61: Our Secret Society

61: Our Secret Society

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Cat Did What?

Our Secret Society

There is, incidentally, no way of talking about cats that enables one to come off as a sane person.

~Dan Greenberg

Cat owners always recognize one another by a quick glance at our hands. Our hands are soft and caring hands that feed our cats, stroke their fur, and cradle them when they’re nervous — loving hands, but often covered in scratches.

Our non-cat people friends don’t seem to understand and ask, “Why don’t you have your cat de-clawed?”

This may be a good option for other cat owners, but I simply can’t bring myself to put my kitty through a surgical procedure strictly for my benefit. Besides, what would I do with that brand new scratching post I bought last week?

Non-cat people just don’t understand us cat people. I know that the marks on my hands were earned through love, as my fuzzy friend and I played with the fraying gray toy mouse he so adores, or as we had a tug-of-war over a bit of string. The marks happen innocently enough, like when I turn my cat on his back and rub his tummy. At first he closes his eyes as I roll him from side to side, then he extends his neck and opens his mouth just enough to reveal the tip of his pink tongue. Then he grabs at my hand with all four paws simultaneously, claws extended. I’ve been trying to perfect my tummy rub technique so that I remove my hand before the grabbing part, but I haven’t quite mastered that maneuver yet.

My doctor doesn’t understand either. During a recent visit, he examined my hands curiously, and then questioned me about the origin of the marks.

“They’re from my cat,” I told him.

He looked at me with his eyes in an odd squint. “And how long have you had this cat?” he asked.

“Three years.”

“Uh-huh. I recommend a tetanus shot for you,” he said as he reached for the serum and syringe, “and some discipline for your cat.”

From the look on his face, I’m convinced I was about one claw mark away from my doctor also recommending an intervention. I sense he is a dog person.

Ah, but my friends the cat people, they understand. I came across another cat-loving comrade as I waited on line at the supermarket the other day. This time, I didn’t even need to glance at her hands to know she was a cat person. The two bottles of hydrogen peroxide that sat atop the mountain of tuna cans in her shopping cart were the only clues I needed.

“How many?” I asked.

“Four.”

“Four cats!” I exclaimed. “You’re my hero.”

She looked down at the supersized bag of kitty treats I had placed atop the belt. She nodded her head in its direction. “You too, huh?”

“Yup, me too.” Then in the special handshake of our secret society, we both raised our scabbed hands and did a triumphant high-five.

~Monica A. Andermann

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