Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Obligatory Cat Post ... and Cat Lore!

This cat in our yard is not our cat. She/he/it belongs to the neighbors but loves to hang out in our yard. She makes us smile to see her.

We are between cats at the moment. when Baby died, we decided against getting another for a while. It's now been the longest either of us has ever gone without a pet. Thanks I'm sure in part to this cat and other animals in town, we still don't feel the need for another yet.

That day will come, but for now it is nice to not have to worry about who will feed the cat and such. Baby really spoiled us, because, even though she was a mostly-in-the-house cat, she got to a point where she only "went" out of doors, so we did not have to keep a litter box! Oh that was wonderful! My expectations for cat behavior will now forever include "asking to go out"!

I learned recently that cats can be used to predict the weather. Other than that when they are wet it is raining, I mean. Heh.

"When a cat washes her face over the ear, tis a sign the weather will be fine and clear." The other indicator in the same vein is if, when you pet the cat, it raises a lot of static. Both of these are because the humidity is low. The drier the air, the more static electricity cat fur will generate. The cat is licking itself to get a bit of moisture into its fur and stop those annoying little flashes of static. Cats groom themselves daily, but this proverb relates to increased grooming, specifically about the face and head.

That one makes so much sense to me. Baby was a long haired cat, and when we lived in West Texas, where it is always dry, her poor fur was always tangled and matted. No matter what we did, or how much we brushed her, her fur was always a mess. But when we moved to the coast, her fur became silky and soft and untangled. As if by magic, we didn't even have to brush her, she was able to attend to her own grooming. The constant humidity gave her a beautiful well-kept coat.

The second bit of lore, you will have to test for yourself. Not having our own cat, we can't observe for ourselves. It is this: you know those times when suddenly, for no reason at all and at a truly random time like the middle of the night, your cat leaps up and dashes madly around the house and over the furniture and skids around corners and leaps and bounds and whizzes around for 3 or 4 minutes and then just as suddenly stops and goes on about her business? When the cat becomes loud and boistrous and carries on - again for no reason?

Well, they say that indicates a storm is brewing. So next time this happens, watch and see if you don't get some kind of bad weather in the next, say, 24 hours or so!

My family was not generally very superstitious. But there were a few superstitions that people held to, and I will mention them from time to time. The old idea that a black cat crossing your path is bad luck was strongly believed. Nandy wrote that when his family moved from
Cornish Ok to West Mountain Tx (near Gilmer) in their covered wagon in 1921, a black cat walked across the road ahead of them. His "Papa" pulled the wagon to the side and waited. He said he would not move until someone else had crossed that spot before him. They ended up
camping there overnight. The photo of the man in overalls is Papa, with Little Grandmother and Auntie Rose, one of Nandy's sisters. Notice how pale her hair was? Nandy was towheaded as a little child too. It was only later his hair turned black.

And as late as when I was a child, Big Grandmother, Mema's mom, turned her car around one day and went around the block to avoid crossing the path of a black cat. The photo with the seashore backdrop is of Big Grandmother and Big Grandaddy and Mema.

Most superstitions that I heard about were considered jokes, and they told them to children as a way of teasing us. But the lore of the black cats was strong and the old folks weren't taking chances! Of course, later on we had a black cat as a pet and I think that dispelled the last of that old belief. :-)

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