Elizabeth Melton Parsons


Do Cats Really Have Nine Lives?


Unlike most of my family, I’ve always been an animal lover. We traveled a lot for most of my childhood, so we never had any pets. That is until one of my older brothers fell in love with a Midwestern beauty and Dad decided to buy a farm, giving my brother a chance to stick around and court his new love. They eventually married, but that’s another story.

Once established on this large farm, Dad adopted a stray dog, a big, yellow male he named Ring because of a distinctive darker ring around his neck. Not long after, a large tomcat sauntered into the barnyard and Dad adopted him as well. Voila! We had pets, only the first of many we’d have over the years.

Mom never liked animals in the house and she didn’t have to worry about Dad, as he abided by her wishes and kept them in the barn. My siblings weren’t a problem either, as they weren’t particularly fond of any kind of pet. I, on the other hand, was quite a trial. I’d bring home not only everything I could catch, but also any critter injured on the road. They’d end up in a box in my bedroom where I’d nurse them back to health. This included many snakes, lizards, birds, kittens, puppies…you name it. Mom threatened to throw me out of the house once if I didn’t get rid of the healthy green snake I’d been keeping as a pet. I loved my Mom, so I returned it to the woods where it belonged.

I believe Dad may have liked animals almost as much as I do, even though he pretended otherwise. His excuse for having cats was to rid the barn of mice. And he only had dogs to protect the property. Yeah, right. I think he especially had a fondness for cats because every time winter temps would fall below freezing, he’d bring Tom into the kitchen. Tom was that very first cat Dad had adopted. Mom wasn’t crazy about having the cat in the kitchen, but she was kind hearted and didn’t want the cat to freeze. Unfortunately one winter night the temps fell well below zero and when Dad went to get Tom, he was no where to be found. Every hour on the hour Dad would go out and look for him.

About three in the morning he finally found him. Frozen stiff. He came into the kitchen with Tom in his arms. It was the saddest thing I’d ever seen. The cat was rock hard. Dad lined a cardboard box with soft rags and put Tom in. Then he set the box on top of the large wood stove in the kitchen and built a small fire. I was horrified, thinking he meant to throw the cat into the fire. He didn’t. He just left the box setting on the stove. Mom asked him why he’d brought the dead cat in the house and he answered, “I have hope.”

At the time I hadn’t a clue what he meant, but understood later as Tom sat on the floor lapping warm gravy–gravy that Mom had given him in one of her best dishes. Maybe Mom didn’t dislike cats as much as I’d thought. Old Tom had a very long life or maybe it was two lives.  

I still love cats, but hadn’t had one for many years. Recently someone dropped a half grown Havana Brown near my house. After watching him for a week or so and realizing he was starving, I brought him in the house and adopted him or he adopted me…something like that. He’s a little sleepy here with his large, green eyes half closed, but beautiful, huh?


Author: Elizabeth Melton Parsons

I'm a novelist, poet, and artist. I love books, nature, art, and gardening. I'm a rock hound and there's a photo of me with a cool fossil rock on my about page, I take a lot of nature pictures. The background here is one of mine. Unfortunately I recently lost my wonderful husband, but I'm grateful to have the blessing of two beautiful sons. elizabethmeltonparsons.wordpress.com is © Elizabeth Melton Parsons 2007-2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Elizabeth Melton Parsons with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

2 thoughts on “Do Cats Really Have Nine Lives?

  1. I never knew any of that story. Mom and dad never let us have pets so I played with every toad worm or spider I could catch in our yard. Tonya brought home a kitten one time for like a minute. Dad put an end to it as soon as she came in the door. Then after Tonya and I moved out there were fish, a bird, a turtle, a dog and a cat! My first pet was a boa, then a bearded dragon, then finally a cat, now I have two dogs. The second dog showed up on our doorstep as a starving puppy, all his ribs and backbone showing. We fed and watered him and said we cant afford to keep him. Took him to our local shelter where my husband was told he was “food aggressive” and would be put down. My husband was already in love with him so he brought him back home. He is a great dog, and very protective. I called an ambulance a few weeks ago and it took all my strength to hold back this little 50lb dog so they could come in! I can’t imagine not having a pet now. We need to talk more often so I can hear all the things mom never tells me! Also, I hope the rewriting of your book is going ok. I always look forward to reading them!


  2. Hey, Tina
    Thanks for stopping by. You know you can call or come visit any time to chat. As for the rewriting, not going so well. Guess I’m too depressed from losing so much work. But I’m sure I’ll eventually get over it. 🙂 Take care.


“Our opinions do not really blossom into fruition until we have expressed them to someone else.” ― Mark Twain

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