Some cats make us laugh. Some cats make us cry. All cats make us melt.
But it takes an especially gifted cat, with a black-belt in “cat,” to make a human stupid.
I don’t just mean “make a human act stupidly.” That’s standard-issue cat work. In fact, if a cat were to be unable to make us talk in whiny-little-girl voices and roll on our backs like ninnies, she would be in danger of losing her cat badge. (Such a thing has never, ever happened.)
No, some cats literally have the literal ability to make us literally stupid.
Today’s case study: Cecille.
It would be enough if Cecille was merely 5 pounds, powder-puff-white and blessed with the sweetest face ever crafted. That, combined with her catness, would be plenty to commandeer my heart.
But, nooooo. Cecille had to go for the brass ring. Cecille is also deaf, visually-impaired, graced with two eyes of different colors, and…crazy.
Really really b-a-n-a-n-a-s crazy.
They warned me about Cecille while she was in quarantine. “Watch out for the little white one,” they said. “She’s deaf but she’s a ninja,” they said. “She will eat your face off like Hannibal Lecter,” they said. They said it all.
But when my eyes landed on itty-bitty-powder-puffy Cecille in her private apartment (Adoption Room 1), all I heard was…well, just the whooshing of air in one ear and out the other. My brain was obsolete.
I stared at Cecille. Cecille stared back. I blinked (an act which, claim wiser people than me, means something between “hello” and “I love you” in catspeak). Cecille blinked back. Slowly. We repeated this daily.
Oh, but I’m leaving out one part of the daily blink party. The Angela-being-literally-stupid part. Every day, as I poked my head into Cecille’s kingdom, I’d blink and gaze…and coo, “I love you Ceciiiiiiiiille. I loooooooooove you Cecille.” On one particularly brain-absent day, I sang her a criminally bad rendition of “Cecilia.” (Now that Cecille has a roommate, I may even start singing her “Me and Sylvia Down By the Schoolyard.” But that would be against the law.)
Yes. I verbally tell a deaf cat, on a daily basis, how much I love her.
But here’s the thing (and almost certainly evidence of my Cecille-induced case of “stupid”): it’s working.
Maybe she simply pities the fool, Mr. T style. (In a face-off between the two, my money would be on Cecille. In one corner, weighing 5 pounds…)
Maybe it’s really all about the blinking.
But maybe she loves me too.
One day, after cooing and singing and blinking and all manner of idiocy – with me in the doorway and Cecille on her cat-tree throne across the room, per usual – something miraculous happened. Seized by a force outside herself, Cecille leaped down off the tree, bounded across the room and ran towards me. Before I could think that she might be going in for the actual kill, ready to consume me now that she’d thoroughly tenderized my heart (and, um, brain), I did something amazingly stupid: I reached my hand down. Cecille ran to me, head-bonked my hand and rubbed her teeny weeny powder-puffy face all over it. I stroked her back and we blinked at each other.
Then, all at once, the look came over her face. Good glory, for the love of Leroy Brown, what have I done? In a flash she was back on her tree, a safe distance from me, trying to process what she had just allowed to happen.
She hasn’t allowed that much obvious affection to happen since. But now I know what she knows: Cecille is a love bug.
This is still something of a secret – but not for lack of my telling this story. The following is the reaction from one of my best friends, to whom Cecille has attempted to do “grievous bodily harm:”
“Far be it from me to question your honesty and integrity…but, alas, I have to insist that these photos have been digitally enhanced and your story about this cat is a total figment of your imagination. What was in your tea this morning?! Perhaps Jonathan should have the water tested at Tabby’s Place to see if there are any foreign objects that are affecting your mental health? Possibly sun stroke since we actually have the sun out today? Fumes from Tashi‘s litterbox, perhaps, affecting your mental capacities? Do you honestly expect me to believe that the same little white cat that tried to beat me senseless with a baseball bat actually took a liking to you? (okay, I’m exaggerating…I’ve probably watched “Goodfellas” too many times!) Well, give her a kiss on the head for me — HEE HEE — no, on the other hand, I like your face intact!!!”
This is all very much to Cecille’s liking. Get too close and she’ll remind you that her so-called softer side is none of your/my/any mere mortal’s business. In fact, she’s got her own veritable theme song. Back in the proverbial day, Salt and Pepa had a song called “None of Your Business.” (I’m not going to link to it here because, as memory serves me, it was a bit, ah, saucy. And this blog is rated “A” for awesome absurd all audiences.) It went something like, “If I, wanna date a guy, who wants to bake a pie, NONE O’ YO BUSINESS. If he, wants to go to Spain, and eat all the chow mein, NONE O’ YO BUSINESS.” You get the idea.
I get it. Cecille has a reputation to protect. If people started thinking she was a powder puff, they might think they could mess with her. And heaven knows this five-pound firecracker has been messed with enough for several lifetimes. Abandoned in New York City with a raft of other neglected cats, then bounced to Tabby’s Place, all the while experiencing the world as both scary and silent (can you imagine?), Cecille has good reason to be a little terrorist.
But Salt and Pepa won’t be singing about Tabby’s Place any time soon. Because, Casa Tabby, everything is everyone’s business. And if Cecille can macerate my brain just by blinking, I’ve gotta believe the other human beans and I have a shot at mincing her defenses.
Remember, if Cecille asks, you don’t really know this. But it’s true: Cecille is a LOVE with a capital L.
I love you, Cecille.