Saturday, September 4, 2010

Changrak and Su-Ling

I have a fondness for cats. When my brother, Tom, and I were children we visited a farm where we were offered one of the barn cats as a pet. We wanted one in the worst way and so we begged Mom and Dad to allow us to say yes. Mom wasn’t keen on the idea at first. It took us a couple of weeks to wear her down. Eventually she consented to give it a try but she was adamant that she did not want a scruffy barn cat in the house. She decided to search the newspapers and the little notices pinned on the board at the Laundromat for something more appropriate. The net result was that we became the proud owners of not one cat but two. Apparently they came as a set. No kittens for us…Changrak and Su-Ling were two full grown Siamese cats. They had always been together and their previous owner wouldn’t hear of separating them.

Changrak, the male, was a handsome Seal Point and looked like I thought all Siamese cats looked…almost white with a brown face, tail, and legs. Su-Ling, however, was a Chocolate Point. She was brown with a black face, tail, and legs. She was the smaller of the two and quite timid. It took a little work to win her trust but with Changrak setting the example she soon came around.

I’ve heard some people say that Siamese cats are temperamental and not very friendly but we never saw any of that with our two. It wasn’t long before they became an integral part of the family. They were good company and always entertaining to watch. When they hunted they looked like miniature panthers stalking their prey. They would creep along with infinite caution, their bodies low to the ground, the tips of their outstretched tails twitching furiously just before they pounced. I could easily imagine them in the jungle somewhere. It was like having National Geographic come to life before our eyes. Once summer came and they were allowed outside it wouldn’t be unusual to hear Changrak at the door, his loud and insistent meows summoning us to see whatever small creature he’d caught. He always brought them home and we would try to show him that we were duly impressed….except for the time he released a live mouse in the middle of the living room in front of my parents’ guests. That got everyone hopping.

I’m not sure there is another animal on earth that can relax the way a cat can. Changrak loved to sprawl on his back, completely limp with legs pointing in four different directions and what looked like a contented smile on his inscrutable face. If Su-Ling happened to be curled up on someone’s lap that would be the exact spot Changrak wanted for his own nap. Nothing else would do. He would sidle up next to her and begin his campaign to appropriate her warm nest by licking her face and rubbing foreheads with her in seeming affection. She never failed to respond by relaxing under his tender ministrations. In moments she would be completely lulled, relaxed to the point of bonelessness. Then, in her moment of greatest vulnerability, Changrak would give her a mighty sideways heave, knocking her completely off her perch to land in an undignified heap on the floor. Without a second glance he would settle himself comfortably in her vacated spot purring in unashamed contentment.

He used that same strategy time after time and she never seemed to learn from past experience. He was obviously the brains of the outfit….or maybe she just figured the attention was worth it.


  1. I love the pictures for this one :)

  2. Nothing brings a smile to my face like old family pictures. Thanks for that.