Posted by: drjamm | February 22, 2010

Love the one you’re with

And if you can’t be with the one you love
Love the one you’re with

— Stills

I seem to do a lot of Soul Searching while playing — or trying to play  — with our cat. I have to think about something — anything — because, otherwise, I would have nothing to distract me from the plain evidence of how  un-interesting I am to our pet. MischiefMissy for short, came to us from a foster family who rescued her from a starving feral life in an abandoned lot of brambles when she was just a kitten. Missy has an unremarkable Heinz-57 look about her until she steps into the sunlight, then her fur shimmers like an exotic leopard. She has big, powerful, kangaroo-like hind legs that allow her to leap a tall building in a single bound and snatch any bird that dares fly a mere 5 feet over her head. Missy is a dare-devil extraordinaire and makes it her personal mission not to limit herself  to the regulation 9-lives usually allotted to cats. The following memoir could be a typical post in my cat’s daily meow-blog:

Look at me I am running on the railing!
Wild river rapids 200 feet below are nothing compared to my daring!
Oops, I slip and hang from one paw.
I claw myself back up.
You did not see that;
I was just grooming my fur,
lick, lick, lick…

Our cat is all about personality and adventure. She specializes in predating tiny, innocent creatures. And, unfortunately for me, Missy has a strict rule for herself: “never show affection.” Us humans could be shriveling up begging our kitty for a cuddle, but she would remain distant. Missy saves her need for cuddles for night-time when it is dark and we cannot see that she is curled up on our feet.

I have tried to domesticize her wild side. For example, I get down on my hands and knees, and put my nose against hers – “boring.” I scratch her right cheek  — she offers her left, then silently announces, “you are dismissed.” I poke my pencil under the coffee table and  play try-to-catch the-wiggling-pencil game – “YAWN.” While I love Missy’s quirky ways I, also, often physically ache for more cuddles from her. If only she were different…

Encountering our cat’s indifference to me plunges me into the VOID and makes me take stock of my life: I stare at the coffee table, at my unmoved pen stranded on blank piece of paper, clear evidence that I still have not done my writing practice. I think about the stack of student papers in the next room needing grading; the laundry up stairs I should have shuffled from washer to dryer; and the dinner that needs planning and cooking. Without a schmoozing, purring creature to distract me, my inner To Do list expands.

To stop myself from my mental slippery slide into guilt, I get up to make a cup of tea. My undone slipper lace slithers across the floor and … meow! …just like that, it’s GAME ON. Missy springs into action, chases my lace as I walk to the kitchen, and kills her quarry; the wayward lace is gutted and lies lifeless on the floor. My feline friend and I play together for several minutes and my significance in Life is restored. My pitiful Soul angst is soothed. I am — for this moment — purr-fectly matched with my furry friend. After the playing, I sit down with my hot cup of tea, pick up my pen and begin to write.

“So what is my take home message?” you ask, my dear blogging friend. Maybe it is: be careful who you choose to show you your significance in the world; or maybe it is: there are secret benefits to keeping your laces undone; but I think I should just let Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young give us the moral to this story:

Well, there’s a rose in a fisted glove
And the eagle flies with the dove
And if you can’t be with the one you love
Love the one you’re with

Stills, 1970

So my friend, if you don’t have the cuddly cat you want, then may you find a way to love the cat your with. Purrr and meow.

*******       bright heart singing                          credits and links             *******

Photo credits: Photos by jamm and luna at

Song lyrics:Love the One You Are With,” by Stills, 1970.

bright heart singing, copyright 2010 – jamm. Creative commons attribution, non-commercial sharing only (translation: feel free to quote me in context or use this entry but please always credit me for my work, thanks.)


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