Friday, December 6, 2013

Cats and Jim Chee and Me



I was reading Tony Hillerman's Skeleton Man -- a recent acquisition from the library book sale -- when I came across the following description of Jim Chee's relationship with a stray cat:

"Only when snow began did it move in to spend the nights, still keeping a cautious distance from Chee. Thus they lived together, Chee serving as food provider, Cat operating as feline watchdog,bolting in with a clatter when a coyote ( or any visitor) approached the trailer. Otherwise they ignored each other.

"The relationship perfectly fit Chee's Navajo traditionalism. Natural harmony required all species, be they human, hamster, hummingbird, snake, or scorpion, to respect each other's roles in the natural world. He saw no more justification in pretending to "own" a pet than he did in human slavery. Both violated the harmony of the system and thus were immoral."

This struck a chord with me, especially pertaining to the kittehs.  Sometime, especially when they're thumping and bumping around the house in the middle of the night or when I come upon them staring at something invisible to me, I feel that we are two very different types of beings, who simply happen to occupy the same house. Our paths intersect now and then and if I didn't keep the food bowl full and the litter box clean, they'd be displeased. But they are so very much their own selves and independent of people.
 
The dogs seem to be emotionally dependent on us to a certain extent-- especially the Border Collie Dan whose life work involves keeping an eye on John.

The cats, on the other hand, enjoy being around us some of the time -- especially when it's cold. But they make it clear that they have their own lives to lead . . .

I've always felt that having cats in the house is much like living with semi-tamed wild animals.  My pleasure comes from watching them.
 
Posted by Picasa

12 comments:

Ms. A said...

I've definitely heard they are their own beings, aloof and independent.

katy gilmore said...

They have their own lives to lead- exactly right!

Thérèse said...

They know so much that we don't...
at least we know that.

Merisi said...

I loved how you all coexist in your home!
The quotes fromTony Hillerman's Skeleton Man make me really curious about the book itself. Will you write a review, please?

Hugs from a stormy city, where sunshine and snow clouds are chasing each other. Moments ago, a whirl of snowflakes fell out of the sky.

Brian Miller said...

having had cats for the last however many years, i agree...we are def different...and cats are more emotionally detached, more wild than dogs...

B. Rogers, Living in Black Mountain said...

Chee is a good friend, as well as Miss Birdie. I finished Small Things was finished last night. I love your writing, and your characters are definitely real to me. The organization of that book still disturbs me though.

Vicki Lane said...

Barb, how do you mean?

I originally wrote that book with the present day part as the main story and with flashbacks to the earlier bits. My editor didn't like it and had me arrange as it is now. Which, to my mind, may have made it easier to follow but unbalanced it a bit.

Merisi -- I'll address the Skeleton Man thing later this week.

Jim Egerton said...

I love Hillermans books Coyote Waits sticks in my mind. I should read them again. Your cats are beautiful.

Anonymous said...

Dogs may have owners, but cats have a staff.

Lynne in GA

Tammy said...

Love Hillerman..love Chee. Sad to think he won't be writing more stories. His daughter has written a new installment --it's on my Christmas list. I have my doubts. It won't be the same, I'm sure, but wanted to see where she took the cast of characters.

What am I doing wrong? My cats will not leave me alone! Everything I do, I have a following. Nothing is easy with all the cat help. Each one has their 'special moment' when they would like to be the center of the universe-- several times a day (which multiplied by 8...you can see my problem). I guess maybe I just ended up with a needy dog like bunch. My luck.

(your girls are so pretty and grown up looking these days)

Hope you all don't get this arctic blast. Tonight is going to be awful.

Tammy

Star said...

Oh yes, they are such fun to watch. Millie is very happy living here and is always up to mischief. Today I decorated the Christmas tree and when I'd finished, she settled down and went to sleep on the skirt underneath!
Your cats are so pretty. Enjoy them to the full.

Kath Marsh said...

Exactly!