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There's Just Something About A Cat

By PhotoLori on Jun. 1, 2017

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“In its flawless grace and superior self-sufficiency I have seen a symbol of the perfect beauty and bland impersonality of the universe itself, objectively considered, and in its air of silent mystery there resides for me all the wonder and fascination of the unknown.” H.P. Lovecraft

I grew up in a family where animals were always a part of our lives. Members of the family. Most of my childhood was spent with animals of all kinds. Horses, hamsters, dogs and cats.

My animals bring me such joy. 

I love when I come home and Gabby, my dog, can’t stop dancing. Or when I’ve been working on the computer too long, she will sit next to me and stare. If that doesn’t work, she’ll bring every single toy into the room and drop them at my feet. And Mr. French is right next to her, following her every move, trying the same things to get my attention.

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At night Francis, my cat, sleeps with me. He will cuddle right next to me, with his head on my pillow and he doesn’t budge all night long. 

And sweet, gentle Enzo. That cat loves water and will sit on the edge of the tub every single morning watching me take a shower. 

I love all animals, but my first love was for cats. Something about their independence, the way they watch the world, they do their own thing and follow their own path. They seem to always be relaxed and living in the moment, without a care in the world.

My first cat was Tiffany. She was a beauty. A gray and white angora with a pink nose. She loved to sleep with me and make a nest in my hair. With her nose buried in my ear, her soft purring would lull me to sleep. She loved me and I loved her. But she was feisty, too. And I loved that. She would tell you exactly what she liked; and didn’t like. With a swift swat of her paw she told you that she was done with being petted. Then she’d saunter off and go find a sunny spot to sit.

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She was curious, too. Loved to explore. She’d find every nook and cranny of our house but her favorite room to investigate was our garage. Maybe she thought it was an urban jungle, but whenever you couldn’t find her, chances were that’s where she’d be. And it got her into trouble every once in a while.

My most vivid memory of her antics involves the garage and a big bucket of turpentine. I came home from school one day and she didn’t greet me. It was unusual. I looked high and low for her and couldn’t find her. I remember feeling a bit of dread. And then I went into the urban jungle. There she was, sitting in the corner, wet from her neck down to the tip of her tail. She was grooming herself and she wasn’t pleased with how difficult that task was for her. I didn’t know what she had gotten into but I went to her and the smell almost knocked me over. It was turpentine. Somehow she had gotten covered in it. I yelled for my dad and we made a trip to the veterinarian. Thank goodness we did. She had to be shaved because the oily substance was making her sick when she groomed.

I believe I now know where the saying “curiosity killed the cat” comes from. But thank goodness in Tiffany’s case it wasn't curiosity that almost killed the cat.

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As an adult, I moved to New York City and I missed my feline companion. For a few years I had no furry friend, but that changed when I went to Bideawee Animal Adoption Center a few blocks from where I lived. It was kitten season and the cat rooms were with filled to the gills. I knew I wanted to adopt two cats so they had someone to play with when I wasn’t home. I don’t know how many I met and played with, but my first pick was a gorgeous black cat with the softest fur I’d ever felt. The icing on the cake was that she had one eye. Even back then I was drawn to the underdog. She was shy and when she came out of the kennel, hesitantly started exploring. She had a littermate too, but for some reason I passed her by.

My second choice was a handsome white boy with a strip down the middle of his head that made him look like he was sporting a Mohawk. I had narrowed it down to these two. I was very excited to bring them home. The adoption counselors had another idea though. Seems the one-eyed black kitten could only be adopted with her sister. They lived on the street together and the gray kitty seemed to be her protector. They called them a bonded pair. I was only slightly disappointed because when I met the littermate she was just as sweet. I brought them home that night. 

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I’ll never forget when I put the cat carrier down in my small apartment and opened the door. Petey, what I had named the gray kitten, came out boldly and started investigating her new home. Jackie, the one-eyed kitten, stayed safely in the carrier. What happened next still warms my heart. After a full investigation of her new home, Petey made her way back to the carrier and went inside. I watched with interest. She stayed in there for about five minutes and then she walked out with Jackie right behind her. The shy black kitten stopped quickly; she seemed overwhelmed with the room. Petey noticed this and came back over as if to reassure her that it was OK. They did this over and over. Jackie would get nervous and stop in her tracks and Petey would come back, lick her fur and urge her to go on. They explored the entire apartment that way and Jackie’s confidence increased each time her sister came to tell her it was OK. That was more than 25 years ago, and the memory stills makes me smile.

Petey and Jackie traveled to Los Angeles with me and lived long happy lives. Petey passed away at the age of 12 from (of all things) lung cancer. It was my first experience of making the choice to euthanize a pet and one of the hardest decisions to make, but it was the right one. Jackie passed away a few years later from renal failure. But before that, their little brother Francis came into our lives.

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Francis is an old man now. I love him so much I can’t stand it. Just like my first cat Tiffany, he sleeps by my side. He follows me around like a dog and is accepting of every single animal that I bring home. But make no mistake; this is his kingdom and he lets the other furry friends know it.

He came into my life as a stray. He was a teeny tiny boy with the biggest ears I had ever seen. I have no idea where he came from but one day he wandered into my yard. I scooped him up and brought him inside. I called for my husband to show him the adorable boy in my arms. Husband wasn’t happy. “We can’t have another cat! What if he has a disease and gives it to Petey and Jackie?”

I was crushed, but I knew he was right. I put him in our backyard. My plan was to take him to the veterinarian, make sure he was healthy and then bring him back inside. I knew I could wear down the husband. But later that day the sweet kitten found his way back to the front yard and started running around and playing. The moment he made his way into the street my husband just happened to be looking outside. All of a sudden he called me into the living room. “That kitten is in the street. I couldn’t live with myself if he got hit by a car. Bring him inside. We’ll keep him in the art studio until he gets checked out.” And that’s how little Francis came home.

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The last feline to come into the Fusaro home is Enzo. He is furry. He is enormous. He loves water. He is gentle and loves to sit on your stomach and stare into your eyes. It’s earned him the nickname of the psychiatrist. There is something else a little special about him; we got him for our dog, Gabby.

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Gabby had a cat friend named Scrappy. Scrappy was a feral cat in our neighborhood and she would come to our front porch to eat dinner. She was scared of everything, except Gabby. I fed her for years and never really knew much about her except she had been around forever. Every day she’d be waiting on the porch for her food. I never could touch her but I loved her just the same. One day I found Scrappy in a bad way. I didn’t know what was wrong with her but clearly something was because I found her lying on the porch in an odd fashion. She could barely lift her head. For the first time I could touch her and I rushed her to the veterinarian.

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Upon the vet’s examination I learned that she was probably over 20 years old. She was blind and had almost no teeth. And she was unable to eat for some reason. Maybe because the teeth she had left were so rotten, maybe because there was something else more serious wrong with her. The veterinarian said there wasn’t much we could do, just see if she eats and improves and decide from there. He hydrated her and then I took her home.

I tried everything to get that old girl to eat. Tuna, Campbell’s Cream of Chicken soup, cheese, kitten formula, everything. She refused. For three days I tried and on that third day I decided the most humane thing I could do was to put her to sleep. I arrived home ready to pick her up and take her to the veterinarian. What I saw upon entering the kitchen was something so amazing, I still don’t believe it. The first thing I did was grab my camera. Gabby was at her food bowl and was feeding little Scrappy. And Scrappy was eating. I stood there watching and tears welled up in my eyes. From then on, the two were inseparable. Scrappy lived another year with us. After she passed away, Gabby seemed restless. She changed her sleeping patterns and wouldn’t sleep on the bed that she shared with Scrappy. I don’t know if she was missing her friend but that’s what it seemed like. So we decided to adopt a kitten for her. Enter the psychiatrist.

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A friend of mine had found a stray cat that had given birth to kittens. I eagerly went to meet them and little Enzo made it clear he wanted to come home with me. He stood on his hind legs, rolled on the ground and found a comfortable spot to sit. You guessed it! On my stomach, staring deep into my eyes. I brought him home and after introducing him to all the furry creatures, he decided that Gabby was to be his best friend forever. They sleep together every night. Every morning Enzo grooms her entire face and ears. And she seems to love it.

I love my house full of creatures and each one has such a special place in my heart. Life wouldn’t be the same without them. After knowing so many cats and having so many as part of my family, it’s still true for me…there’s just something about cats that make like a little more interesting.

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Professional photographer and dedicated animal activist LoriFusaro takes photos of shelter dogs and cats at Best Friends Animal Society - L.A. in hopes that the images will help them find their forever homes. She also has a soft spot for pit bulls. Be sure to check out "My Old Dog: Rescued Pets with Remarkable Second Acts," a book written by Laura T. Coffey, with photos by LoriFusaro.

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5 Comments
Comments
by Enzo
‎05-30-2016 05:44 PM

It's true!  Cats are special.  Thanks!

 

 

 

It's true!  Cats are special.  Thanks!

 

 

 

Posted on May. 30, 2016
by
‎05-30-2016 06:45 PM
Can see the love in all the photographs.
Can see the love in all the photographs.
Posted on May. 30, 2016
by
‎05-30-2016 08:05 PM
Not only is Lori a fantastic photographer, but she proves to be a wonderful writer. Thank you for the heart-warming journey you just took me through with this article. Loved it!♡
Not only is Lori a fantastic photographer, but she proves to be a wonderful writer. Thank you for the heart-warming journey you just took me through with this article. Loved it!♡
Posted on May. 30, 2016
by Bethie
‎10-29-2016 04:49 PM

What a lovely story. I have or rather she has me, a gorgeous three year old gray cat named Anna. We are almost inseparable. Right now, she is on my bed. I honestly think the Good Lord gave her to me as an angel to work with Him to truly save my life. I have made a promise to her and to God that I will never leave her alone over night with my not being there to share the night.  I have had cats for years; Emily, Misty Blue, Samantha, Mickey. Mickey passed away when I was away for several nights. He was "old" over eighteen years old and despite everything had a very good life; but, now that I have Anna, I do not want her to live or "die" alone. And, if I must be gone for a night or so, so shall she come with me. Oh, we are so lucky that God gave us cats as family. Every night in my prayers, I thank God for Anna, my cat. Thank you.   

What a lovely story. I have or rather she has me, a gorgeous three year old gray cat named Anna. We are almost inseparable. Right now, she is on my bed. I honestly think the Good Lord gave her to me as an angel to work with Him to truly save my life. I have made a promise to her and to God that I will never leave her alone over night with my not being there to share the night.  I have had cats for years; Emily, Misty Blue, Samantha, Mickey. Mickey passed away when I was away for several nights. He was "old" over eighteen years old and despite everything had a very good life; but, now that I have Anna, I do not want her to live or "die" alone. And, if I must be gone for a night or so, so shall she come with me. Oh, we are so lucky that God gave us cats as family. Every night in my prayers, I thank God for Anna, my cat. Thank you.   

Posted on Oct. 29, 2016
by Deb Blanchard
‎10-29-2016 06:04 PM

I really enjoyed that article about cats.  It brought back memories of Schatzie, my first cat, who found me shortly after I moved to Alaska.  She shared my life for 15 years.  She was a wonderful companion.  Everytime I picked her up, she would put her front paws around my neck like she was hugging me.  She passed away in my arms and that was, and is still, the most gut-wrenching event of my life.  I have four other cats and two dogs now, but think about Schatzie everyday.  Thanks for writing that article.   

I really enjoyed that article about cats.  It brought back memories of Schatzie, my first cat, who found me shortly after I moved to Alaska.  She shared my life for 15 years.  She was a wonderful companion.  Everytime I picked her up, she would put her front paws around my neck like she was hugging me.  She passed away in my arms and that was, and is still, the most gut-wrenching event of my life.  I have four other cats and two dogs now, but think about Schatzie everyday.  Thanks for writing that article.   

Posted on Oct. 29, 2016
About the Author
  • Lori Fusaro has worked as a photographer since 1996. Her boutique studio, Fusaro Photography, is based in Los Angeles, CA, where she is well known for her lifestyle portraiture of pets. She was honored as the top portrait photographer in the L.A. area for four consecutive years and her work has been featured on NBC Nightly News, The Today Show Pets, In Touch Magazine and in the book ‘So You Want To Be A Pet Photographer’. Lori has a soft spot for seniors and her book “My Old Dog: Rescued Pets with Remarkable Second Acts is a National Best Seller.
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