We currently have five cats, not counting two that belong to both us and our daughter (whose nickname is Cat, incidentally, because of her initials, not because of her sincere love of cats). Of the five cats, Paws is my baby. Okay, he is definitely not a baby, since he weighs 12 pounds, nor is he “my cat”. Anyone who has had a cat for long understands that cats own people, not the other way around.
Anyway, Paws is a beautiful Siamese mix. He has all the markings of a Siamese, except that he has four white ‘boots’ on his feet, hence his name. We got him when we rescued a bunch of cats that had been abandoned at an apartment complex not far from where we lived at the time, on the Oregon coast. The cats were surviving off of what they could find in the dumpster and the people living in the apartments didn’t care about them, thinking that it was great sport to shoot them with bb guns. I don’t go for intentional cruelty, so we ended up rescuing 23 cats, with the blessing of the owner of the apartment building (and who ended up evicting several people because of their part in the cruelty against the cats.) All of this occurred five years ago.
A few of the cats were so malnourished that they died. Another had to have an eye removed and the vet was so taken with the cat that she wanted to keep the cat. We were perfectly okay with that, since we knew the cat would be well cared for. We found homes for some of the cats, and by the grace of God I was able to have all of the cats spayed or neutered so there wouldn’t be an overpopulation of stray cats.
One of the recued cats was a long haired Siamese kitten I named Princess, not more than 6 weeks old. I fell in love with her instantly and the feeling was mutual. Another of the cats was the cat I named Paws. He was about three months old, very feral and he understandably didn’t trust any human. We wouldn’t have even gotten him into the house if we hadn’t caught him in a Have-A-Hart trap and he immediately hid when we opened the trap. However, he was very protective of Princess and it was clear that he loved her as much as I did.
Princess was one of the cats that was too malnourished to save, though, despite all my efforts. The last night of her life, I laid on the floor, curled up around her, comforting her in her final hours and feeling heart broken and helpless. I fell asleep shortly after she died, from sheer exhaustion. When I awoke, Paws was curled up beside me, next to Princess. From that time, we’ve been pals and I’ve known from about that time that he is an exceptionally intelligent cat. He listens to what I say and seems to understand.
He’s not the only one! Another cat, GW, unimaginatively named because he is gray and white, is one of the cats that was neutered when we rescued the cats at the apartment. At the time, GW was about two months old and one of a litter that one of our regular house cats had, before that momma was also spayed. I was never especially fond of GW, but we kept him and the rest of that litter, because all of our efforts were being spent in finding homes for the rescues.
Though I wasn’t fond of Gee (short for GW), he was a lover and would curl up next to me at night so he’d be on one side and Paws would be on the other. Gee and Paws got along fine, which was surprising but welcome. Then late last year, Gee got exceedingly sick. He was actually asking me for help and letting me know that he didn’t feel good, and there was no doubt about that. Though we didn’t have the money, we took him to the vet. Apparently, he had an infection and inflammation that is common to male cats that have been neutered. We got him nursed back to health, after shelling out $350 that we had to scrape up. One of the things the vet told us was to make sure that he got lots of fluids, to prevent it from occurring again. So I started mixing dry cat food, canned cat food and a little water all together and feeding him that every day. That increases the amount of fluids he takes in.
Paws wanted his share and since he was also a neutered male and I didn’t want him to get sick like Gee had, I began to feed both cats. Incidentally, because of the ordeal, GW adopted me, too, and since Paws didn’t complain, I became owned by two cats.
This brings me to one example of how these cats show that they understand me. Our window is left open so they can go out, climb down a six foot ladder and then go chasing grasshoppers, mice or what have you. Paws is especially hard to get into the house unless I go out on the back porch and repeatedly call for him. Otherwise, he usually doesn’t come in until about midnight and he leaves shortly after I get up.
Last night, GW was asking to be fed. Paws was out hunting and I always feed the two of them at the same time, so I don’t have to make up food twice. So I told GW, “Paws is outside hunting. Go find him and bring him inside and I’ll feed both of you.”
Gee looked at me, sat on the bed for a while, then got up and went outside. About 15 minutes later, GW got behind me, asking again for food. He does this by reaching out and tapping me on the shoulder with one paw until he gets my attention. I turned around to look at him and there he was, with Paws sitting right behind him. He’d done exactly what I’d told him. He went and got Paws and was waiting for me to fulfill my end of the bargain, which I did.
People often like to insist that cats are just “dumb animals”, but I swear that they are a lot more intelligent than they are given credit for. Our cats seem to love proving that they are anything but stupid.
Do you agree that cats are more intelligent than a lot of people think?