The Unexpected Lessons of Love and Healing – A Caturday Guest Post From Crystal on her Experience With the Zee/Zoey Gang!

Editors Note: I shared a special guest post this past Wednesday from my youngest step-daughter, Jackie, and today I have one more special guest post to share from my other step-daughter, Crystal. Crystal is a 3rd grade teacher and like me, she often measures the moments in time by the lessons we learn along the way. While she is very much familiar with the Zee/Zoey feline gang, this particular visit last week brought with it the unexpected lessons of love, companionship, and understanding that only a cat can teach…

Lesson Number One: If you open it… they will come.

Crystal-1As a guest entering Deb and Dad’s home, other than the fact that there is more cat furniture than people furniture, and there are bins busting to the brim with more cat toys than any pet store would possibly carry, you might not even realize they have cats. The moment you enter, you might see a blur from the corner of your eye, but would probably shake it off as jet lag. You’d never suspect that eight felines were lurking… sniffing out the unsuspecting guest…

I say I was visiting Deb and Dad, but anyone who knows them, knows the truth: they are just the humans who are graciously allowed to live there, and we are the guests who they will tolerate – so long as we can aide in their bidding because it only takes but a momentary lapse in judgment in the Zee/Zoey household for the cats to take complete advantage. Those of us who would rather become a circus juggling act, foolishly overloaded with the remnants of a family game night, rather than make two trips, fall prey to the cats lying in wait for access to the coveted carpeted bedroom which happened when Chris, (Deb’s son), Jackie (my sister), and I were putting away some board games in the guest room where I was staying.

cats-lurking

Oh foolish people… did you really think you could open that door without us knowing?

We left the door open for only just a brief moment… but that is all it takes. Suddenly all eight cats become living beings – zipping and zooming from every direction into the room. Even Zoey, with whom we fear eye-contact would leave us all as stone monuments in the garden, sneaks in past us with a guttural growl to acknowledge the opening of the door. Since I’d rather not risk a limb than try to pick up Zoey, the door will have to remain open.

Thanks-for-making-blanket

There is just something about this room that is so appealing to the cats – maybe it’s the extra soft comforters and pillows, or maybe it’s the cozy warmth of the room. Regardless, I can’t blame them… the guest room has a charm similar to a quaint English garden cottage and is so soothing to the soul…

In truth, I couldn’t bear to kick the cats out of the room since Mr. Jazz had taken up residence on the bed. Mr. Jazz is scarcely the cat I remember him to be, and my last trip was only in December. Sadly, he was very sick, and probably would not have made it, had it not been for Deb delicately nursing him back to health. If it meant seven cats were going to have the run of my room so that Jazz could snuggle next to me- so be it.

Jaz-on-bed

This is one of our more recent photos of Jazz. It was not taken in the guest bedroom, but you can see the signs of age wearing on him. He truly needs your prayers, all, and I am just so grateful the girls got to see him during their visit.

So I snuggled into bed, alongside Mr. Jazz and a good book for the wonderful peace and relaxation that I so cherish while visiting. It didn’t take long for many of the other cats to make their presence completely known. Especially Kizmet. It’s a good thing I have patience, for he is the essence of all things kitten! “Oh my goodness! Something is moving under the blanket! I have to pounce! And what’s that in the closet… must get it in! Wait! What’s that under the blanket again? POUNCE! What’s under the bed? What is that boxy-thing on the floor? I simply must explore inside! Oh- are these your clothes in this box with wheels? Wait- back to whatever is making movements under the blanket!” I could go on and on with Kizmet’s explorations.

innocent

Just look at that precious, innocent, sweet little face. Surely Crystal has to be exaggerating!! Kizmet would never, ever be a pest!! LOL!!

Zee proved the ever-vigilant father/guard. He perched atop the dresser, admonishing Kizmet’s every move. Which, (as anyone who knows a vocal Maine Coon), does not make for the most restful background noise for a good night’s rest.

zee-on-guard

Papa Zee on guard…

Though our summer visits are usually time for celebration and reunion, this visit was marked with a tinge of sadness, as our family had just lost a very close friend. Though we grieved together, and shared memories during the day, it was not until the quiet hours of the night that I often sat and processed the emotions of this particular visit.

During the third night of my visit, I found myself having a particularly difficult day. Dealing with a host of emotions, I went to sleep that night not feeling quite right. That was the day we were supposed to see our friend, “Uncle Dave,” though he passed before I could say goodbye. I went off to bed, keeping the door open since Jazz was already comfortably settled, and turned out the light. Later in the night, I was pretty sure Zee came in as well, since the cat that nestled in was particularly gentle and restful. There is something about snuggling with a pet that brings such comfort.

As I woke, I was shocked to realize that it was not Zee who came to my side that night, but Kizmet. The same cat that spent every second of the previous nights bouncing off of and onto every surface that might wake me was quietly cuddled in with Jazz and made little of his presence known, but for a few purrs. I might just shake it off as being a rare coincidence, had it not happened the following night as well. The next time, it was just Kizmet, cuddled right next to me.

sweet-kizmet

While still a young cat, and despite his over exuberance, Kizmet is actually a wise old soul and one of the kindest cats I have ever known. I am not at all surprised that he sensed Crystal’s need for his healing powers.

Packing the suitcase back up – and making sure Zee was not in it after his encounter with Rick the dog – I thought about the most valuable lesson that Kizmet taught me during my visit. There is something special about the way that animals sense our emotions, and instinctively know exactly what we need. Though just a kitten, he curled up and knew it was not playtime, but a time for healing and calm.

Visiting the Zee/Zoey clan, this special gift that animals seem to have was shared even more so when I was graced with a gentle “meow” from Zoey, and an affectionate brush against my leg. Though ordinarily I might think twice about trying to pet the Queen, I reached down, and she lovingly accepted my affection.

Zoey-Head

There is no doubt Zoey has her moments and has earned her title as “Queen,” but she truly is a darling cat and an absolute sweetheart. When she is in a loving mood, she lets you know with every ounce of her little body and her purr  is as loud as a wild cat from the jungle!

I don’t feed these cats. I don’t provide their shelter, or clean their litter boxes. (Granted, I am that stranger that comes in leaving doors open to all of those previously unknown areas… but I digress.) When I needed comfort the most, even the most aloof of the clan came with an open heart, and a gentle purr. There was a bigger lesson to be learned this trip: Lesson #2: If you need it – they will come.

Thank you for that beautiful post, Crystal. I know firsthand how powerful the love of these cats can be and I am so glad they were able to be with you when you needed them most…

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  1. meowmeowmans says:

    Yes, without a doubt, cats are amazingly intuitive and compassionate creatures.

    We are purring and praying for Jazz.

    P.S. – how was the adoption event today?

  2. Beautifully written and I felt as though i was lying on that bed with her. Pets whether they be cats or dogs all have the sense of “we are needed” . Finding comfort in a snuggle or a purr can help mend a heart.

  3. George Beach says:

    Another wonderful story. Seems like someone else has the knack for writing.

  4. da tabbies o trout towne says:

    an awesum post aunt crystal; we iz glad ya hada grate visit N best fishes in de new skewl yeer

    kittehz R pree tee amazin…… huh….

    N dood jazz……we got de motorz revved on mega high…. N R pal Frank is werkin tripull OT for ya buddy
    bee well…..seer ee iz lee dood……sendin hugs N loves N trout filled pizza pies

    XOXXO~~~~~~~~~