Life Could Be Purr-fect if Only I Could Meow

By Lynn Ingram

Dear God,

I realize that this request may be a bit unusual. I mean, here I am, still in the midst of my first shot at this life thing, and I’m already thinking about how I’d like to spend my second go-round on this Earth.

I’d very much like to come back next time as a cat.

What has prompted this request is the fact that I’ve recently been acquired by a kitten. Actually, I’m confident that You are already aware of this new state of affairs. And I’m sure that You remember that I always had kittens when I was younger. And, despite the fact that I had other pets of various kinds, no doubt You’re aware that the kittens were always my very favorite four-legged creatures.

Here’s the thing: the more I pay attention to McGrath’s habits (that’s the kitten’s name, but You already know that, too, don’t You?), the more positive I am that I’d make an excellent feline.

In fact, it occurs to me that You may have already had this in mind, given the large number of characteristics I share with McGrath.

For instance, my original equipment package includes green eyes, and quite nice ones, if I do say so myself. (Thank you, by the way. I know I’ve said that before, but a little extra gratitude is never out of place.) Green eyes seem to be quite popular among the cat population, so that’s one little component that wouldn’t need changing.

Like most cats, I’m really fond of soft pillows and fuzzy, snuggly blankets; in fact, most things conducive to nestling and curling up for a nap rank high on my list of favorites. Speaking of naps, surely Thou knowest well how much I love my sleep and how easily I drift right off into dreamland. Like my kitty friends, a little stroking and petting suits me just fine. (And we don’t have to tell everybody, but I know that You know that more than once, I’ve actually tried to truly purr!)

Those friends of mine who are painfully honest would be willing to attest to my considerable talents at whining. Certainly, this is not one of the talents of which I am most proud. However, in making my bid for a return engagement as a cat, I think it’s worth noting that my whining talents could be a good foundation for the development of a perfectly mournful meow.

At the risk of sounding a tad indelicate, I’d just like to note that I don’t see the little detail about managing a tail as presenting much of a problem. Thou knowest well that as my years have accumulated, my own posterior region has – shall we say – grown in prominence. It seems unlikely that current trends will change, so I’m inclined to think that the addition of a long and fluffy tail would hardly be a problem. In fact, it’s conceivable that it could be a welcome addition. You know how we women have taken to using lovely scarves as distractions from less than lovely neck and midriff regions? Well, I could make a case for a gorgeous fluffy tail serving the same sort of purpose in regards to a generous derriere.

My one real concern is the legendary agility of the feline. Thou knowest, along with everyone else, that physical grace and coordination have never been my strong suits. I do still bear the scars from being the last one chosen for every single team that involved any sort of sport throughout elementary school. It is, of course, true that my last-chosen status was perfectly well-deserved. Even so, the pain of physical inferiority lingers. I would like to point out that, at the present time, I do have only two legs. Certainly, if I were to return to Earth as a cat, with the requisite four legs, there’s little question that my balance would be much improved. And then there are the claws! Possessing an attachment that would actually allow me to attach to surfaces could not fail to improve my skills in the agility and coordination department.

I do believe that I’ve presented a fairly complete and persuasive argument that I have more than adequate qualifications for the position of feline. In the interest of full disclosure, I feel I must also confess to the very selfish reasons I’d like to have a stint on earth as a cat.

To begin with, cats don’t wear shoes. Thou knowest my lifelong love of going barefoot. I am certain that You made my toes especially to rejoice in wriggling in the sweet green grass and that sugar silk sand you so generously sprinkled upon the beaches. (Again, thank You ever so much for those. Your talents in surface design and tactile pleasures are truly superb!) As You are all-knowing, Thou art more familiar than most with my abhorrence of shopping for shoes. Certainly, I have called on You repeatedly for patience and containment of my frustration when I have been forced to spend untold hours visiting multiple retailers in efforts to locate appropriate footwear for particular garments.

Which brings me to another point: Cats don’t have to get dressed. Oh, dear Lord, what a glorious thing You did when You created cats with permanent and lovely attire. My heart fairly leaps from my chest simply to imagine the great joy of arising each day already clad! No more looking for the soft yellow blouse (no, the buttercup yellow one simply won’t do) that goes with the garden flower print skirt and discovering said blouse to be either dirty or at the cleaners. No more slaving over the ironing board. No more loading and unloading the washer. No more staring at the closet and finding nothing that fits either my body or the occasion, despite hanger upon hanger of various garments. No more treks to shopping malls and overpriced boutiques.

Lord, sometimes I wonder – not to question Your infinite wisdom – if I was ever quite cut out to be a very good human female, as much difficulty as I have with some of the traditional feminine pastimes. I mean, there’s the shoe thing and the shopping thing – and then there’s the cosmetics issue. Cats aren’t required to paint their faces, or to pluck errant hairs from places both mentionable and not, nor are they required to dye and curl and highlight and spray anything. Do you know how delighted I would be to toss the eyeliner, the infinite shades of eye shadow, the blush, the mascara wand, the tubes of lipstick that now accompany me everywhere – just so I can appear to actually have lips? (I’ve been meaning to speak to You about that disappearing lip thing that comes with age. What IS up with that?). If I were a cat, I would no longer need the eyelash curlers, which, You must admit, could easily be confused with some sort of torture device. I could trash the tweezers – and the razors and the smelly depilatories.

I’d also like to note that I have never noticed a cat with wrinkles. It’s quite true that this escaped my attention until just a few years ago. It is, however, an issue that now seems to be, shall we say, creeping along in importance.

Regarding a subject slightly alluded to in the previous discussion about the tail, cats don’t have a problem with getting fat. I do know that some cats certainly acquire what might be considered a number of excess pounds, but in my experience, people just comment on how wonderfully cuddly such felines are. In addition, I have never seen cellulite on a cat. Even You will not argue with me when I note that certain body parts are not improved by the addition of dimples. (This is another one of those items on my list of questions for You. I mean, Lord, no offense, but was this just some kind of oversight? Cellulite? Really?) I have even seen the larger-than-average feline that could be considered positively regal in the bearing of an impressively-sized body. Truly, Lord, I could grow very fond of being affectionately referred to as wonderfully cuddly. And regal – well, let me catch my breath; I do suppose I could become accustomed to such regard.

Finally, it would not hurt my feelings in the least to give up what Lean Cuisine and Weight Watchers try to pass off as food. I’m quite sure that I would be happy with cat food. Frankly, some of the concoctions resemble certain elegant pates, and You know that I have always been fond of liver. Many, if not most, offerings for the feline diet seem to include seafood of one sort or other. Thou knowest that the sea’s bounty has always been my cuisine of choice. Could it be that You designed my palate in this life as a bit of preparation for a future engagement as a cat?

Lord, I do believe I’ve made a strong and convincing case for a second life as a feline. It certainly seems quite reasonable to me, and I hope You’ll take my qualifications into consideration. To improve my chances of Your granting my request, I promise to practice my meows and work on that agility problem – although I may not get around to those bits until a little later.

Because, You see, right now, I have this incredibly overwhelming urge to curl up with my fluffy pillows and soft blankets for a nice little nap.

Purr. Purr. Purr.

About this writer

  • Lynn Ingram Lynn Ingram would rather dance than eat three times a day – unless it’s steamed oysters that are being served. Lynn works as a clinical psychologist and part-time instructor in the psychology department at UNCW. Either or both of those jobs might account for why she recently tried to change the TV channel with her cell phone instead of the remote.

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One Response to “Life Could Be Purr-fect if Only I Could Meow”

  1. Letty Grayson says:

    A delightful article from an obviously happy author!!

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