Help Wanted: Cats Only Need Apply


My cat, Heart’s Gem (aka Gemma or Pudding), likes to keep me company while I type. She likes to keep me very close company and grooms part of me as I work. This creates significant distraction and awkwardness for the placement of my arms as I reach around or under her to the keyboard.

There are any number of objects on my desk that could make a good spot for her. But her favourite position is right next to my laptop, lounging across my arm onto the keys. Either that or sitting behind the screen, pushing it forward, staring at me with purring concentration. While it is lovely to be loved by a cat it can be exhausting for my arm or neck. My arm keeping my hand in place to continue typing while pudding-cat rests heavily upon it, roughly grooming along it. My neck as my screen slowly bends lower as she stretches against it, purring lovingly all the while.

Yes, she is a muse and often amusing. Really, I consider myself lucky that the dogs haven’t got into the act. Although come to think of it they do use the opportunity of me sitting still, from their perspective doing nothing, to demand pats. I wonder how much I would notice their absence if they were out (for a walk, chewing a bone, barking at the dogs down the back)? Gemma though firmly believes in the delicateness of her build and the svelteness of her silhouette. I have not been able to persuade her otherwise.

Twelve years ago my ex-partner took me to the RSPCA to choose a ‘recovery kitty’ after significant abdominal surgery. Straight from hospital. No thought given to how I would walk across the carpark, through the centre or down three flights of stairs. When I was eventually standing in the kitten cage, a flood of kitties streamed across the concrete floor. Here they come, I thought, wonder which one will choose me? The flood moved straight past me to the cat carrier we had brought in and clambered all over it. Harumph! Except one tiny fluff ball, who marched through the river of kitties, climbed up my jeans all the way to my shoulder where she sat, purring and kneading and batting my hair. It took less than a minute to be claimed. It had taken me 20 minutes to walk down there and thirty to walk back.

Heart’s Gem she was named and Gemma she became. Throughout my recovery she stayed with me and sat on my chest whenever I stopped moving. She has had faith in her tininess ever since, sure that a cat sitting on my chest, covering me up to my eyes, is exactly what is needed. Or kneading my cushiony softness with claws like scimitars is enormously appreciated by me. Mind you she is not much different than her fellow housemates.

Recently when renovations caused us to be away for a few nights and finally I was home to stop for awhile, I sat in my arm chair and was smothered in seconds. I called for my daughter to take a photo (see below). I suspect they missed me.

I do think of the animals as companions than pets. I am certainly glad they choose to live with me. As to Gemma’s help with my writing? Well, I have her to thank for this blog.

Perhaps she’s my muse after all.


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