Tiredly lugging heavy shopping from the taxi (how I wish I could drive), this morning, my attention was distracted by shrieking blackbirds. Underneath the now nearly empty feeder in the front garden sat Fred my neighbour's large, one-eyed black cat.
Now Fred is a threat to no living creature being lazy, placid, mono-visioned and so well-fed he resembles nothing so much as a large furry black cushion, so I ignored the yelling birds and went in to unpack my shopping.
When I next looked out the front there sat, sprawled, lay a near-comatose Fred in much the same place as before. As I proceeded to refill the bird feeder, he made no movement but turned his one large beautifull emerald eye on me beseechingly "please feed me, no-one has given me food for days" said the eye.
Since I know that not only is he fed, virtually on demand, by his owners and that he has at least three other port-of-call on his daily stroll I simply muttered a "no chance" and went in and shut the door. Only to re-emerge two minutes later with a handfull of biscuits.
It is possible I may have previously mentioned that I was born with the word "sucker" printed on my forehead. something I do my level best to live up to daily. At least, where cats are concerned.
All they have to do is give me that 'cat' look - you know the one - half amused - half contemptuous, and I'm hooked.
Since, by and large cats live only by their own rules, sneer at and patently despise those who worship at their furry shrines, no-one could claim they are by nature immediately loveable, and yet.......if their beautifull sinuous slinky bodies, 'talking' tails and compellingly lovely eyes are turned on me, and millions like me, our reaction is instant obedience to their wishes.
There is for we afficionados one major benefit, an apparently well-documented lifting of depression and improvement in emotional well-being from our contact - I won't call it ownership - of these fascinating infuriating creatures.
As I write, I have no current cat companion but am quite likely to be adopted soon.
Penny, if you read this, please note, I count cats as one of life's blessings, or, as Pollyanna would have said, something to be glad about.