The sits at the homes of big cat families are perhaps among my favourites. Quite often, the personalities of these cats are rather outspoken and more than once I was impressed by their cleverness and the way they handled situations. As if being in a group forced them to deal with situations well! This was certainly the case for Tonguç, the materfamilias of the household of eight. Years before, she had moved to Büyükada, the largest of the Princes Islands, with her owner and her mate Kara Biber, a gorgeous black cat. It turned out to be the start of a big cat family.
Briefly after our very first acquaintance, things were plain and clear: if attending a championship for becoming the world’s biggest cuddle cat, she would definitely be a strong contender. Her appearance had something endearing about it. As if she was still a young feline, instead of a 14 years-old lady! The way she was approaching me, was at least to say persistent. She wouldn’t shun competing with my laptop, as if she thought my lap was primarily her domain. But this optimistic kitty would not let herself be deterred by setbacks and would keep on looking for the best spot. Her most important criterium: close to me.
Fast-forward the time with one and a half years. I am visiting my beloved island again, and obviously that incorporates a renewed acquaintance with my favourite cat family. While talking to her owner, I feel something soft pushing against my leg persistently. Looking down, I meet a pair of green eyes with an inquisitive expression. She starts to meow, as if saying “hello there, can I have some fuss here as well?!” The visit leads up to the decision to repeat the sit of the previous year.
While most cats go their own way, as cats do, Tonguç seemed to be thrilled to keep my company. Her persistence was something I remembered well, and it was still present: she wants what she wants!
So even during my daily meditation, that would usually last a little over half an hour, she prefers not to leave my side. Although I am flattered, it is not entirely practical. Even in the later hours of the day the temperature can still get close to thirty degrees. And while most of the cats make themselves scarce as soon as I start chanting my mantra, she starts asking for attention instead. By pushing her head against my hands, that are lying in my lap in a mudra (hand position). It generally makes me laugh, as I can clearly feel her teeth due to an overbite. If this doesn’t work she starts licking my hand. It regularly gets me out of my concentration, but I persist, as if she provides me with a good exercise to stay focused!
In the end, she gives in. Her last resort, is to accept defeat and lie herself down next to me. Oftentimes with a paw on my leg. Would that be a mudra for cats?