Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Introducing Beethoven

Beethoven didn’t come to us the same time as Mozart. An acquaintance of mine was his owner and decided that her family couldn’t take care of him any longer since they were going to move. I had always felt that Beethoven was a serious, to the point of being somber, cat and that he deserved a lot more attention that he got. He had always had the attitude of wounded pride, a kind of “I don’t care if you like me or not” bravado. Mr. Tuff Cat. He looked a little scruffy. His dark fur was coarse and stuck straight out it was so thick. He was a kitty cat “pig pen” in that where ever he walked; little puffs of cat fur flew out of him creating a halo of fuzz! Although we were not looking to get another cat, we took him in and it has been a blessing ever sense, for him and for us!

The first night at home I began to comb him, and comb him, and brush, and brush him. By the end of our first grooming session, I had a ball of fur the size of the basketball!! After many brushing we came to discover that we had a brown and white cat, not a black and white one!! He was aloof and was suspicious of being handled. “Meoooogrrrrr.” Then he’d hop down and prowl his new territory. He’d look at us suspiciously from the other side of the room with a dour expression on his face. We told him that we did love whether he liked it or not and let him roam and adjust and hide if he needed to do so. He’d come a running, however, when he was fed. He had a voracious appetite. He virtually would lay down over his dish to protect his food. He’d eat his food, Mozart’s food, and all the cat treats we’d give him. It did take longer for Beethoven to adjust to his new environs. It was like he wanted to trust us but couldn’t quite yet do so.

Like a human being who has been hurt, he was unable to commit to a relationship with us immediately. He had known me previously and related the best with me at first. He had met Mozart before and after a few confrontations over territory and a period of ignoring each other; they began to get along like littermates. I credit Mozart with this. Mo-Mo is such a loving happy cat. His “let’s get along and play” attitude finally got through Beethoven’s defenses. In a slow and tentative way, Beethoven began to come out of his defensive shell with us too. He relaxed about his food, I think, when he realized that there would always be enough. On occasion he would actually jump on your lap, but only for 30 seconds or so. He began to trust us.

Today, Beethoven is a loving kitty. He wants to be held and brushed and played with. He will come up to me and in a frenzy of kitty-cat-cheek-rubbing-on-legs tells me, “you are mine”. Tuff Cat has turned into my brown molasses jug of kitty cat sweetness, as I call him to tease him. (By the way, Mozart is my marmalade pot of kitty cat sweetness). Like a wounded-healer, he shares his affection in a deep way.

The name Beethoven seemed quite appropriate for him. Beethoven seems to view life with a romantic sense of the tragic as if fate will soon be knocking at his door at any time; a realist who aches for the good and true and is overjoyed when it is found and appreciates it. Like Ludwig von Beethoven, he knows the callousness and hurt of the world but hopes for transcendent joy of freedom and unity:

Joy, fair spark of the gods, Daughter of Elysium, Drunk with fiery rapture, Goddess, We approach thy shrine!

Thy magic reunites those Whom stern custom has parted; All men will become brothers Under thy gentle wing.

Be embraced, Millions! Take this kiss for all the world! Brothers, surely a loving Father Dwells above the canopy of stars.

Do you sink before him, Millions? World, do you sense your Creator? Seek him then beyond the stars! He must dwell beyond the stars.

~~ An die Freude (Ode to Joy) by Friedrich Schiller


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