Cats are universally thought to be unfeeling, selfish and narcissistic, but all the cats who have wandered in and out of my life, have proved to be anything but ! Infact most of them have equaled if not exceeded dogs in their outpourings of love and affection.

Little Tsunami, so named because I got her the day after the tsunami, never left my side. In fact he was my shadow and would even be inside the shower cubicle when I was having a shower, such was his love and affection towards any human.

Having been the happy owner of over 100 cats I can safely say that they all have been amazing companions and pets, each with their own distinct characteristics. In fact most cats have stronger personalities than dogs and make their presence felt in no uncertain manner.

Sudu my beloved pet of 17 + years would express her dislike of someone by creeping upto them early morning and mewing directly into their ear. She would also wake the subject of her displeasure with a sharp nip of their toes at around 5 am. At other times she was the most lovable , angelic cat you could wish for.

Melanie who was one of 15 kittens I had , who was the sole survivor of the dreaded cat flu, never knew what it was to walk for the better part of her life. Having survived the dreaded flu, she was spoilt rotten by everyone at home and was always being carried around. Hence she thought she was the Queen of Sheba and behaved thus. She had her special chair and nobody not even one of us could sit on it. She had her special place on our bedroom window sill and woe betide any cat who would try to share her special spot. When she wanted to be carried she would come up to one of us and cry like a baby which mean, ‘I want to be carried’.

Pretty Boy 1 and Pretty Boy 2 were the most amazing pair of cat siblings I have ever come across. They adored each other and were always there for each other. They slept together, ate together, cleaned each other up and gave us their undying love and affection until their demise.

As for my string of black cats, all named Sooty 1, 2, 3, etc and Mr Foo 1, 2, 3 etc, I have to confess that I have always had a particularly soft spot for Black cats. Mr Foo 1 was my special love and he would sleep between my partner and myself so that he was assured of both our love at night. He had a habit of glowering at anything and everyone and was always grumpy but was blessed with an overdose of character . I don’t think I have ever cried as much as I did when Mr Foo 1 was knocked down and killed right in front of our gate.

Damien, though a girl was so named due to the sheer naughtiness of this little rascal. Her best friend was Fatty and all her life Damien took the best of care of Fatty who had a tendency to stray. One day Fatty went missing [ actually Fatty went missing several times ] and on this particular occasion even Damien couldn’t find her. We then spied her atop a building that was under construction on the topmost floor – the 5th to be exact. Being night time there was nobody around and we could sense that Fatty was panicking, so what did we do ? We carried Damien and showed her where Fatty was perched and told Damien to go rescue Fatty. Believe it or not within the hour Damien returned with Fatty.

Bessy whom I have had now for almost eight years, chooses to sleep on my face. Yes she really sleeps on my face and I always tell her, “ Bessy one of these days you are going to smother mummy with your love” !

Ginger Spice is the same, but doesn’t stand a chance with Bessy who is a real tough case.

What am I trying to say here. Well its just that cats like dogs are capable of tremendous love and loyalty. They require very little care. Keep them clean, give them lots of water, and most important, cats want to eat all the time. They seem to have insatiable appetites and are constantly looking for food. A cushion or pillow wont go amiss.

The best example of a cat’s love and loyalty I could give was my dad’s favourite cat Blacken. Blacken was not at all handsome, he was grumpy and had no time for any of us except my father who he regarded as his personal property. When daddy died, he actually jumped into the coffin, howled, screamed and literally poured his heart out. Blackens’ outpouring of grief was terrible to behold. He then ran out of the house and didn’t return for over 3 months. When he did, he was a wraith of himself and died shortly after. He never came to us or looked to us for affection. He just wanted my father back.

Any animal, cat, dog, chicken, bird, anything is a wonderful addition to a home. We learn so much from them and they ask for so little from us. In return they give us invaluable lessons in life, love, giving and loyalty. Lessons which we humans would do well to emulate.

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