Wanda, Joy, DCW, Helen, Lynette K and S L Pencil - what a lineup of bloggers! Thanks so much for your comments.

Sheilagh Lee said...

so like a cat they worm their way into your hears and make great companions though you don't own them they own you. thanks for sharing this charming story of Cordelia

Dee, the Crafty Chick said...

As one owned by both a dog & cat this was quite appreciated

Mary-Ann said...

Lovely story. A child's first pet is a story of excitement. As adults our pets are often lovely stories of frustration and serenity, but either way, they are a gift.

Ellecee said...

A beautiful cat story. I love them - cats that is - have had many over the years. Enjoyed this tale very much.

Hildred and Charles said...

Lots of empathy here, - Will's quote really hits home and so we lavish all our ancient love on Callie the Cat, although Charles has some illusions about her dog-like qualities of devotion. He calls her, as he would a dog. She comes.....

Ann said...

First I love the name Cordilia!!And yes she is beautiful. I used to have a cat who KNEW when I needed a cuddle and always did just that.
Ann

RMP said...

She is definitely one smart feline, but I think that is typical of her kind.

Black Jack's Carol said...

I, too, hung on every word of your charming story. I can't help but wonder how Cordelia came to leave you, but perhaps that's a story for another day. She was indeed beautiful!

Lmkazmierczak said...

Cordelia sounds like a real treasure♫
My Contessa is getting up in age, but she still makes a great companion!

Kay L. Davies said...

I'm so glad she finally trained you. Cordelia Cat, two Cs for the price of one, is a beauty, and shouldn't be locked out. A purring cat is a beautiful sound to lull a person to sleep.
Congratulations. We make do with the beautiful sounds of dog snores, but we do remember cats, and are very grateful Golden Retrievers have learned how to purr.
A super post for the letter C, as always, Berowne.
K

kaykuala said...

Cordelia is a gem! I had our cats curled up in bed at my feet in the mornings. It was so peaceful when you could only hear the purrs with eyes closed. Nothing else mattered then and you could just go on sleeping. I don't think you could do the same with dogs!

Hank

Mary Ann Blinkhorn said...

Enjoyed!

Berowne said...

My thanks for all these wonderful blogger comments...

Belva Rae Staples said...

Absolutely lovely! The story and Cordelia, by the way!

naturgesetz said...

The cat Tigger would consent to be placed on my bed when I retired for the night. After lying beside me for maybe as much as a minute, he'd jump off and tend to his nighttime patrols. I wonder if lady cats are more interested than the males in sharing a bed with their humans.

 
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