On The Nature of Cats

Cats are not all the same. No way!

I've been a volunteer at the Arkansas Valley Humane Society, helping give those caged and abandoned cats a little care and attention. Some are more feisty than others, some more jealous of their regal solitude, and some are more wary.

Some don't react well to confinement, though they're allowed to run in the cat area occasionally. The presence of other cats is a problem for some. Loud barking of gigantic dogs just behind a door doesn't seem to bother them. The determining factor is how well they've adjusted to their temporary animal shelter environment.

I've heard about several cats who were not particularly outgoing, shall we say, at the shelter. But upon being happily adopted, they changed radically. A cage is not a normal environment for an animal.

Someone speculated that a cat knows your every thought, but doesn't care! We can't determine what cats know, but it's obvious that they care. They're independent and subtle, but they do crave attention and company. Cats don't jump on you and slobber in your face, but they are sensitive critters who definitely respond. Generally reserved, they certainly do have personalities.

My own two cats are very different from each other. One is a year younger than the other. She sleeps on my desk while I'm working there, and follows me to bed when I go. Though quiet and cat-like, she's unabashed in wanting to be near me.

The older cat sleeps nearby when I'm working, and follows me to bed too. She usually curls up near the foot of my bed and sleeps there all night. I think she wants to be friendlier, but doesn't quite know how. She's getting better at it, though.

Ripple, the younger cat, right

Brownie, the older, left


I can't get within thirty feet of the older cat if I have a portable vacuum cleaner in my hand. But I can vacuum the younger one, and she enjoys it!

I rescued one cat from the roof once, but going up there would have been too undignified for the older one. When she finally did go up, she found her own way down, thank you.

One spring, the younger cat looked out the window and saw several deer in her front yard! A first for her then. With a low growl, she went to the door and I let her out, knowing nothing was going to happen to those deer!

The cat slunk from one clump of grass to another, closing in on the deer, one of which she'd marked for doom. Finally, she came from behind a fence post at the deer, who were not perturbed in the least. In fact, they gathered curiously around the cat as if to ask, "What's this little thing intending to do to us?"

Ego deflated, the cat went back behind the post to contemplate. When I opened the door, she made a hard dash for the house, with no further delusions about being a fierce and brave hunter. The older cat had no such aspirations anyway.

When the young cat was even younger, a rabbit had taken up residence in my driveway. One day, the curious cat was closely investigating the rabbit face to face. The older cat wasn't going to have anything to do with strange creatures like this.

These marked differences are just for starts. I've known various cats all my life, and no two have ever been the same.

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