The late and very lamented Bear-Bear was a people-cat, so much so that he largely ignored other animals, to concentrate solely on humans. What a fellow he was.
My friend Renn is also a people-cat. He likes other cats, as well. He is Tungsten’s pal, always taking the opportunity to sniff her nose - or her other end - and keeps trying to get close to my foster-beast, Cammie, who treats his efforts like a tap that runs with both hot and cold water. But above all, Renn loves his humans.
Possessed of a cool and logical mind, my big boy is a scientist, specialising in the study of water. But his heart is susceptible not to reason, but to the lure of human company. He loves lying with me on the bed. He is always the first of my roommates to join me there at night. If I wake in the middle of the night, I will inevitably hear a repetitive ‘rrrrrr rrrrrr rrrrrr’, and feel heavy footfalls making their way up toward me. To Renn, even the middle of the night is an opportunity for some interspecies comradeship.
If I go for a nap during the day, I need only lie on the bed and I will hear his sturdy tread trotting to the bedroom. How he knows the difference between me sitting on the bed and lying on it is a mystery. But he is a learnèd cat.
When I sit on the couch, perhaps after dinner, relaxing with a book and a cup of tea, Renn will eventually come to join me. He will lie against me, and likes to feel the reassuring touch of my hand on his flank or, better yet, on his chest.
Periodically, he will find me while I am writing or reading, and come up to me, his back arched and his big floofy tail wagging like a hound’s. I can’t resist him then and we spend a few minutes in mutual admiration. He is not a lap-cat, really, and has only rarely jumped up there. But if I pull him up to rest there, he will purr contentedly for a long time.
What draws these animals to their humans? Why do they choose to like people, or some people in particular? Renn doesn’t like raised voices. There have been times when, angered by a dish that decided to spill its contents (it’s no use blaming me; I didn’t do a thing) or a cat-toy that leaped into my path, I will curse with some vehemence. Renn hurries away at such moments, crouching low, heading for the basement as a refuge. He has known fury; perhaps he has been its target. But this has not soured him on humans, and when I assure him he is not to blame, he slowly resurfaces, and knows all is well.
It’s cats such as Renn who have made pets of their species, chums for humans who expect nothing from them but companionship. I have mentioned before that he reminds me of a dog. He is my faithful dog, the sort who shows us that fidelity and friendship are not exclusive to canines.