• Jennifer Meliton

It's fine. I'm a cat.

I was never a cat person until Miss Molly came to live with us about 10 years ago. In her first familial act of catness, she reached out to us from the little cages the Humane Society had set up at the mall where we were innocently shopping. Her huge green eyes filled with tears as she mewed for us to come closer. Once in Alexa's arms, she snuggled her kitten nose right into her neck, and we were victims.

It took approximately nine seconds for her true aloof personality to surface at home. But she is one of those cats who, when they grace you with their presence next to you, truly show you that you are special (unlike our dogs, who ceaselessly remind us of their special-ness with conspicuous reminders to pet and feed them.)

I digress.

Our dogs are generally indifferent to Molly. Silently I know she is probably tormenting them, but they live and let live. Molly has become sort of famous in our new neighborhood. See, after arriving home from a trip I was walking the dogs late at night, and she followed us, just to hang out. From there she started to tag along. Not beside us, but from a cat-safe distance. She scans the street (which is thankfully very quiet!), checks things out, and pretty much just has our backs.

Fast forward to a few days ago when we were doing our annual bus evacuation. During this exodus of gymnastic child-wrangling, we get the kids to exit the back of the bus by sitting down on the exit and "scootching" off. Years ago we made the "Don't jump-scootch" rule when one of our middle schoolers broke his leg on his descent to the pavement. You can see we're pretty serious about the scootch.

One of my little ones, adorned with kitty ears and a tail that day, scared at least one of the nine lives out of my when she revved up to make a flying leap out the door. Deadpan and insistent she claimed, "It's fine. I'm a cat."

As much as I wanted her to believe in her cat-self I made that kitty get on her hind legs and scootch off just like a human. She did manage to make it more of a pounce right into my arms, but thankfully there was no scratching, just a graceful exit back into the fray.

That day I realized there were some great things to be learned from cats:

Stay cool. Don't come on too strong.

Certainly don't play all your cards at once.

Take care of your buds. Have their backs and make sure they are ok.

Believe in yourself. It's fine. You're a cat.

Believe you can.

Jump safely.

You can find Miss Molly strolling behind us on evening walks in the North Hills. Miss Kitty is a first grader at my school, living her best cat life on the daily. Both are fierce and fine.

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