4 O’CLOCK IN THE MORNING
It’s 4 AM in the morning, and I wake up thanks to my affectionate cat Rusty. Don’t get me wrong he’s a wonderful companion and friend. However, he wakes me up early in the morning and has for the last 14 years. It is a part of his morning routine. Every morning he wakes me up somewhere between three and 4 o’clock.
Fortune came my way many years later when Rusty came into my life. Rusty is a Devon Rex breed of cat. We adopted he and his sister when they were 16 weeks of age. I can remember the breeder mentioning to us that he was “special”. He was special in that he tolerated all kinds of play. It didn’t bother him at all if you held them upside down or one way or the other. In addition he was extremely people oriented and just loved to be around people. That is not to say most cats are not people oriented but he has a “special” personality. We noticed as he grew older he had an unusual fondness to be with people. He always loves to watch workmen as they do some repairs in her home or if a plumber came his usual cleaning of the furnace. There, sitting in a supervisory position was Rusty watching and approving everything that went on. I learned rather quickly that he was and is a complete and special soul. In fact, as I write this article he is sitting in front of me looking at me directly in my eyes.
This year, he will be 14 years old. He has not lost any of his enduring characteristics but has become my constant companion. He follows me everywhere I go, sleeps with me, and always wants to be very close. We’ve developed a relationship where I know when he wants food or water or attention which are all the usual things people give their pets. However, he has a distinct personality which is different from any other animal I have ever experienced. I know one thing; I will certainly miss him terribly when he passes on. He has become more to me than a cat. He’s become trust, love, and a teacher of life. As he sits next to me, he is in that pose cats give which allows them to burrow into our heart. You can see it in his eyes when he twists his head to the side. Perhaps that’s me interjecting human qualities to animal but this little guy has affected me more than any other human individual has in my life.
If we as humans had as much faith in our friends and companions as this little guy has in me, the world would be different. If we had the patience that he has, a commitment to loyalty, and 1/10 the conviction that this little guy has, our world would be different. What makes some animals so incredible? What makes them know when you’re sick? What makes them understand how to be compassionate or read your moods when neither of you share a common language? Rusty knows me better than I know myself. He can tell I’m happy and know where to sit on my lap, next to me or on my side, when I’m sleeping. He knows when I’m sad and wants to make me happier. He knows when I’m sick and tries to make me well. They say we humans are the most intelligent life on earth, I ask are we? Who are we attempting to kid?
These thoughts and others are the things that run through my mind at 4 o’clock in the morning. If I allow them to flow through and don’t write them down, they quickly fade from my consciousness. This is a day in which I remember memories of years gone by and appreciate the lessons taught by a little boy who shows me only love, devotion, and trust. Some would call him a cat, but to me he is my constant friend and companion. I closed my eyes felt at peace while stroking the back of my little teacher and mentor, Rusty. This day just became a better day.