photo: Nicolas Raymond on flickr

photo: Nicolas Raymond on flickr

A few days after I wrote this post, the Guru (aka our kitty Lucy) died suddenly of undetected heart failure. Although a tribute post will be forthcoming, I wanted to share the following with you in its original form. Everything here is a tribute to our feisty little Guru. We love you, Lou.


Can people change?

And by people, I mean thirteen-year-old cats who are both extremely spiritually enlightened and extremely set in their ways?

The answer to this question is Yes. People can change.

Even people who have absolutely no desire to change and no reason why they should alter their behavior to suit your needs, thank you very much.

And when people like that undergo change, it is nothing short of a Miracle.

Which brings me to my cat Lucy (aka the Guru) and her latest transformation. 

photo: z egloff

photo: z egloff

For as long as I’ve known her, which is over twelve years now, the Guru has no interest in being one of those wimpy lap cats.

She doesn’t even like to be picked up.

The only form of affection the Guru will permit is petting and fist-bumping.

No, this is not the fist-bumping that’s all the rage among the young and hip these days.

fist bump done again

The Guru’s version of fist-bumping consists of rubbing her little furry head against a human fist while being pet on her back. This particular combo sends the Guru into a wild and abandoned purring state, known to last for minutes at a time.

And then it’s over.

Once it’s over, the Guru has no interest in fist-bumping or being pet or anything having to do with anyone other than her Guru self.

photo: z egloff

photo: z egloff

Until the next time she decides that some lucky human is worthy of a session of Guru petting and fist-bumping.

Then, and only then, can affection be directed in the general direction of the Guru.

This is how we’ve lived for the past twelve years.

It has certainly suited the needs of the Guru. But it has not always suited the needs of me, the Guru’s keeper.

I love to have cats sit in my lap. I love to pick up cats and smush my face into their fuzzy bodies. I love when cats allow me to pour my affection freely upon their feline selves.

Which is why I attracted the Guru into my life. To teach me to go with the flow, respecting the natural cycles of life.

In other words, to leave her the %^#@* alone when she doesn’t want me to %^#@* with her.

photo: z egloff

photo: z egloff

I thought it would always be this way. Yes, people told me that some cats get more affectionate when they age.

But the Guru is a tortoise-shell. They are a different breed.

My parents had a calico cat named Olive, very similar in temperament to the Guru. Olive hated to be picked up. She definitely did not mellow with age, and I just assumed that the Guru would be the same way.

Except, as always, the Guru is keeping me on my spiritual toes. Again and again, she teaches me never to assume anything.

And thus it came to pass that, one day, I decided I would try – once again – to pick up the Guru.

Why did I decide this?

Perhaps it’s because I’m foolhardy. Because I don’t take No for an answer.

Or maybe the Guru beamed me a directive from her thoroughly enlightened mind.

photo: z egloff

photo: z egloff

Whatever the reason, I reached down and placed the Guru’s fuzzy little body in my arms.

And that’s when the Miracle happened.

The Guru didn’t try to squirm and get away. She didn’t try to bite me. She didn’t look at me like What the hell were you thinking?

She simply sat in my arms, purring away. In fact, her purring seemed to increase as I held her and petted her.

Could this be? What happened to the affection-averse Guru I had been living with for the past twelve years?!

photo: melissa phillippe

photo: melissa phillippe

In an instant, she had been changed into an animal that loved – completely loved –  being picked up and held.

At first I thought it was a fluke. Maybe the Guru had eaten too much grass that day and it had altered her judgment. Maybe it would never happen again.

But no. The next time I tried it, the Guru was just as happy to stay in my arms until I decided I was ready to put her down.

Now it was me who was determining the length of our affection sessions.

So it wasn’t just one, but two miracles that had transpired.

photo: melissa phillippe

photo: melissa phillippe

Weeks have gone by since I first picked up the Guru. She continues to bask in the affection.

I frequently ponder the meaning of the Guru’s latest lesson.

Is she teaching me never to give up hope? Is she trying to tell me that assumptions make an ass out of you and me?

Or is she simply reminding me that the Guru, and only the Guru, is in charge.


But I like to think that the true meaning of the Guru’s latest transformation is that we should never stop holding out for miracles.

Miracles are everywhere. Including in fist-bumping converts who now love to be held for indefinite periods of time.

Thank you, Guru.

photo: melissa phillippe

photo: melissa phillippe

Experienced any good miracles lately? Share your comments below!

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