In the short days of winter, when the temperature drops and the chill seeps through our single pane windows, I find myself wishing I was the family cat. Not any family cat, but our family cat. Technically she is my daughter’s cat, but I’m the one she meows at when her bowl is empty or when she has transferred her food to her water bowl. She has me trained. Everyone in the family talks to her when we think nobody is listening. She is our confidante. She’s not a pure breed, but she is unique. Her charcoal blue, silver gray coat makes her a dead ringer for a Chartreux. Yet it is her fur that is extraordinary. She is silky to the touch and her undercoat is as soft and light as down. Sitting next to her, you can’t help but caress her, stroke her, get lost in her tactile softness of silver and blue.
Still, this family cat is not docile. She lives up to her name: Sarah Jazz. Her demeanor is regal, yet arbitrary. She is the epitome of cool. Perhaps she adores me, yet she rarely displays a hint of affection. She is a well-schooled behaviorist, flaunting her natural nonchalance to keep her admirers yearning for more. She puts Pavlov’s dog to shame. Her contentment is selective. Cross her path when she is in one of her moods and she will nip your ankle or take a swipe at your calf. Her yellow eyes shine with a sense of entitlement with no apologies rendered and no regrets registered. It is well known that she is a huntress, a skill she displayed in her adolescent years. As she has aged, she rarely displays her predator instincts, but when she does you know her prey never had a chance. Sarah Jazz is easily self-satisfied and needs little external validation.
Even with all her aloofness, Sarah Jazz has a playful side. Show her a strand of yarn and she is a coy kitten. Cat nip is her one weakness and under its influence she easily exposes a penchant for silliness. Give her an empty box and she is in heaven. I envy how such simple things can coax her into a state of euphoria.
Last night, as I was bundled in layers of fleece searching for a warm alcove in our drafty house, I began to panic that our furnace was on its last legs. And then I felt a palpable stillness followed by the revelation of a silver-gray shadow camouflaged against the green-gray slate floor. There was Sarah Jazz in all her glory, nestled and roosting over the heating vent. No whisper of heat escaped her downy underbelly and no sign of guilt flashed across her fiery eyes. Content, crafty, and blissfully arrogant, she narrowed her eyes and flicked her supple tail. Oh yes, she seemed to say, to be the family cat.