In my world of new discoveries and finding out about myself, I have come upon an intriguing notion – my black cat is also finding his way….
Mel – the ugliest, blackest cat you ever saw – was sick at the shelter and so I – ever the one to make these heart-rending decisions – rescued him. There was no history on this little 3 month old, bleeding from the nose kitten, but I liked his laid-back attitude and medicated him back to a decent state of health.
The adoption of Mel was not without its adventurous side – he liked to sleep in his litter box – with the pee and poop all wrapped up around him. He let my new puppy drag him about the house by his ear, his throat, his tail – whatever body part was the most convenient for my little lab to grab, and he ate everything he could lay his teeth on – raw meat, grass, garbage, dog food, and my dinner. As a matter of fact, I think I was even a menu item one night when he caught the movement of a toe under the blankets in bed. I heard a purr and then – whomp – he landed on my foot, laid on his teeth, bit down hard and gave a twist with his whole head that sent me kicking and screaming out of bed. I have known many creatures, but never has one been quite so demonstrably an animal in my house. This little guy was a survivor – no question about that!
Mel has his scruples though. When the pup had accidents – and she had lots – Mel would dutifully try to cover it up by scratching the floor all around it as though there really was a supply of litter there. Then he would pee on the spot – in his mind, probably covering up that awful puppy smell with a more effervescent kitty odour – thus now I had two animals to train and retrain. Thanks Mel.
Mel would not accept my love. Any attempt to pet him led to him scooping his body under my hand and running away. If I tried to pet him when he was sleeping – and deep sleeps were his specialty – he would get up and move away, thus destroying his rest – and he really needed me to leave him alone so he could get better.
I decided that Mel had been a feral cat – wild, and living on his own for a long time. He did not trust me or even know what I was. His lack of human contact and his lack of respect for my humanness was refreshing.
In the busy-ness of my life, I finally decided to sit back and watch Mel – to get to know the REAL Mel. What was he thinking – were his actions a result of his first rough three months of life? Undoubtedly!
Every chance I got, I loved him up. Every time I saw him, I picked him up – even 5 seconds or so before he wriggled away. After 3 months, Mel finally jumped up on my lap and gave me a look that said,”I don’t really know what you are, but I want to know more.” He let me pet him for an unprecedented 10 seconds or so and then jumped away – as though trying to figure that out. Was that a good feeling? Did he like my touch?
Lo and Behold – more and more Mel is coming to me for attention, for a little show of friendship. He is awkward in his approach, cautious and always seeming to be ready for rejection or hurt. He doesn’t know how to cuddle me back – he clumsily bites my hair, apparently never having come in contact with long human hair before, and he pushes my hand over his face in a harsh and bold manner. He is beginning to trust me and that makes me happy.
I have come to love and respect Mel for the cat his is . He is not ugly now, he is big and beautiful, but still tough and resilient. He is a survivor and is helping me to discover who I am too.