I’m going to say the thing that no cat owner should say: Elora, whom I love to my very core, is a mean cat. My 3 year old nephew, who knows his own cat’s name, who knows not only Sophie’s name, but all of her nicknames too, knows Elora simply as “The Mean Cat” –emphasis on the “The”. And it is the simple truth.
She was standoffish even as a kitten at 6 weeks old….the last of her litter waiting to be adopted at the shelter as her brothers and sisters were cuddly and affectionate while Elora sat in the corner staring at potential owners – even then with a cool gleam in her eye daring one of them to make the slightest move in her direction. But when I saw her I immediately took to her….attitude and all. Elora does all the things a mean cat should….she hisses at unfamiliar people in her house; she swats the hand that lingers on her fur a little too long; she has been known to give Sophie a perfect left jab -- followed by a fierce right hook, to her nose simply for walking by at too quick of a pace. She is wary of people, mildly tolerant of Sophie and lives with me on her own terms. She is the cat that I have to tuck into a bedroom when visitors come by, the cat that I have to apologize for to family members when a swat makes contact and….and she is the cat that I love.
My bond with Elora is just as strong as the one I have with Sophie. Although I too have received my share of warning strikes with a soft but firm paw, I have also received the kind of affection from her that you take notice of, that you remember…partly because it’s coming from a mean cat. She will cuddle with me on the couch, purring up a storm; she will play with a ball that I toss for her – like a kitten of 6 months; and she will weave between my feet as I make dinner in the kitchen, soft and warm, relishing in her contact with me. As much as I chose Elora that day in the shelter, she has chosen me back in return…as her human, her companion in this life. The love of a mean cat….it slips quietly in and finds a place deep in your heart and takes hold for life.