Happiness is a Cat Who Cuddles

Two years ago, I adopted a feral, three-pawed cat that was living in my garage. I put food inside the door into the house, and when the cat came in to eat–it was very thin–I pulled the door shut and trapped it. It was not happy, but there was a lot of designer cat food and clean water and an electric heating pad to sleep on and nobody hassled it–the dogs kind of shrugged and gave it space and I petted it whenever it came near but otherwise, the cat stayed in the back of the house and we lived in the front–so it just settled in. Then it started coming to the door of the bedroom where we were hanging out–me typing, dogs sleeping–and watching us, ignoring me when I patted the bed for it to join us, chowing down on all that cat food and bulking up (it’s a Maine Coon and they are not small by nature). And then one day, it jumped on the bed, curled up beside me, and purred. I called it Emily William, since I had no idea what sex it was, and Emily W. moved into the front bedroom with us and never left.

Emily turned out to be a cuddler. She likes sitting in the bay window during the day, examining the landscape for whatever, but at night she’s right by my side, bumping her forehead into my arm to get an ear scratch, putting her head on my pillow to touch her nose to mine, squirming her way between me and Veronica as we sleep. I’m used to dogs being cuddlers, but a cat cuddler is a new experience for me, a big warm thank you and a soft demand for me to pay attention to this relationship. Happiness is Emily William settling in for the night, and settling me in, too.

What made you happy settling in this week?

69 thoughts on “Happiness is a Cat Who Cuddles

  1. I harvested some salad greens. I cleared space in my hydroponics units for broccoli. I’ve never grown broccoli, so I don’t know how much space to allow. I was going to start all the broccoli in mason jars, but dearest dotter is holding off the transplanting of the tomahto plants until after the T-storms, so I need to start them somewhere else.

    Jenny, did you ever get a hydroponic unit? You mentioned an AeroGarden, but if you’re moving soon, I hope you waited. If you didn’t wait, I hope everything survives the move.

    1. Allow a lot of space for the broccoli, back in the seventies during the oil crises my husband put in a vegetable garden. I think that is when The Victory Garden became popular on PBS. The broccoli was one of our favorites. Not the childrens. Once the main head is harvested broccoli shoots will grow out of the sides of the plant. One of my favorite recipes was hollowing out tomatoes, filling the cavity with slightly par boiled broccoli with garlic and butter and S&P then roasting in the oven and finish with cheese on top. The kids couldn’t get enough of my creations — not.

    2. I signed Raven up for more obedience classes. She knows “sit” and “down” but she needs work on “stay” and walking on a leash without dragging me off my feet. My happy moment was when the trainer pointed out that her feet are well-sized for her body, so he doesn’t think she’ll grow much more. Whew!

  2. I’m also defining happiness in terms of pet love today. Sparkle curled up beside me and Pixie curled up on my feet. Husband still curled upstairs in bed. I’m heading to the HotDocs festival today to see a documentary (with my high school ex-boyfriend) so that should be fun too. Then tomorrow I’m off to North Carolina for an overnighter – sales pitch to a client. Life is good.

  3. Yay for cats! I go to sleep every night with five cats on the bed with me. My “boyfriend” Harry Dresden has been sleeping up against my right hip since not long after I adopted him, and newest cat Lilibet (also sleek and black, but tiny instead of large) finally decided to join in after 7 months upstairs and another 4 downstairs not wanting to get near the others. She insists on sleeping at my left side, so I am basically a black cat sandwich and gods help me if I have to get up in the middle of the night.

    Cats definitely make me happy, when they’re not driving me crazy. (Like at 5:30 am, when they decide that my being awake means they should all hold drag races across the bed.) It also makes me happy that you took her in and she came around. I love a happy ending.

    My birthday was Friday and despite my lingering exhaustion post-Covid and the accompanying funk, I had a pretty good day. Lots of lovely messages online, my massage therapist brought out a tiny bowl of ice cream with a candle in it at the end of our session, and I went out to dinner with a friend who had moved away 8 years ago and finally moved back. The dinner was a bit of a disappointment, but the company was good. Getting a friend back is definitely a happy thing.

    1. Happy Belated Birthday to you, Deb. That surf and turf looked pretty good to me. Do you think your taste buds have been affected by covid? Don’t be offended but when I read about the bowl of ice cream after your massage, I couldn’t help but snicker just a bit. I just gave myself a good talking to.

      1. Feel free to snicker. There were pieces of chocolate almond on there too.

        The only way my taste buds have been affected that I can tell is a weird sensitivity to too much salt, which makes my mouth feel like it is burning. There was definitely too much salt on the steak, which didn’t help (typical of chef food, though), but I’m a foodie and so is my friend, so we are too aware of when things aren’t right. My shrimp were overcooked, the mashed potatoes were…mashed potatoes, and his chicken parm was good but not great. And the appetizer was a disappointment. The fact that this is one of the few decent restaurants in town meant we had high expectations. I would have made us a better meal at home, alas. It was still fun.

        1. I’m always amazed on the few times I’ve watched cooking reality shows how many chefs (at whatever level of training) smoke cigarettes. Makes me wonder how they can taste food properly, and whether the smoking-deadened taste buds contribute to over-salting.

          1. The over salting usually predates the smoking. When you use a lot of salt, your taste buds adjust to that level as normal and will only reset when you change your sodium intake. As for the smoking, that dulls all your taste receptors, not just those for salt, or so friends who have quit smoking tell me.

    2. Happy birthday! May birthday joy continue all year long. Cherish your moments.

  4. A couple of happies for me: first, my great niece is in her first dance competition and her group came in first in their division. She has a lyrical duet this morning that I’m headed out to in a few moments.

    Second, Kendra Scott is donating a portion of her sales of a specific necklace to Janae Edmondson… our little volleyball player who is adapting to life without her legs.


    Which leads to a third happy as Janae attended her senior prom last night!! I dont have pictures yet, but my niece was a chaperone and I’m sure I’ll see some. Will try to update this post when I do!!

    Lots of happies!!!

  5. This past year I have taken in four black kittens that were in my backyard. We are slowly getting them to the point where they are comfortable with us. One of them is jumping into my lap for short periods of time and that kind of joy is great. I already had to kittens born on my front porch and abandon by their mother, but I bottle-fed. They are now two years old, and they are both very much cuddlers.

    1. I know, I meant to put one up, but life is a little nuts here. I’ll get one later in the week.

  6. We adopted two kittens mid-pandemic. My husband’s first experience with cats up close and personal. They were a godsend, little bits of joy and annoyance during all the stress and anxiety.

    Yesterday I went to a botanical garden with a friend and that was lovely. And then we went out for Korean food and I ordered extra meals to bring home, since we don’t have Korean food in my town.

    And I took Monday off, so I still have one day of weekend left, which makes me very happy.

  7. We decided to take the grandog on a ride to the metal scrap dealer on Friday. Not a happy experience. Our son put the old grill in the back of the SUV and the clanging of the metal when we bounced along the road set her off. She scrambled from the back seat over the console, landed on my lap, all fifty or so pounds of dog muscle clawing on my legs, we had to turn around and bring her home. I feel bad because she does a little dance when she sees we’re going out and wants to come with us. I even brought treats. Her next outing is going to be the vet. We’re in for it.

  8. I enjoyed having a friend to stay for a couple of nights. Also grabbed opportunities for gardening. Went to three nurseries/garden centres yesterday and found some exciting new plants, including an Estonian clematis and a honey-scented yellow azalea that reminds me of my childhood home.

    And at long last I switched to a friend’s insurance broker – a cheery guy up in Yorkshire – so I didn’t have to battle with rip-off insurance companies to renew my car insurance. Plan to switch breakdown cover & house insurance too, which should save a lot of stress.

  9. I am jealous of all of you with cuddly cats, as my two aren’t. Teeger will sit on DH when watching tv, Sasha will come on the bed and asked to be petted at 4am (?) but other than that, very occasional cuddles. They cuddled more as new kittens, so I don’t know what the deal is. Sorry, whine over.

    Actually, this week provided many small things to whine about, but also some lovely things like a very successful show in CA that didn’t require me going there to help, very entertaining and useful conversation with boss, pleasant evening with friends, cake, etc.

    I appreciate our Sunday happies as a reminder to pay more attention to my own, and a chance to vicariously enjoy yours.

  10. I loved reading about Emily. We were on vacation and I got to see family members I miss, mountains I love, and our own bed after eight nights away from it. A great week!

  11. I’m so jealous. I’m almost 74 and for the first time since I was 5, I don’t have a cat. I have to get my cat fix seeing my friend’s cat pictures of Lucy, her foster kitten that she kept.
    My happiness is watching our new rescue dog, Moose, settle in. He’s scared of horses, but yesterday, he went for a ride in the mountains with us and the old dog, Dottie. It was good to see him relax and enjoy himself in the woods.

    1. Hey Steph, it might be new to you if you get another cat, but since you’re out in the hinterlands where there are wild critters, you might consider having an indoor only cat. It would save you the worry about predators. Installing a cat door that goes out to the garage will keep the litter boxes out there and not indoors.

  12. Jenny, I have two cuddling cats, and they are truly a joy. I get hugs from the grey tabby one when I am reading your blog and the news on the computer, and the black one one gives me hugs when she comes to check in from guarding the front door from squirrels and chipmunks. They are both rescues, but they rescued me from the isolation of COVID and being a single 78-year-old.

    My happy today is that on Tuesday I finally see my PCP and she will give me clearance for the cataract surgeries I really need and want. She will also give me a prescription for something that will help me endure the automatic BP cuff during the surgeries without freaking out. Yesterday, I spent two minutes pairing and repairing three pairs of black and navy socks so that the correct colors were together. Even under the overhead light, I couldn’t tell the difference unless I held each sock up to the other, over and over.

    Also, early on Monday morning, I see the dentist to get a crown which came off, put back on permanently. Friday morning, I chomped down on something hard, and it was not a nut. The dentist was in a conference all day, so a tech put the crown back on my molar with temporary cement. It’s been a long weekend, so far. I do not want to lose this small piece of metal, or swallow it, so I’m being very careful to chew on the other side, for now. She is getting me in before the regular work day. Bless people who care!!!

  13. To me, the biggest difference between cuddling with a dog and cuddling with a cat is that I have no compunction about moving or getting up and disturbing the dog.

    But to disturb the cat is something I try to avoid as long as humanly possible. To disturb a cat just feels wrong. It feels unpardonable. The height of rudeness. Lacking decorum and a proper sense of gratitude for the gift bestowed upon me by the cat.

    Or maybe it’s just that I know the claws will spring out and dig into me the moment I make even the smallest shift.

  14. My husband and I and one of our sons just spent a week in Normandy helping my oldest friend empty her late father’s house. She is divorced and her sister cannot be bothered to help.

    It was hard work and emotional but I am happy that we were able to be there for her and her kids.

  15. My cat happiness this week was my old man cat (only 14, but given his health issues (enlarged heart almost since birth plus diabetes, that’s something of a happy miracle in itself), and for once, there were no new problems. And the vet was great about listening to me when I said I really didn’t want to do “just in case” lab work, for fear of the blood draw triggering stress and relapse right when he’s doing really well.

    In other happiness, I’m seeing a trend toward younger doctors (and nurses) really believing “patients are the experts,” which has been a talking point for ten or twenty years, but too often actions have contradicted the words. But I connected with a young doctor doing research on the ortho-surgical aspects of my rare disorder, and he really seemed to have listened to patients and absorbed our perspective. And not long ago, my young nurse-practitioner, who had always been good about acknowledging that I knew more than she did about my rare condition, handed off part of my care to another person, and took the time to let the new person know that they should really listen to me about my rare disorder, because I really did know what I was talking about. And not in a condescending way, like I needed her seal of approval on my expertise. It just saved me the awkwardness of having to explain that no, I’m not one of those “I do my own research” crazies who rely on memes for their health care expertise, but instead, I study peer-reviewed medical journal articles! It’s frustrating that it’s taking so long for the “believe patients” message to be truly absorbed and put into action, but I’m encouraged to see signs of it starting to really take hold.

  16. Happiness is presenting Carmina Burana to an appreciative audience last night, and getting my Saturday mornings back–no more rehearsals! It was a bittersweet thing—our conductor is retiring after 17 years and the future of the chorale isn’t clear. The piece is not one of my favorites, but the soloists were incredible and we all did well. Another happy was being able to stand for the whole thing (with seated breaks when we weren’t singing). I’d needed to sit during part of evening rehearsals this week, so it must have been adrenalin.

  17. Happiness was sitting on the beach yesterday morning eating banana bread and drinking green tea with two of my beloved nieces. One of them has been visiting from Hong Kong, after not seeing her for five years, so it was a delight having her within easy reach. The beach sit was on her way to airport – she’s now gone home – but her sister and I are campaigning for her to move here permanently, and she’s thinking about it.

  18. A cat cuddler is extra good because of the purring. And the warmth, and the fluff. Not so much because of the not being able to roll over when they sleep between your ankles. But the sitting on the laps is pretty darn great.

    My great happy is that I finally contacted a friend who does garden and handyman stuff, and asked if he would rototill a patch for me to start my wildflower plot. Our usual yard guy is on a long job and not showing up. I was very close to just getting a little rototiller and having a bash. But that’s what would have happened, me bashing myself up trying to work on the thick grass and the famous Maine rocks in the soil. Rocks, rocks, rocks, rocks. And then, rocks. But my hero friend came and now I have an about 30 by 15 plot. It’s going to rain most of this week, so I’m taking the plunge. I have high hopes of wild flowers and bees by July. We’ll see.

    1. I understand that all six NEw Wingland states use the same joke, but I was from Connecticut, so it goes like this:

      What is the Connecticut State Flower?

  19. My Fergus is a cuddler; his sister Lily was not. Fergus loves to Lily on my outstretched legs at night and when I have to turn over (reluctantly, because I hate to disturb him, but my leg muscles are screaming to be stretched) he curls up as close to me as he can get. And when I am sitting in my chair either watching tv or reading, he curls up in my lap…unless the furnace is running, in that case he prefers to sit as close to the heating vent as possible!

    1. I should have checked more carefully before I hit submit…Fergus loves to lie on my legs, not Lily on them!

  20. No cats and my dog is not a cuddler. She does let me pet her once in awhile. She doesn’t come on the bed either. Her prior household trained her to stay off the furniture and that training stuck. I am happy to know she’s nearby. And she’s always nearby.

    Big happy is giving Pixie her walk every day this week despite the rain.

  21. It’s a great occasion when my girl Wendy decides she wants to sit in my lap. She hasn’t slept with us, because the boys are on the bed all the time, but this week, after her health scare, she decided that spending time in my lap would be a good thing. I ignored nature’s call for a good long time while she enjoyed herself.

    Otherwise my two boys are cuddlers, particularly at night. One sleeps on one side of my legs while the other takes the other side. I heard someone say that if a cat sleeps at your head, they are comfortable with you and feel you are the protector. If the cat sleeps at your feet, they are protecting you. If that’s the case, I’ve got my two boys making sure I’m safe every night.

    My happy this week was sending off the baby blanket to my niece and getting a picture in return of her son cuddled up in it. It was a darling picture and one that I’ll cherish!

  22. I weeded about 2/3 of my front garden and planted annuals in most of the biggest bed and a few small locations. I probably have about 4-5 more hours to do this week and then it’s all weeding and spraying (organic spray) and filling in bare spots as the spring bulb foliage dies back. I do love all the colors—they make me happy every time I see them. But I won’t be cutting blooms for the house for a while, although my irises look great. Also the cattails are coming back strong. That little patch of water garden always reminds me of Walden Puddle in Doonesbury but unlike Zonker I cannot snorkel in it.

    My lilac bloomed more vigorously than ever before and my two patches of lily of the valley are in full bloom. I know this isn’t horticulturally correct but I do love having my childhood flowers from New England even though I now live in Maryland.

    We had our wonderful reunion of seven friends from Brooklyn thirty years ago (including us) last weekend and have mostly cleaned up after it. We had seen each of them separately but this was the first time we had been all together. And we went right back to being the same group. It’s wonderful when you can do that with one old friend after long absence—it’s something else entirely with 7.

    Interestingly, of the seven kids of the group, at most one is straight. Two are trans, one is gay, one is non-binary, and one calls themself queer. The parents of one fully transitioned child and the parents of the child who is just starting transition had an emotional conversation about how you can love and support your child and still grieve things like no biological grandchildren or fear for their safety. With footnotes from the third couple (us). The single man, who is gay without a partner or child, just took it all in. I don’t think any of us would have predicted that 30 years ago.

    Another lovely thing about the reunion was hearing more about the weekly zoom Shakespeare reading that our single friend did all through the pandemic and continuing today (with other plays as well as repeats of favorites). It made me very jealous. I was also fascinated that sone wore costumes on top, some head to toe, some not at all, and my friend used finger puppets.

    I found a new word game—wordiply, on the Guardian site. I’m still figuring out how to play it well.

    We have nearly finished booking all the hotels and plane flights for the next two months . This was no small feat; DH goes to Japan, then South Africa, then we both go to his college reunion, then we go to London for the first commitment ceremony, then Edinburgh for a short vacation (still need a hotel there).
    Then back to London where I fly home and he flies to Toronto and then Bangladesh (plane from Toronto home and the Bangladesh trip not booked yet.) The relief of getting that done is huge . (Yes, except for the reunion, London and Edinburgh, it’s all work travel. )

    Finally, i have a surgery date for my parathyroids! The more I read about primary hyperparathyroidism the more I realize how many things that bother me are likely to improve after the surgery and I can’t wait.

  23. Two little girls delivered Girl Scout cookies today and my cat Dmitri decided to show off for them. He went on command to his chair, he sat up and he stood up on his hind feet. Then he noticed one girl had a stuffed toy hippo and did this whole routine of being terrified and worried about it once he noticed they thought he was being really cute. He was so convincing with sneaking up to it, sniffing it, backing up then running at it then scurrying off that I almost believe it. Of course cats have an amazing sense of smell and the chance that he could not smell the difference between a fabric toy and a live animal was almost nonexistent. It was so much fun to see a 5 year old and an 8 year old play with him. A very happy Sunday.

  24. The mystery plants have bloomed. Hyacinths/bluebells. Very pretty. Still the one lone Crocus no longer flowering. Planted two more peonies. Moving two to the front garden. Apparently peonies don’t like to move but it must be done. One popped up two years ago much to my surprise. The bluebells made me happy after another back breaking session in the back.

    1. Apparently peonies move fine, as long as you plant them at exactly the same level in the soil. Otherwise, they tend not to flower in the new spot.

      1. Peonies need to be planted really shallowly, with hardly any earth over the crown of their roots, or they will only make leaves and no flowers.

  25. I haven’t had a cat since mid-pandemic, but the puppy (can I still call her a puppy at 13 months?) is a very good cudddler when she’s tired.

    This week’s unexpected happy was a conference I had to go to, and present at, mid week. I thought my partner and I were just presenting at one of the smaller breakout sessions, but it turned out ours was one of the keynote sessions in front of everyone. Ack! It is amazing how long an hour and a half lasts when you are standing on stage with a microphone. The happy part is that the session went really well and I got lots of positive comments afterwards.

  26. Happiness is everything being the same as last week.

    We’ve been on tenterhooks all weekend waiting to know if my partner’s job is on the chopping block. Today we found out it’s not!

    In other words, our situation now is the same as it was this time last week, only now I realise that situation is awesome.

  27. “– A cat purring is one of the most comforting sounds in the world and while it certainly means your cat is happy and comfortable, the sound has also been long associated with a therapeutic healing ability on human bones and muscle. 

A cat’s purr creates vibrations at a frequency of 20-140 HZ, and studies have shown that frequencies in the 18-35 HZ range have a positive effect on joint mobility after injury, scientists have begun talking about how the cat noise could help humans.”

    I copied this from a site online. My black cat, Bast, is nuzzling my face and purring right now, after I got the crown replaced. There was an article yesterday in my news feed talking about how a cat’s purr strengthens bones and sinews.

  28. I stopped fighting myself and settled into the notion that the trilogy I’m writing is not working, at least for now, because the age bracket of the heroines is not an age I want to be today. And I can’t fathom how to make the books work if they’re older. So I put it down for the moment.

    Happiness was a discovery write for a novel that is something in between dystopian and utopian, both of which I don’t like – so in between. I am envisioning women my age living in ancient trees that populate little islands left after climate crisis becomes reality. Men could live on boats on the water.

    Two quotes from the discovery write:

    “Off topic already. Would a discovery write by Jennifer Crusie look like this? LOL Of course it would. She’s crazier than I am.”

    “Single sentence kernel idea* is also a work in progress.

    And no, Bob Mayer, it will not involve zombie pirates – oh wait – men on boats – huh…”

    *Reference The Novel Writer’s Toolkit by Bob Mayer

    I had a normal week except on Friday night when I went to the pawn shop to see if they had anything affordable in sapphire for my mom. There was a proudboy & wannabees thing going on at the counter where they had 3 automatic weapons out on the counter comparing. Luckily I managed to keep my mouth shut and walk out.

    Laughing at youtube videos of Ismo was the genesis of my happiest moments this week.

  29. My Aussiedoodle is very cuddley. I usually wake up in the middle of the night with her pressed against my legs.

    Trip back DR was uneventful. Long day and even without time change, I’m always tired after return travel day. Gave me an excuse to nap with my dog.

    I’m volunteering with an organization that helps women (re)enter labour force, including with work appropriate clothes. I had my first solo appt this week and arrived to find out it was in French. Mine is a bit rusty but the client was gracious about my minor mangling and we put together some very nice outfits for her.

    My seedlings – indoors and out – are coming along. Tulips are just starting to bloom. We collect all our veg/fruit over the winter in a garbage can on the back porch. DH usually dumps it into the compost bins but I did it myself (small loads). It was gloriously disgusting and stinky – it will give my compost a kick start for this season. Spring makes me happy – even the rain.

  30. One day I’ll have a cat again, but for now my animal-related happy is about the yard birds. The neighborhood parrots are back to chew on sunflowers. It’s hilarious. 😀

  31. Fred the dog and I went for a walk this morning which he really liked. We are trying to figure out ways to both boost his confidence and deal with Hannah’s over excitability. I’m thinking that if Paul and I both take them for a walk – separately and in different directions that will help. Trying to take them together is a nightmare. Even though they are well behaved as soon as we try to take them together they lose their minds.

    Toodles, my almost-18-year-old cat, has gained about 4 ounces which doesn’t sound like much but when you only weigh 6 lbs, it is. She has also (mostly, like 99% of the time) stopped peeing anywhere but in the litter box – or on the pee pads it sits on – which is a great relief, especially since we are going away.

    The snow is almost all gone, there’s just one small pile left to melt in the darkest, coldest corner of the garden and that will be gone today. Yay! There was the remains of a drift in the front yard but I went out last afternoon when Paul left for work (5:30ish) and flung it around and by 8 there wasn’t enough left to fill the smallest snow shovel.

    On Wednesday I go for my baseline cataract exam. I’m a little nervous and I’m not sure why. But I am looking forward the trip to the huge greenhouse I have planned for the next day. They have 120 varieties of tomato!

    1. 120 varieties sounds like punishment to anyone as indecisive as I am.

  32. All this talk about cats is making me even more determined to get one. I currently live in a rented ground floor flat on a main road, so it’s not practical at the moment, but when the money from the house sale comes through the desperate need for a cat might be the catalyst I need to start looking for somewhere to buy.

    This weekend, happiness has been the pop up Rotary bookshop where books were free (they asked for donations, I donated £10 for I think nine or ten books), then exploring parts of the town I’ve worked in for seven years but hadn’t visited until today. The weather has been lovely, I spent the day with one of my best friends, and we saw swans, squirrels, moorhens and lots of bluebells. Lovely.

  33. Winter is setting in down here, and my two cats are definitely feeling snuggly. I was away for the weekend and since getting home they have hardly left my lap. Visiting family over the weekend was also a happy – my older sister has just had a significant birthday and finally sold her west coast flat, so celebration was definitely the theme.

    Jenny, I’m so sorry about Mona. I hope you’re all doing okay.

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