Cats and The Lady
#1
For those of you who didn't understand my "sneeze" at the cats:

I love and understand cats. I'm just highly allergic to them. If I get even a slight scratch it goes yucky. My eyes and my face are constantly itchy. Believe me, I once got a cat hair in my eye, under my contact lens, and it sent me to the doctor pretty fast. I'm pretty good in most houses, and can even sleep over if a room has been cat proofed a day before. BUT, I need to wash my hands each time I pet a cat, or touch areas that they have shed on, like chairs and sofas.

Andre Norton lives with several cats. There are cats of all ages, sizes and temperaments. Last time I was there I think that the count was 7, including the Manx cat that I never saw. There are Siamese, Burmese, Persian and house cat. There is one cat "Margave" who is a mix of some exotic Egyptian cat - and he was being a terrible two year old, when he wasn't performing amazing feats of leaps, book case walking (past a row of cards without disturbing them) and lap sitting. There is often an outside cat that is not part of the household (yet) and is being fed on the back step. There are always cats watching you.

This house cannot be cat proofed, and I wouldn't ask that of them. It does mean that even when asked to "visit" I stay at a local motel. I still have to take doses of anti-histamines and still have major eye itch.

Of course the cats are usually pretty decorative, and definitely inspirational. Cats sleeping in sun patches. Cats prowling the kitchen, and going into the cupboard. There is a back yard screened-in area purely for cats. There is a bird feeder on the front yard tree, again purely for the cats entertainment.

The main house is filled with cat statues and ceramics. Cat "gods" sit enshrined in the fire place. Sleeping cats are under the chairs - so good that I often have to look closely to see if they are breathing. The living room is wall to wall cats, in a Victorian level of clutter.

If there is a lap, a cat will aim for it. Forget just sitting and drinking a cup of tea. There is a cat who likes to sample from your cup.

The only place that is cat free is the library. But the cats want to go there too. So people passing outside to enter the library have to use that funny foot motion that prevents cats leaving the house.

If you wonder why cats feature prominently in Andre Norton books, and that they are usually "smarter" than some people, wonder no more. Eet was not just born of a "ships cat" in ZERO STONE. Eet was born of a long line of cat companions that have lived with Andre Norton.
Irene
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