I have always had at least one cat (if not many) as a part of my household and would be lost without my furry friends.  Currently I have 10 cats with most of them coming to me because they had either been abandoned by their owners or their owners passed away and they had nowhere else to go.

The cat I am going to tell you about today is Tom, my oldest cat that will be 15 years old on July 23, 2012 and has been with me since the day he was born.  He is an orange tabby cat born to a beautiful calico cat we called Sassy.  Unfortunately Sassy disappeared soon after her kittens were weaned.

Tom developed a fascination with following me around in my flower garden, playing hide and seek with me by hiding his face behind plant leaves and acting as if I couldn’t see the rest of him.  Over the summer he had initiated several active games with me including chasing me around the yard and then wanting me to chase him.  Tom in essence had chosen me as his pet human.

One day while still a kitten he ran up a tree after a neighbor’s dog started barking, and in my attempt to get him down I was very surprised at the amount of trust he openly showed me.  He had gone up the tree higher than he had ever been before, and even standing on the top of the biggest ladder I had I was unable to get hold of anything more than his belly fur.

Amazingly, as I talked calmly and softly to him he actually relaxed enough to allow me to quickly grab him by the fur and get him secured within my hand, all without me getting a single scratch.  I was surprised that he didn’t cling to the tree bark either as most cats would have.

Tom was and still is a friendly and playful cat and is loved by my children, then still adolescents.  As they started getting older we started having normal teenage issues and I made an interesting discovery during a heated discussion with my middle daughter, then about 11 years old.
She had gotten upset with me for something and had started arguing with me and trying to change my mind on whatever the issue was at the time.  The more I said no the more she got upset and the louder she got.

Despite my efforts to calm her down, she just got louder and I ended up so frustrated that before I realized it I was yelling back at her.  Finally she stopped in mid-sentence and excitedly was pointing and saying, “Mom, look at Tom!  Look at what Tom’s doing!”

I looked over at Tom who was staring at me as he came running over and jumped on my lap.  He started purring louder than I’d ever heard him while rubbing his cheek across my mouth.  He was trying to calm me!   He would keep eye contact with me while purring and gently head-butting me as if he were trying everything to calm me down.

I’d never had a cat react to my emotions in that way, or in any way that I’d ever noticed.  Soon it became very apparent within my household that Tom was overly aware of my emotions and did not like it when I got upset.

That was about 13 years ago and Tom still goes out of his way to calm me if I get upset.  I’ve often wondered what it is he is sensing from me to make him react this way.  I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s either my blood pressure going up or it’s the level of adrenaline I’m experiencing that he seems so acutely aware of.

I believe wholeheartedly that cats have the capacity to love their humans just as much as their humans love them and Tom has proven this to me over and over again.  Because I believe my emotions may not be so very healthy for him I now exercise more control over my reactions so as to not upset him.

In many ways Tom has helped me to be a better person and I love him with all my heart for it.  If you have cats and ever notice them acting differently toward you it may be educational to watch their actions – or reactions – and see if they perhaps are reacting to you in a similar way.

If so you also may discover they are trying to tell you something and analyzing the situation may be worthwhile for you and the cat.  Even if you don’t figure out the reasoning, you still may see for yourself that cats obviously have feelings too!

– The author is a very good friend of mine, Carol McCrow

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