9. When Cats Cry

One of the most heartbreaking things one can witness is to see a cat crying.  If you have never seen it, you probably will not believe me.  However, I can tell you it is certainly true.  I know.  I know.  There are people (those who are “experts” in the field of cat behavior) who will tell you that cats do not express their emotions in this way.   They contend that cats will become lethargic, or show a disinterest in food, or withdraw and that if there are tears, it is for medical reasons rather than from emotional distress.  Some medical reasons they cite are eye irritation from a speck of dust, a scratch from another cat, an allergy, or from a contagious disease, such as upper respiratory infection.  I know better.  I know cats cry when they hurt emotionally.

Sasha is a big furry, gentle, fourteen pound male feral cat, who is now one of our companions.  He was in the first (of three) feral litters of HRH Alexandria Regina.  I would let him in the house to eat his meals in peace and to allow him to have a little respite from the cruelty of the outside world.  He became quite socialized and would be in the house sometimes for hours at a time.   He would find his perfect place in the sun on a comfy cushion and fall asleep – soundly…possibly the best sleep of the day for him.  He also liked to follow me around.   He would head-butt my leg; I would pet him until he indicated he was tired of the routine and wanted to sleep, or eat, or groom.

One day, I had to do some things in the basement.  It’s an unfinished basement with exposed beams and rafters.  I was not accustomed to closing the door behind me, since we did not have indoor companions at that time…and…I forgot that Sasha was in the house.  The next thing I know, I see Sasha on the stair way and he is very frightened.   I walked towards him to see if I could ease him back up the stairs, but he panicked and ran past me into the basement.  He ran around to several different locations in the basement looking for an exit.  He finally went to the top of a shelving unit and tried to make himself invisible; he then went into the rafters behind some insulation.

I tried talking to him and tried to get him to come to me, but nothing worked.  I finally got the ladder and put myself level with him so he could see me.  I stroked him and spoke to him softly and as I was speaking with him, he started to cry.   He cried real tears that fell onto my hand.   I stroked them away and kept talking to him.  It was the saddest thing to see.  He could not express himself in any other way at that time, so perhaps he knew I would understand tears or perhaps it was involuntary.  Eventually, my husband came home and together we coaxed him down where he went limp in my arms as I was carrying him up the stairs.   It was a day, long remembered ….

Nancy L. H. Laurent

5. The Little, Tiny, Baby, Girl Cat / Human Male DNA Flaws / Sanctuary

Greta is our little, tiny, baby, girl cat.  Now, I have no idea where that name came from.  It does not befit my sense of dignity and self-respect.  What I suspect is that one of my other cats whispered that phrase in my ear when I was sleeping – isn’t that called subliminal programming?  I would hate to think that any of my cats would be so sneaky.  Of course not!  What was I thinking?  Nevertheless, when I asked Clyde about it, he just began rolling around on the floor and said something about the great catnip toy I’d given him.

Well, it happened!  I was talking with some of my guy friends and I blurted out something about “… my little, tiny, baby, girl cat.”  These guys were speechless.  They began looking at the floor and started talking about how seasonal the weather was.  Then, they looked at their watches, looked distressed, mumbled something about being late, and they rushed off.  Such things are still a mystery to me.

Now, the facts in chronological order.  Greta was TNRed on 04 August 2010 and later returned to where we found her.  Then days later, we were shocked on the morning of 18 August to find her inextricably entangled in a chain link fence.  She had her head through one opening, her left leg through another opening, and then she apparently turned her head to reach up to unentangle herself.  As a result, she caught a tooth on the fence wire and she was helplessly hanging with her back feet barely touching the ground.

When I saw her, I immediately lifted her back feet off the ground so she wasn’t hanging.  A neighbor came out and I asked him to get a heavy cutter to sever the fencing around her.  It took four cuts to remove her.  Nancy had already gotten a cat carrier from the house and Greta and I were on the way to our vet.  Fortunately, he’s less than a half mile away and took us in immediately.

She couldn’t support herself on her left leg.  Subcutaneous fluid and steroid injections, rest, observation, speculation that a kitten could heal more readily, an overnight stay at the clinic, and hope were combined as the treatment.  We picked up our little, tiny, baby, girl cat (Greta) the next day.  She was still having difficulty in trying to stand and move.

We had already decided to sanctuary her – there just was no way we could return her outside.  We did not know how she would heal, but we knew she’d be safer with us inside the house.  She was and is – and she appears to be fully recovered.  Greta is still a kitten who pounces on any available cat tail and chases the other cats around.  However, they do appreciate the breaks her long naps give them.

Head butts, love bites, and kitty kisses to all – except those speechless guy “friends.”

Now we just talk about the weather and “guy” stuff.  Strangely, none of them have ever asked about that little, tiny, baby, girl cat.  Well, life goes on.