The next thing to being famous is to have a famous friend. My cat, Cleo Paleno, is famous. I know she is famous because on three separate occasions, total strangers, as well as several of my acquaintances, have gone out of their way to tell me how much they admire Cleo. That warms my heart because I consider Cleo my best animal friend and a cat deserving of admiration and praise.
Since I have the distinction and the honor of being Cleo’s confidant as well as her friend, I think I have the right, and I do not believe Cleo would mind if I share some of Cleo’s good qualities with you … as well as her idiosyncrasies.
First off, Cleo is smarter than the average cat. She knows her beans. She has learned to stay out of the road in front of my house and avoid cars that might squash a less perceptive and agile creature. I like to believe Cleo has acquired that knowledge because of my training when she was an innocent kitten.
Cleo is personable. She gets along with other cats and humans. Her range of feline acquaintances includes the stray female cat that has taken up residence on my porch (and who I feed every morning because of my weak nature that finds it hard to refuse a stranger). Cleo has survived the blandishments of the big yellow wild male cat that comes visiting my front driveway every so often at night…probably because Cleo was ‘fixed.’
Cleo is a ‘house cat.’ Yet she knows every inch of my hill, field, and pasture because she is curious and likes to explore. For example, when I open one of my closets, Cleo disappears inside among the shoes and suits like a flash. She will remain in the closet for an hour, searching out every corner, box, and shelf before coming out into daylight.
I admit I was as worried as any caring parent the first time I gave in to her pleas and cries to go outdoors. When coyotes, skunks, and other predators did not eat her, and she came home that night, I was relieved. It should be said I was glad I had not trimmed her claws, her best defense.
She continues to spend much of her time in the out-of-doors during the day, but she always comes home to sleep in my bedroom at night. When she has curled up for the night in her bed on the file box atop of my dresser, I give her a friendly good night pat. I know she appreciates my friendship because she will respond with an affectionate kitty kiss before going to sleep.
Cleo has learned, from me, I suppose, to treat failure and success, those two imposters, the same. She has developed a fine sense of dignified and apparent unconcern for the lavish attention others heap upon her. Cleo has the nobility to acknowledge such admiration with restraint and modesty.
Cleo is a good friend. Wherever I walk around my farm and whatever I am doing, Cleo is always there to judge and offer helpful criticism of my work. She is always ready to help when she sees I don’t know what I am doing.
Cleo is, in many ways, a ‘loner.’ She will go off by herself. I do not know where she goes or upon what occupation she is involved. She does not tell me, and I am not privileged to know. When she chooses to return, her fur is full of cockle burrs. As any friend expects of another close acquaintance, Cleo is always ready to allow me to comb the burrs from her coat. I count myself fortunate to be the friend of such a famous creature.
© 2017 PAL PUBLISHING/USED BY PERMISSION
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Visit Gene’s website; http://genepaleno.com/