“There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats.” – Albert Schweitzer

My cat, Fiona Fred, is the kind of friend that everyone should have.  He came into my life nearly two years ago now.  His story came to my attention when he was being kicked out of the Macon Animal Shelter. I was never told what his crime might have been, nor did I ask.  He’s a rescued cat, and they always have their own funny ways about them, their own reasons for doing the things that they do.  So, I sent a Facebook message to a stranger, asking about the fate of the shelter cat.  A week later, he was in my small apartment doing that new cat thing where they hide under all the furniture until they decide they have no choice but to come out and meet the new human who will feed them.

Fiona has always been friendly to me and my guests.  He loves to be held, until he’s ready to get down.  He loves to be stroked, until he’s had enough.  He sleeps on the empty pillow in my bed- with his tail in my face.  My sheets have to be swept of cat hair every morning- and the rest of the apartment has to have a good shake down at least once per week.  I get the HUGE lint rollers for my clothes!  Oh, that cat hair! Not to mention the little crumbs of litter that he can’t quite shake out of that long fur, that end up strewn across the floors.

But in the past several months, it would seem that I have passed some test that I didn’t know was going on.  Suddenly one morning, he began waking me up in the morning with the sweet little head boops that kitties do to show affection.  Well, this would go on until I got up to feed him, so of course, my initial thought was, the big guy is just sweet-talking me into an earlier feeding time.

Then a couple of weeks ago, he started a new routine.  He will let me get settled in the bed before he jumps up into his spot.  Then he will make his way up to my pillow, lower his head to mine, and give me one or two head boops, then lay down and go to sleep for the night. When he falls asleep on the sofa and wakes up in the late hours to come to the “big bed” he will still make his way to my pillow, and make sure I get that last little bit of sugar.

For me, this is the sweetest of gestures- that this beautiful, green-eyed, ginger kitty would discover a way to make sure my day begins and ends with feeling loved.

Even now, as I watch the cat hair rolling around my wood floors like tumbleweeds in a ghost town, and as I realize I still have to scoop the cat box before bed- none of these “inconveniences” of pet ownership can take the place of the companionship that comes from having a precious animal in your life.

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