Guest post by Pat Wolesky

Memorial Day 2001, 11 years ago, I adopted a cat from a local humane society who has transformed our little family with her larger than life personality. To celebrate her adoptiversary, I wanted share some of the things Coco Bear has shown me.

  1. Each day is a wondrous gift, with the potential to be amazing: When the alarm goes off in the morning and my eyes aren’t even open, Coco leaps out of bed and starts rolling around on the floor kicking up her legs, just delighted to have a new day dawning. She makes me smile and share her optimism about a new day to live.
  2. Throw yourself 100% into everything you do: Nothing is done halfway with Coco Bear. Playing, eating, kneading, showing love, sleeping – all done with nothing held back, and no apologies.
  3. If you mess up, charm can help you make amends: Particularly as a young cat Coco was always doing something to make me tear my hair. She dumped water glasses on my head, broke stuff (before I discovered museum putty), banged cupboards to get my attention (before I discovered magnetized closures), rattled mini-blinds to get me up in the morning, and so many other things. I would be so exasperated, and then I’d look at that caffeinated looking face and dancing eyes, and that look on her face so close to a grin that I had to laugh instead.
  4. A sense of humor can get you through anything: Refer to the previous point. I had to learn to pick my battles with Coco, and just laugh and enjoy the rest. There is a quality called “tortitude” that many tortoiseshell cats have, and it can be great fun if you have a sense of humor.
  5. Take time to play: Coco still loves to play at almost 14 years of age. She’s very good at getting me to take a few moments to enter into play with her. She looks like a kitten, with big dancing eyes in that round face of hers.
  6. Make time for those we love: Coco and I have a special morning ritual called “tummy time” where I lie on the bed and she kneads on my abdomen and purrs up a storm. When she’s done she curls up on the bed for a nap, after licking my chin and eyebrows. Some days I’m running late and don’t want to take the time, but it’s worth the time to see the joy it brings her – and me.
  7. Problems are temporary – love can heal: Some nights I’m dragging in the door with the weight of the world on my shoulders, feeling like life is an 18 wheeler that just ran me down. I walk in the door and see Coco rolling on the floor so delighted to see me, and then inexplicably she goes and licks the silk flowers on the coffee table. My cares fall away.
  8. You’re as young as you feel: If Coco was human she would be around 70 years old, but she still has the attitude of a young cat. We let age limit us, but she is just herself.

Pat Wolesky is a renaissance woman. Professionally, she works in web content management, knowledge management and communications. She also paints watercolors, composes and performs music, and enjoys nature photography. She is a moderator of the Cats forum and the devoted slave to two cats, Coco and Calypso. To learn more about Pat and her multiple personas, please visit Midlife Musings and Artistic Endeavors.

Photo of Coco by Pat Wolesky, used with permission

12 Comments on Sunday Purrs: life lessons from a tortoiseshell cat

  1. Well said….and I totally agree with all of it (and try to constantly remind myself that it’s the little things in life…that get us through it ; ).

    Thanks so much for sharing Pat and Ingrid.

  2. My little tortie was a rescue – she growled loud and clear when I went to pick her up the first time. Now she chirps- its a little sound in her throat she makes when we talk and she does talk! She nudges my face every morning at the crack of dawn, we get nose to nose, and she starts talking, the nice thing about our conversation is that she agrees with everything I say! Her name is Sheba and she likes her belly rubbed.

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