I love everything about him, his face, his smell, his attitude, his voice. He fascinates me. I’m sure that we have had many lives together. My heart leaps for joy when I see him after even a short separation. I’m referring to my 4-year-old tabby cat Garfield, of course.
He’s a big part of my personal Happiness Index i.e. things that don’t have price tags but have real value. I read about the Index this week, how England’s Prime Minister David Cameron, as part of his Big Society project, “is trying to measure the happiness of a society, rather than its growth and productivity alone” with a quarterly household survey.
Philosophical critics say that our problem is that we would even try to measure or control happiness, that advancing technology is death to the spirit. Political critics say that government is trying to weasel out of its collective responsibility by focusing on individual responsibility. I say there’s a lot of tension in the world these days. I wish everyone had a cat.
The Bearded One regularly reports moments of happiness when he is outside savoring his freedom from a job. Our oldest Twenty-Something daughter had many truly happy moments this week when she landed a job. I contributed to the Gross Farmlet Happiness this week when my childhood pen pal from Scotland contacted me through Facebook. It’s been over 40 years. She wrote, “Oh Christi I am so chuffed that I got it right, you still look a bit like the girl in the picture.”
How chuffed are you?
We got Garfield on Craigslist 2-1/2 years ago from a soldier stationed at Fort Lewis. He and his wife were expecting a baby and Garfield plus their dog was too much. So Garfield, who they got at a shelter, was used to dogs, which was good because at that time we had two golden retrievers. Jake has died since then.
Garfield is an indoor/outdoor cat. His litter box is on the enclosed front porch. In this forest, cats go missing, but Garfield is a great tree climber and he stays close to home. Still, I could lose him. I know this. He disappeared for a whole week once, right after we got him. When he returned, I was ecstatic: he was not only reborn, but I was also free of the burden of fearing his ultimate death. I’d already been through it. But please don’t test me again. The Bearded One says cats are fungible. The next one will be just as great.
Living with animals is teaching me about death. How to die, what to treat, what not to treat. They give steady reminders as their lives are so comparatively short. Jake died 1-1/2 years ago. He was 9. Honey Girl, a beloved Akita on our road, died this past weekend from kidney failure.
Garfield also heals me, lying on whatever organ is acting up at the time. My younger Twenty-Something daughter is in nursing school, and she and her two nursing student roommates have a cat who nurtures whichever one of them needs her most.
I wonder how it will be with the goats and chickens, if that connection will be there with some of them. Herd animals are fascinating in their own ways. The leader of the goat herd is the oldest female mother, not a male. I want to get Pygora goats, which are a mix between Pygmy and Angora goats.
This next week I’ll buy some broccoli, cabbage, and onion starts at the nursery. It’s still freezing here at night. I don’t have a hoop house yet, and the plants that I started from seed indoors last year were super leggy. It’s still very cold and wet here. Nothing dries. There’s moss on the moss.
But that’s okay. Garfield plays indoors, too, with his Mouse-on-a-String.
And every week Garfield helps me with this blog.
He was particularly chuffed with this week’s.
Oh, and the Twenty-Something’s cat’s head is the uppermost middle part.