VERNON COUNTY - Why must you squeeze me? You call me and I come running—isn’t that enough? Must you pick me up and hug me until I feel like I'm suffocating? What’s wrong with you humans? Can’t you just admire me from afar? A few scratches under my chin are nice, perhaps, but why the need to squish me? Worse, why the need to hold on to me when I clearly want to be four paws on the ground?
I’ll give you credit, though, for adopting me. Did you know that black cats and kittens are the ones least likely to be adopted from any Humane Society? (Black dogs too, but who cares about them?) It’s silly, I say! I guess people believe in superstitions. Did you hear the one that says crossing paths with a black cat means you’ll have nine bad lives? That’s so lame. You crossed paths with me at the shelter and you seem to be doing fairly well. Except for the hold-and-hug-too-tightly thing you do.
I love that you have a big bowl of dry food in the basement for me as well as in the house. Having water bowls in both places is helpful too. But don’t forget, I always like going down to the creek and drinking its cool water. The ducks don’t seem to mind; in fact, I think they like me.
Have you noticed where else I like to hang out? I really like to be in the pig and goats' pen. They're pretty cool. That Louisa pig is mellow—I can walk right over her—the goats not so much. Peepers puts her head down and tries to butt me. Ha! As if she ever could. I’m light and fast on my feet. I float like the fuzz from a dandelion and sting like a cactus.
I especially like all the fences and fence posts around the farmstead. I can balance on them, sitting or standing, and imagine I'm the Karate Kid! I could sit on the top of a post all day if it wasn’t for you, Mom, the ultimate squeezer. You’re always in a hurry and swing the gate open without noticing me perched on top of the gatepost. Whee, what a trip! I don't mind the ride but I’m not too keen on falling off, only to have you pick me up and say, “Oh sweetie pie, Monkey Butt, baby boy, are you okay?” practically choking me all the while.
Yes, Mom, I’m fine. In fact, I’d be better if you’d put me down. But no, it’s the perfect holding opportunity for you, and then you whisper all sorts of nonsensical sweet somethings in my ear.
Last night, I was sound asleep when your voice woke me up: “Monkey, oh Monkey, come here!” You were upstairs in bed and wanted me to come up there so you could lie on your right side, throw your left arm over me in a death grip, and fall asleep like that. Sometimes you’ve even pulled the covers over me. Ridiculous!
I tried ignoring your plea, but then you started begging—and getting louder: “Monkey! Oh, Monkey Butt, come up here by your mom and snuggle.”
Big dilemma: Should I hide? Should I pretend I don’t hear you calling me? Or should I go and let you cuddle me to your heart's content?
My mind began to fill with images: the spectacular cat tower, those fluffy balls I play with, the occasional can of gravy and meat, and that smelly catnip toy I love to bat around.
Slowly, I stood and stealthily climbed the stairs, one step at a time. When you spied me you cried out in joy and I jumped up on the bed. My motor started purring and I rubbed my face on your arm. Soon enough I settled down with your left arm thrown over me.
I dreamt I was still back at the Humane Society in my metal cage, without you and all my friends here. I didn’t like that dream. Sometime during the night, I curled up even closer to you and with a smile on my face I slept the deep sleep of a thousand cats after a bowl of warm milk.
Life is good for this black cat.