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My Guru Has a Tail, Part 9: The Miracle

photo: Nicolas Raymond on flickr

photo: Nicolas Raymond on flickr

A few days after I first wrote this post, the Guru (aka our kitty Lucy) died suddenly of undetected heart failure. Although a tribute post will follow, 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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16 Responses to My Guru Has a Tail, Part 9: The Miracle

  1. Becka December 2, 2014 at 6:37 am #

    Thank you for sharing this story, Z. It was fun and inspiring to read about your experiences with your guru. My thoughts are with you guys.

    My miracle is that I am now a healthy and happy human being. I became depressed in elementary school and remained that way for about 17 years. I believed there was something physiologically and psychologically broken about me and that happiness was not possible for me. It took time to find the techniques that supported by transition to health and happiness, but it did happen. Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined I would be the person I am now. I am incredibly grateful for my teachers and for me not giving up.

    • Z Egloff December 2, 2014 at 12:25 pm #

      Hi Becka,

      Thank you for sharing this. That’s a pretty cool miracle. I’m grateful that you were able to find the techniques that helped you realize how awesome you are! :)


  2. Karen December 2, 2014 at 1:05 pm #

    Love this, Z! And may your sweet Guru enjoy her purr-fect new life in non-physical, perhaps once in a while even letting old St. Pete pick her up!

    Our two tabby cats don’t want to be picked up or held, either. But that doesn’t stop me from sneaking up on them and kissing them — which they promptly proceed to wash off with a vengeance.

    I love how miracles seem to happen suddenly but really are forming for quite a while in the realm of our happy thoughts before they pop into physical. Sometimes it just takes one more feel-good thought to evoke the manifestation.

    And today’s miracle — our kitty Cindy, who is usually extremely territorial and suspicious of her sister, Annie, actually took a nap on the couch beside Annie. Mark and I were so touched as only kitty parents can be. :)

    • Z Egloff December 3, 2014 at 12:09 pm #

      Hi Karen,

      Yes, the old “wash off the human stain upon my fur” maneuver!

      I’ve been paying lots of attention to my friend Barbara’s cat, Peanut, since Lucy passed over to non-physical. Peanut isn’t thrilled with this new state of affairs, however. She makes sure to wash off the evidence the minute I’m done petting her.

      Cats are truly one of the best exemplars of doing things EXACTLY as one wants them to be done. And not “giving a rip,” as Abe would say, about what anyone else thinks.

      And I love your couch miracle. Sweet!! :)


  3. Claire December 2, 2014 at 1:10 pm #

    I love getting to peep inside your heart thru your writings. I am going to go give my kitty some appreciation for being a Guru. We are so blessed by these four legged wise ones. Love to your heart, blessings to the spirit of sweet Lucy.

    • Z Egloff December 3, 2014 at 12:05 pm #

      Hi Claire,

      Give your kitty a pat for me. And for the Guru! :)


  4. Sherry December 2, 2014 at 1:23 pm #

    I had a tortishell cat who was the same way. She didn’t like to be held and would only let me pet her on special occasions.

    • Z Egloff December 3, 2014 at 12:04 pm #

      Hi Sherry,

      Yes, tortishells rule. In every way! :)


  5. Squirrel December 2, 2014 at 5:15 pm #

    Hey Z,

    So sweet. I think she was saying goodbye. Oliver did that shortly before his transition. It’s bittersweet. I love your Guru posts. Animals impart so much wisdom to us with no ulterior motive. They are so pure and close to the Divine. Like children, except less sticky and not as loud (save for birds). Blessings on her journey and love to you and Melissa. My heart broke when I read your fb post. She was a very special kitty.

    • Z Egloff December 3, 2014 at 12:04 pm #

      Hi Squirrel,

      Yes, I think that on some level, she knew that she was going to be leaving. So she let me have my way for a little while. Though it was really her way, because she was always in charge.

      She was a very special kitty. She brought lots of love to our lives.

      Thanks for your thoughts. :)


  6. Anne December 3, 2014 at 9:34 am #

    Lucy is quite like my daughter’s torti, Phoebe. Except, thievery must be added to Phoebe’s list of quirks. She loves shiny objects. Several years ago one of my favorite earrings disappeared while on a visit to my daughter. We searched everywhere. Fortunately, I kept the single earring because two years ago my daughter redecorated her living room and there the missing jewelery was found–down a flight of stairs behind the entertainment center. My prayers are with you.

    • Z Egloff December 3, 2014 at 12:02 pm #

      Hi Anne,

      Phoebe sounds like quite a character! I think that tortis all have distinct personalities. Lucy did have some thieving traits of her own, most with children’s pool toys. I’ve never heard of a cat stealing earrings before. I guess Phoebe is a classy girl!

      Thanks for your comment. :)


  7. Martha December 3, 2014 at 5:53 pm #

    What a great story!! Thank you Z. Such teachers our animal families are. Lou reminds me of my torti Sammy. She was a rescue at about 2 years old. It took her about 7 years to warm up to human affection. And for her last 5 years she couldn’t get enough. To say I basked in it is an understatement.

    • Z Egloff December 4, 2014 at 11:11 am #

      Hi Martha,

      Oh – that’s sooooo sweet. When kitties resist affection for a long time, it’s even sweeter when they finally realize how awesome it is to be loved. Glad that Sammy finally came around! :)


  8. Sara Nichols December 6, 2014 at 2:12 pm #

    Oh, Z, I am so sorry to hear about your precious Guru. I know that her sweet spirit is eternal and that no one can ever take her wisdom away from you, even though this body of hers has fallen away. How sad you must be. My heart aches for you.

    • Z Egloff December 10, 2014 at 12:18 pm #

      Hi Sara,

      Thank you for your thoughts. I know that the Guru will always be with us, which makes her passing easier.


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