you read In Front of God and Everybody: Confessions of April
Grace, you were introduced to Daisy, the Great Pyrenees.
She’s a sweet dog that any family would welcome.
I did not paint such a warm,
fuzzy portrait of cats. Grandma’s cat,
Queenie, is what I’d call a “psycho feline.” She rules the house, gets
her way, is utterly spoiled and doted on by Grandma. As April Grace
tells us, that cat “will bite the hand that feeds her, and any other
hand, for that matter.”
You might think I’m less than a
cat lover, but you’d be wrong. I adore cats.
a farm girl, I always had a cat or two. I recall when I heard the most
pitiful mewing. I searched and found a tiny kitten hidden in tall grass
near the barn. He was nothing but a ball of orange fluff, with weensy
little ears and tail, and blue, blue eyes. He was my beloved companion
for years. He loved to put a paw on either side of my head and bury his
nose in my ear. He’d purr and purr and purr while he hugged me in this
way. Sometimes I’d drape him over my shoulder and wear him like a fur
cape. He’d let me dress him up in doll clothes, and he loved to be
carried upside down. I don’t know many cats that would put up with
A few years later, when I was
teenager, a fellow who had more cats
than good sense, gave me a kitten. I told him I wanted a tomcat. He
picked one up and said, “Here you go. This is a good one.”
Boy, was that kitten adorable!
Thick, fuzzy gray fur and green eyes.
I named him Sir Isaac Newton. The next spring, and every spring
following for several years, Sir Isaac gave birth to a litter of
I’ve owned a couple of psycho
cats, which is where I got some of my
ideas for the fictional Queenie. Smokey had thick, long gray fur the
color of smoke. She loved bananas and peas and would drink water only
from a glass. She liked to hide behind doors and jump out at
unsuspecting passers-by. Monkey is with us now. She is orange and white
and very fluffy. She chases the dogs and wants to drink from water
dripping in the bathroom sink. That silly cat likes to hide while we go
crazy looking for her, fearing she’s gotten out of the house. Then,
after we spend hours calling and searching and worrying, she casually
strolls out of whatever dark, dusty corner she’s been lounging in. She
blinks at us for a moment, as if thinking, “You people really need to
chill out.” Then she yawns and begins to groom herself, or goes to get
herself a little snack.
the way, Monkey does not belong to us. My
younger daughter, Joy, discovered her as a small kitten, frightened and
caught in a tree (hence the name Monkey), but after
a year or
so, Joy moved into an apartment that did not allow pets. She asked me,
“Mom, will you take her? Please? It will only be for a few weeks.” That
was more than eight years ago. I’m still waiting for Monkey to go back
home to Joy. I’m beginning to think it will never happen.
Recently, my husband and I
happened upon a stray kitten in the
parking lot of a busy convenience store next to a very busy street. I
picked him up, a thin, orange-and-white cuddle bug. He buried his face
against my chest, his purr louder than any I’d ever heard. We brought
him home, fed him, named him (Barney), introduced him to the other
animals, and now he’s another member of our family.
I’ve had many more cats in my
life. Rocky, Simone, Bryant, Dan D.
Lyon, just to name a few. None of them have been similar in any way
other than having four legs and fur. Sometimes I wonder what was on
God’s mind when He created cats. I guess maybe He wanted us to have
something warm and cuddly, aloof and independent, and quietly
comforting while making us smile.