The Mystery of Cats



I have a pair of dangling, dancing cat earrings. Someone once looked at me quizzically. “A dog trainer,” she laughed. “wearing cat earrings? It must be your day off!”

Truth be known, I am a closet cat person. Oh yes, I live and breathe dogs. But when I need some real peace and quiet, I tiptoe out to my garage and snuggle with Simba, my beloved cat. Simba introduced me to the mysterious world of cats. He walked up the driveway one day, skinny and flea ridden, bellowing out his meows, and indicated with all he had that he was going to stay. I strongly advised him against it, imploring him to think about the dogs (not all of which are cat friendly) and my allergies to cats. But he was persistent in indicating that our house was his new home, we were his new people, and he was our new cat. We are family. All my furry critters and me.

That was three years ago, and since that time I have grown increasingly intrigued by cats. Dogs, I know well. I can usually anticipate their next move by the slightest muscle twitch, or lack thereof. But cats, they mystify me. They keep so much to themselves. Or maybe its just that they’ve reduced their concerns to the simple basics: a safe place to snooze, some satisfying food and, for those cats like Simba who thrive on human contact, a daily chin scratch and lots of gentle petting. Maybe it’s not so mysterious at all. Maybe cats have just gotten to the core truths.

Cleo. Please come home!
Cleo. Please come home!

What I have learned about cats, since that fateful day when Simba walked into my life, is that a cat chooses you. You do not choose a cat. Nothing has made this clearer to me than my recent experience with Cleo, a feline that I tried to adopt into my animal family. Cleo’s family was moving out of state and could not take her along. I, thinking it would be wonderful to expand my cat contingency, agreed to take her in. I brought Cleo home and assured her that I would do all I could to help her feel at home. And then, after several days, Cleo left me. No, she didn’t just casually walk out an open door. She sought out, found and used an escape route leaving me frantic and worried, pondering the endless mysteries of cats.

My search for Cleo is now in its third week. I have posted fliers and hand-delivered nearly 300 more of them by going door-to-door. I have created a Cleo page on my web site, listed her on Craigslist, and run endless newspaper ads, including display ads that show her big green eyes peering out. I have even spoken to an animal communicator and asked her to convey to Cleo that her place is at my home. Here, she’ll find a safe place to snooze, some satisfying food, a daily chin scratch and lots of gentle petting.

But as Simba and Cleo have taught me, you don’t choose a cat, a cat chooses you.

Update – 5/24: A miracle occurred. Yesterday, over a month after Cleo disappeared, my neighbor walked across the street with her in her arms. She told me that Cleo had shown up that morning at the home of her other neighbor, a lovely, older man. Cleo had awakened him the night before wailing at his bedroom window – not meowing but wailing as if to say “I am here. I am home!”. Cleo clearly wants to live with this kind-hearted gentleman and he has indicated she can stay. As I wrote some weeks ago – you don’t choose a cat, a cat chooses you.

To return to Sarah Richardson’s Canine Connection web site, go to:


1 thought on “The Mystery of Cats

  1. Sarah

    I am praying for the return of your Cleo, and remembered as I read your post the cats I have lost over the years, mostly as a result of moving to a new house. At the time, I felt bereft, and I know I would feel the same way today if my beloved Fluffer were to walk out the door and never come back. But I enjoyed your post, and your perspective that cats choose where they want to be, and as stubborn and frustrating as they are sometimes, we love them for it. So perhaps Cleo has decided that someone else needs her for the time being, or that she wanted to take a little vacation somewhere, get away from all those dogs! Nevertheless, I pray for her return and for her safety. Cats and dogs are two sides of the same coin (just don’t tell that to the cats, it offends them), and they make our lives fuller and more complete with their love and quirkiness.
    Thanks for the great blog posts!

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