published Tuesday, December 4th, 2012

Dalton Roberts: Learning to love felines


by Dalton Roberts

I guess it's because of the way I was raised, but I see life is an interaction between us and the Creator of all life.

I guess I picked up this idea from my parents, who always befriended any form of life that came their way. I saw the blessings that flowed to them from this practice and had no hesitation to adopt it.

My father practiced this principle with humans. One night a teenage boy stumbled into our home a couple of hours after midnight in a drunken stupor and collapsed at the foot of my father's bed. Dad didn't call the police. He checked the boy's billfold, called his father and told him the story. His father came and got his son, and Dad made a lifetime friend.

I want to tell you today how this principle has worked out for me in relation to cats.

A girlfriend came to my house one night and was upset about her cat. When she left home, the cat was caught in some briars and barbed wire. We went back to her house and rescued the animal. Later we married and the cat came to live with us.

The cat was named "Dixie" because her brother commented that, when they picked her up at an animal shelter, "that cat is so ugly she would have to be able to sing 'Dixie' for you to love her."

Maybe that was true when they first rescued her but Dixie was a Russian Blue and she became a gorgeous cat with the breed's striking electric greyness. She didn't seem to care for me at all, but I continued doing my part in caring for her and she gradually bonded with me.

One of my favorite things was to lay in bed and read. She would climb upon my belly and snooze. When she wanted some attention, she would run her nose under my book and root it out of the way. After I acknowledged her presence by rubbing or petting her, she would return to her belly position and leave me alone for a while.

The cat I miss most was what my wife, Glenda, calls a "street urchin angel," based on a cat she rescued from a trash bin one time and gave to her parents. This homely little yellow cat came to my door with a broken right leg. The vet told me there was no way to fix it without rebreaking her leg and she did not recommend that.

I was not wanting a cat at that time, but she was so loving I let her sleep in my bed. Due to some severe life challenges at the time, I didn't realize how much of her had gotten into my heart. I paid to have her neutered and told the vet to find her a home. She gave her to a man who was lonely from a fresh divorce and, within two weeks, I missed sleeping with that little sweet cat so much I told the vet to check and see if the man might want to give her back to me. She said, "Oh no! He dearly loves that cat."

I have now missed 10 years of joy with that little crippled cat. If you find a little cat that completely suits you, don't part with her. She may be a "urchin angel."

about Dalton Roberts...

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