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Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The Cat Who Liked Opera

A guest blog by Dragon Dave’s Wife

Dragon Dave’s blogs on his dogs reminded me of the pets I had while growing up.  Along with the family dog, we always kept a cat or two around the house.  During my high school years, two kittens came to live with us, one for me and one for my sister.  These kittens were sisters like us, and each had their own personality.  One would run off and hide when company arrived.  This scaredy cat was named Heidi.  She was my sister’s cat; she was white with gray spots and a gray tail.

Unlike her sister, my cat welcomed guests.  In fact, she expected not only to be petted, but for each guest to give her some of whatever food was being served. She was named Polly Anna.  She was a sweet, tiger-striped tabby with a white chest and four white socks, only one of her socks had a hole in it and a gray toe poked out of it.  Her name was often shortened to Polly Cat or Polly.  She usually let me pick her up and carry her about, but she always put her paws on my shoulders and dug her claws in, to make sure she was safe.  She refused to be babied, carried around upside down, or on her back.  I still can feel the pinpricks of her claws on my shoulders.  

Polly taught me how to speak Cat, and I can still get a cat to look at me with a few well-chosen sounds.  As with most cats, Polly had her own vocabulary of different sounds, from happy purrs, greeting miats, to demanding meows that sounded like "Now!"  She made a particular cry when she brought me presents.  Usually, these consisted of items like corn husks, green beans, twigs, and small plants, but occasionally she brought me the odd mouse.  Polly proved a good hunter, adept at catching mice in the barn and the occasional bird, although she never caught the pheasant that she stalked in the field behind the house.

At night, I took her to my room and she slept at the end of my water bed.  (She was a great foot warmer).  Some nights she refused to settle down and go to sleep, but sat at my door and asked to be let out into the living room.  I eventually realized that those were the nights my parents watched the operas on the local public broadcasting channel.  So when I opened the door, Polly would proceed to the couch and curl up to enjoy the music, not returning until after the music died away.  I believe her favorite opera was "Der Fledermaus."  

When I left for college she stayed at home with my parents, but when I returned for vacations or short visits, she was usually the first to greet me, sitting on the shelf by the door as if waiting for me.  We always enjoyed our time together.  Polly got lap time and tidbits from the table.  I got her love.  For seventeen wonderful years, she enjoyed a life full of laps, petting, table scraps, hunting, and, of course, the opera.

Dragon Dave’s Wife

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