Life Lessons from a Kitten
So about three months ago, Chloe and I went on a search for a kitten. If you know either of us, this seems like probably the last thing either of us would ever do because we are huge dog people. We both grew up with dogs all throughout our childhood, and I can honestly say I had never met a cat that I liked, until now. Wanting some type of animal but knowing we couldn't take care of a dog the way we wanted to right now, we went out to Verona (small town south of Madison, WI) to one of the local cat shelters. We didn't really know what we were looking for or what we were going to walk out of there with, but we just went with it. The shelter was full of a lot of cats, but there was this trio of black and white kittens that were too cute. Two of them were pending adoption, so automatically I wanted to take the odd one out and play with her and see what she was like. She was the perfect combination of playful and independent, and didn't shy away from us like others had. She was social and playful and had these giant green eyes that were so cute and captivating, combined with her white eyebrows (that are actually just patches where her fur is less dense) we immediately fell in love. We put in our application and awaited their reply patiently. Five days later, we were crushed when the foster parents said we couldn't take her unless we had another cat in the house, as she was so playful and friendly that she became super depressed without her siblings around. We sent back an email stating we were going to be living with some people who have an older cat and that for the time being, we would be very good playmates, and they gave in!! She has been living in Shoreview with my parents and I (bless their souls because they are definitely NOT cat people, but let me tell you she is growing on them like crazy) for about a month now, and she has been teaching me so much, as weird and crazy-cat-lady-ish as that sounds. Some of these lessons revolve around the everyday idioms we hear all the time, others are cliché as ever but still important to learn. I have a feeling I will have to update these later too...
1. Curiosity did indeed kill the cat
This little kitten is the absolute cutest thing in the whole wide cat world, but she can also be a huge brat. She is unlike a dog in the way that she can climb virtually anywhere she wants and can get herself into a lot of trouble doing so. The regular incidents include trying to eat whatever we are cooking or any food on your plate. She LOVES food more than any other animal I've seen - and will even go so far as to eat my dog's food WHILE he is eating it from his own bowl! She loves eating the house plants and playing with any inanimate object (including pen caps and wrappers and other random, in no way exciting things) as well as staying out on the screened in porch and being able to watch the birds and squirrels that inhabit the yard. All seems cute and cuddly until we lost her one night in our unfinished storage room.. typically when you lose her you can just shake her treat bag and then she comes running, but this time we had to find her whilst playing a game of Meow Polo (like Marco Polo but with a kitty). She had climbed all the way up onto the rafters and couldn't find a way down! So now we know to close any doors that lead to anything that is not my room.
2. Cats always land on their feet
Multiple instances of her NOT landing on her feet have proven why cats need nine lives. It is equal parts funny and sad whenever she falls off of things, but she is getting better at finding her proprioception.
3. Landing softly "like a cat" is absolutely false
There are too many sayings about cats that I could talk about but this one takes the cake. I have heard this one a lot, especially in the athletics world, that when you jump (like the dreaded box jumps or other terrible things to somehow make your vertical higher) you're supposed to land softly, "like a cat". She is extremely quiet and stealthy when she jumps up onto something higher than her original positioning, but when she jumps off of things, a loud THUD occurs along with her letting out a little "meow", much like how we all make sounds whenever we stand up on our old creaky joints. This at least lets me know where she is, as the rest of the time she is like a little Black Panther with the "sneaker" shoes :)
4. Never hold back your true feelings
Cats purr all the time. This happens when endorphins (happy little molecules) are sent to the larynx muscles that gently vibrate their vocal chords. Side note: did you know that cats that roar cannot purr, and cats that purr cannot roar? Good thing too because if little Toof roared I think my heart would explode with cuteness overload. This phenomenon occurs because of a small bone (hyoid bone for all my anatomically correct folks) found within the vocal chords. Purring cats (domestic cats, bobcats, lynx, cougars) have a rigid hyoid bone that vibrates when air passes through on inhalation and exhalation. Roaring cats (lions, tigers [not bears, oh my], leopards, jaguars) have a more flexible hyoid bone that allows the larynx to expand so that they can create a deeper, full-throated roar. My main point here is that Toof shows when she's happy. She literally cannot hide her happiness (much like dogs wagging their tails) because it is a chemical reaction and an ensuing sound occurs. We should do the same! If something or someone makes us happy, don't hide it. We all need a little more joy in the world these days.
5. Don't judge a book by its cover
I didn't like cats before I met Toof because every cat I ever met beforehand either ran away from me or was mean. Toof is the most clingy being in the world and only bites me when I need to wake up to feed her. She is hilarious and has the quirkiest personality and I am very happy she changed my mind, even though I am still more a dog fan than cat (but don't tell her that).