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  • Writer's pictureCaitlin Lagnese

A Catterrific Life

(Luke 2020)

This blog post is not a serious one. This post is for all my cat people! We are taking a break from the heavy and diving into my newfound love of cats! This is meant to be fun and light-hearted! I am also going to be sprinkling in some positive effects these furry friends have on our mental health! So for those of you who do not me well, I have always thought of myself as a dog person. I grew up with dogs and could not fathom a dog-free house. Cats were NEVER on my radar. The only cats I knew growing up were timid and wanted absolutely nothing to do with humans. No thank you! I liked my pets to be needy!

Enter Mike (my hubby). He grew up with a cat. Once we moved in together and got married it was time to get a pet. I thought for sure we would be taking home a puppy dog from the Summit County Humane Society but instead, we took home a 6-month-old kitty named Luke. Suddenly cats were growing on me.

Luke was a sweet cat. He had such a unique personality and was by far the friendliest cat I had ever met. He was such a ham and took to Mike immediately. He loved me and the kids but Mike was definitely his person! Unfortunately, he developed cancer in spring of 2020 (yeah, not a good year AT ALL) and passed away at age 8. I honestly thought we would never get another cat. As much as I missed having a furry friend around, I figured there would never be another cat like Luke.


Side note: Recently I saw the sweetest cartoon of a dog entering heaven. The first thing the dog did at the pearly gates was asked God to send his family a new dog. He talked with God about his amazing human family and helped God pick out a new dog for his family. It was very sweet and of course made me shed a tear because this is exactly how I felt when I first laid eyes on Belle. Now one could argue that a cat would never bother to have a full blown conversation with God but Luke totally would, of course with a chicken wing hanging out of his mouth! He was a hefty boy!


It was a random weekend when Mike suggested taking a ride to the Parma Animal Shelter to check out cats. It was so out of left field. Covid was pretty bad at this point and we were all still mourning the sudden loss of Luke. Mike had recently seen something about the Parma Animal Shelter getting new kittens. Let me preface this by saying I totally think middle-aged and senior cats should be adopted more. I’ve always felt guilty about adopting a kitten though they of course need homes too. I’d love to adopt an older cat in the future. Anyway, once we pulled in Mike went in first (they only allowed one person at a time). After a few minutes, he came out and told me which cat he liked. Next, I went in and saw a few kittens and cats that I liked. When I came out I told Mike to just go with his gut. That man knows how to pick a cat! A few minutes later he came out with a 6-month-old kitten named Siren who had just arrived two days prior from Georgia. She was displaced after a hurricane and fortunately for us all of the animal shelters there were swamped so she was sent to Northeast Ohio. Talk about timing.

Siren was a very timid kitty who hid under our couch for a good solid month. Keep in mind she came to us with an upper respiratory infection so giving her meds was real fun. And to top that off, on day 2 of having her my husband had to go in for emergency surgery due to appendicitis. It was a crazy first month with her! She was absolutely terrified of her own shadow although it didn’t take too long to realize why her name was Siren. Though she was very shy and scared, she had no problem in the meowing department. We always knew where she was because of her cute little meow. Once she got more comfortable with us she began meowing even more. We decided to change her name from Siren to Belle because once that kitty broke out of her shell, she became a sassy southern bell!

During the first year of Belle's life I was a stay-at-home-mom so I was around Belle a lot. Whenever my son went down for a nap I'd play with her. I noticed she was really taking to me. She’d follow me around the house, talk to me, want to come outside to watch my son play, and constantly want to snuggle. At first, my husband tried not to get super attached to her. He was missing Luke and felt some guilt over loving another feline. I kept telling him it was okay to like her. She was not a replacement for Luke. She’s a totally different cat and maybe, just maybe Luke sent Belle our way. Luke didn’t want us to be sad. Luke wanted us to open our hearts and home to another cat, just like we did for him. After a good year or so, Belle tugged on Mike’s heartstrings and we have never looked back. But no worries, she's still MY cat!

So I know there are way more dog people out there than cat people and I totally get it. Honestly, I still love dogs. If my hubby and daughter weren't allergic we would have a beagle right now! All I'm saying is cats often get a bad rep and I want to end this fun little post by talking about why I love my cat and what sets her apart from the many dogs I have had in my life!

Adorable fluff balls- I mean they are adorable! They are big warm fluff balls with the cutest button nose and pointy ears. A lot of times when they sleep they tuck in their arms and legs and look like a cute little cat loaf. And have you seen a cat make biscuits? We will touch more on that in just a minute!

Purr- I can’t think of anything I love more about a cat. Belle's sweet purr is like music to my ears. There are many reasons why cats purr but typically they purr when they are happy. There is nothing quite like having your cat climb up on your lap and ask for pets, which they do by nudging your hands with their head. And usually once the petting starts your feline will begin to purr. It’s so sweet and a great way to connect with your cat. Independent- Like right out of a Destiny’s Child’s song! ALL THE KITTIES WHO INDEPENDENT, THROW YOUR PAWS RIGHT AT ME! No, but really, cats are way more independent than dogs. No need to go for a cold walk in the winter. No need to ever let your cat out to go potty AND no cleaning up mass amounts of poop in the yard. I know some people are grossed out by the idea of litter boxes but let me assure you, if done correctly there is no smell and no need to even clean it every day. We have a fairly easy litter box routine so feel free to ask if you want more info on that! While I do not recommend doing it super often, you can totally leave your feline friends for a couple of days without hesitation. Sure beats a dog sitter or boarding costs. Our cat is not free-fed but since she doesn’t need to be let out to go potty and doesn’t mind a few days in solitude, we can leave out timed feeding bowls. Lastly, cats are not all over you 24/7. Now our cat is pretty loving and will come to us about 80% of the time when called but it's not like she's all over us all the time. She's perfectly happy sun bathing in the window or taking a cat nap on her favorite chair. Most cats also don’t beg for anything other than food too!

Grooming- Cats are WAY easier in this department. Belle is going on 3 years old and we have never once bathed her. She has zero smell to her and because she grooms well, our house isn’t covered in a layer of fur. The enzyme in a cat’s saliva naturally cleans them. It sounds gross but their mouths are actually cleaner than our mouths. Most cats are very clean and enjoy their space being clean. That’s my kind of animal! Loving- Now I of course can’t speak on every cat, but I do feel cats often get misunderstood in this department! Dogs are very outwardly loving. Cats are very loving too, just in their own unique ways. Here are some interesting facts about kitty love!! Slow blink- Did you know that cats say I love you by blinking slowly at you? Once you notice you will see your furry little friend telling you they love you all the time!

Meowing- Cats typically only meow at humans. When kittens are first born they will meow at their mother for milk and affection. Once they are grown though they will typically primarily meow only at their humans. I recently watched a really interesting documentary on meowing. You can tell by their pitch if they are saying “mom I’m hungry” or “I love you mom.” It’s fascinating!

Just like dogs, they pick up on feelings too- Yep, you read that correctly. I can’t tell you how many times Belle has come sat on my lap after a rough day or has come running to me after a good cry! It’s been said that a cat's purr can lower BP and even stop a panic attack. I call Belle my therapy kitty all the time!

Cats mark you- Cats have scent glands in many parts of their body such as their paw pads, tail, forehead, cheeks, and chin. They use these scent glands to mark up their environment. They mark their litter boxes, their beds and perches, couches, and their favorite humans. They are releasing pheromones that are not detectable to humans or dogs, only to other cats. It’s a way of feeling safe. Belle will make biscuits on me all the time. Making biscuits is when a cat kneads their paws like they are kneading dough. It’s a way to let any felines I may come into contact with that I am her human! There is no hidden agenda- You can’t beg a cat to like you. They are not nearly as food driven as dogs and they don’t have a people-pleasing bone in their bodies. Cats don’t care if you leave for a few hours. They are not hard-wired to love you. And while this may sound negative, it’s quite the opposite! If a cat loves you, it REALLY loves you. They don’t love you because they love everyone or because they are looking for constant food and attention. If a cat comes to cuddle with you it’s only because they really want to be with you. Cats live life on their terms which just makes it sweeter if you have a really affectionate cat. You honestly can’t train a cat to love you. At least I haven’t seen it yet!

Belle is like my third child, my fur baby and not one day goes by where I don’t thank God (and Luke) for her. Sure she’s still shy around strangers but she truly loves this family and has brought us so much joy. I love dogs just as much as the next person. I mean a dog is man’s best friend but today I wanted to shed light on another great family pet, the kitty cat!

*All the cat facts I have mentioned in this post can be found on Jaxson Galaxy’s YouTube channel!

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