Some cats like to loiter outside their homes and greet everyone who walks past, in the manner of an old man sitting on his front porch saying howdy to the neighbours and sharing out the iced tea. Others are more standoffish, saving the tummy tickles for close loved ones only. I once had a cat who could be described as ?shy?; she ran away from visitors, liked to hang out on her terms only and would no more have made friends with passersby on the street than she would have donned high heels and gone to nightclubs looking for strange men to bring home.
One day my dad commented that she ?never? sat on his lap. Believe it or not, from that day forward, she stuck to him like glue, and he began to rue the day he?d ever complained about her lack of affection. (If he tried to make his lap unavailable by standing up, she would jump onto his shoulders instead. Nobody puts Kitty in the corner.)
Although cynics might question whether animals can really understand English, the same cat could also identify objects by nodding towards them and once caused much hilarity when I facetiously asked her ?Where?s the smoked salmon?? and she responded by running excitedly to her (sadly empty) food dish. Whether by spooky coincidence or superb language skills,she apparently understood that her anti-social ways had hurt my dad?s feelings, and she acted on it.
Cats will sometimes gather around a sick person (hopefully as a comfort, rather than in some kind of ?Angel of Death? capacity) and can be a very soothing presence to anyone who?s stressed or upset. The moral? We Princesses have to look out for ways to support the people around us and make life lovelier for them. And purring always helps.