While 7000 years ago, cats were worshipped and believed to be signs of fertility and protection, in the medieval times they were labelled as creatures of doom, bad luck, evilness and associated with black magic. These contrasting phases of history still loom over us today and deeply influence our conceptions of cats as suitable pets. A quick survey within the animal science department revealed 4 out of 14 people loved cats, while the rest clearly demonstrated slight to extreme resentments and termed themselves as “dog-persons.” Some stated that cats are selfish and uncaring.
Is their statement a reliable fact or a mere misconception?
While foraging through books on sales in a grocery store, I was drawn by a captivating one entitled as “Cat Miracles: Inspiring true tales of remarkable feline” by Brad Steiger and Sherry Hansen Steiger. Without second thoughts, I bought the book and within three hours, I ended up reading a series of condensed stories on the bravery, courage and determination exhibited by these extraordinary felines.
The most striking stories involved several cats left accidently behind by their owners who walked more than 850 miles and reached their homes after two years –malnourished, exhausted and sometimes hurt. How did they know the directions? This remains an unsolved mystery. I was amazed by their courage at attacking thieves, dogs and even bears – much larger and more powerful creatures – to defend their beloved owners at the costs of their own lives. The faithfulness of cats was also highlighted when several of them tried to save their owners from dangerous fires and other deathly situations. My emotions went on rollercoaster rides while so many true stories unfolded on how cats were able to heal children, guard their owners and spread love and happiness.
Inspired by all these stories, I did a thorough search on cat miracles and the name of Oscar, a cat adopted by a Nursing Center in Rhodes Island, was constantly mentioned. It is not surprising seeing Oscar’s name in various scientific journals worldwide as Oscar has the ability to predict death of patients. Scientists have speculate that he can smell chemicals released when someone is about to die. As described by Dr. David M. Dosa in an article entitled “A Day in the Life of Oscar the Cat” published in the New England Journal of Medicine, Oscar would nestle in the bed of patients in their terminal phase which is a signal for nurses to call the families and informed them that their loved ones are about to depart from earth. What could more priceless than saying goodbye to loved ones? Thanks to Oscar, families can bid a final farewell.
My own cat Crouniouniou displayed series of caring gestures towards my family. He sat for hours licking my mother’s injured hand even though her wounds were protected by layers of bandage and kept purring as if asking whether she was alright. When my dad was sick, he would curl up against him instead of engaging himself in his favourite activities – chasing birds and insects in the yard. Needless to state all the times he made me laugh – especially when he leapt in my file box and sat there for hours.
However, there is no denying that sometimes our feline friends ignore us and prefer spending time alone – Do we not all need our space sometimes? However, I am certain the moment we need them, they will bounce to our rescue. For long, I’ve been convinced that cats are as good companions as dogs – I hope I’ve managed to convince you too.
Neerusha Gokool Baurhoo