Taz the Teddy Bear Cat, teaches the life skill of Flexibility…

Number 16 out of 28; this piece is part a Blog Challenge to write and publish a post, every day of the 28 days of February 2015, from Sandra Peachey – the author of ‘Peachey Letters – Love Letters to Life’.

It is Day 16 of my February Blog Challenge and despite the fact that we are now over half way through, I promised several days ago to effect some introductions… So far I have just (formally anyway) introduced you to my Number One Cat – George. Now it is the turn of my next feline friend, and whilst I would also claim to have a poor memory (since it seems that I am forgetting my manners), let me start to put that social faux pas straight and introduce you to Number Two Cat – Taz.

Taz 1

Now the Numbers denote only the order into which my marvellous moggies came into my life; they in no way delineate their ranking or the degree to which any of them is loved. I couldn’t actually love any of the cats of The Pride any more or less – for one of the many splendours of love, is that you love differently, every time, with every one…

And so to Number Two Cat: Ladies and Gentlemen, please say hello to Taz, a beautiful boy, covered by a coat of long black fur, but definitely not black or bleak in personality.

He is, in the furry flesh – a living, loving, breathing teddy bear of a cat. So when a Polish friend of mine told me that the word for teddy bear in her native language is ‘Misiu’ (pronounced ‘me-shoo’), then this naturally became Taz’s nick name. It also means a cute and cuddly personage, and my Taz-zy boy is all that too.

When ever I return to the Cave, love and social decorum dictates that all my cats are greeted in turn with a hello and a humo-feline hug. When it is Taz’s turn, I pick him up, and this despite the fact that he weighs a proverbial ton. To hold him is like draping a soft, furry hod of bricks over your right shoulder. But that heaviness melts into a solid hunk of love, as he stretches out in purring, nuzzling pleasure, and we are lost, for a few seconds, in an adoring connection of female and feline affection. Then reality and gravity weigh back in, the loving burden becomes too heavy and so I put him back down on the ground, with all four paws on the floor again.

Down at ground level Taz then leaves me in no doubt as to where he wants this relationship to go next. He demands to be fed. So after the formalities are over, what ever the time of day (or night) he tries to guide me to the area of the kitchen where the feeding bowls reside (since he knows I have a bad memory and that I may have forgotten).

Guiding aside, he will also try to stare a meal out of you. He has the hugest pair of green gimlet eyes, which he can widen and intensify at will, turning them on you, to bore into you like two lightening laser beams.

Taz, in common with most cats has a survival instinct which means that he and the others of The Pride will flexibly and happily take food from where ever it is offered, meaning that Taz and all the cats will guzzle their grub from any source in the house, be that a human house mate, friend or whom so ever.

Taz though takes this to a whole new level. Our cave acquired a new human house mate a couple of months ago, called Pia. She is an early riser and offered, almost immediately, to feed the marauding moggies of The Pride when ever I am not around. Not being a morning person, I am almost never around first thing…

As well as being an early riser, Pia tends to go early to bed, and firmly closes her bedroom door against the world. Taz will then almost invariably stand (or I should say sleep) guard – curling up tightly, to snore – by that same door; waiting out the long, dark hours until she rises and is ready to feed him again, or else trip over him on the way to the bath room…

Taz has that flexible feline trait of learning quickly and taking action there on, in abundance. It is a characteristic which has served the domestic cat and their wild forebears well. I once read in fact, that it is this flexibility which has made Felis Catus – the tamed cat we are all familiar with, one of the most adaptable and therefore successful of domesticated creatures.

And it is this flexibility that is one of the fundamental lessons that Taz teaches me. I like to think that in a world full of flux, I can constantly evolve and easily adapt. And when like Taz I accept change, I can then most easily make the necessary changes to cope and then to thrive.

When I am inflexible and entrenched instead, that, so often is when difficulties arise. It is when situations and life get harder. Despite all my life’s work and personal development, there are still times when I bemoan my fate or my choices or what impact some one else’s actions are having on me. It is like having my feet stuck in setting concrete – even though I can shout and wave my arms around, when I refuse to accept and adapt, it means that I am well and truly fixed to one, solid spot.

Flexing my flexibility muscles sometimes takes some effort – I have a life time of pre-disposition and experience at my disposal after all. Yet if I can be flexible in my thoughts and my approaches, then it follows that I will naturally start to have more choices. To ‘think cat’ in this instance is to accept, then flex and adapt and in doing so, learn more deeply and move on more quickly. And then, I will find that the concrete boots holding me painfully down, have started to dissolve and will invariably crumble to dust, and I will find myself free and bare footed – always my favourite way to travel.

And Taz, for all his fine feline intelligence is still a simple, kitten soul, who values, food, independence, and also I am delighted to say – love. He gives and receives of love in its’ most simple, unaffected and affectionate guise.

So Taz really is, in my completely inflexible opinion, the most magnificent of lucky black cats…

PS: Did you know that a collection of my ‘Peachey Letters’ have been gathered together in to a beautiful book, cats and all?  I’m completely biased of course, but it makes a purrfect present, for you or the cat lover in your life… You can buy it from book websites any where in the world, including Amazon (in both Paperback and Kindle)

Letter to Leo – a Loved Lost Pet

From the author of Peachey Letters – Love Letters to Life:

A lot of us humans have animal companions in some way, shape or form.  In the last week or so, several people I know who share their animal experiences on Facebook, have had feline friends who have been taken from life ‘early’.  In my maudlin moments too, I dread losing any of my Peachey Pride of cats.  So I wanted to write a ‘love letter’ for every one who has had an animal companion pass away; to offer some comfort and gratitude and most of all to celebrate these amazing gifts of God, that are so graciously and lovingly loaned to us human creatures.  This letter was prompted by the passing of Leo, the companion of Caroline Ashby and her family.  She shared his life stories and pictures on Facebook, so, somehow, he became my cat too.  I was so sad and shocked then to find out that he was run over and killed this week at just 18 months old, about the time when he had become an adult.  But not just for Leo, this is a letter to ALL such animal gifts from God, for anyone who has loved, then lost their creature companion, and ultimately gained by having them in their lives.

Sandra Peachey – Cat Guardian & Companion.

Dear Leo


You were a kitten gift to us, a beautiful black and white ball of wonder.

A true gift in every way, showing us how to live life in glorious cat technicolour, even though you were made in monochrome…

You were bought into the home for Robert, who was the cat man, yet now he, Caroline and Emily are all cat people for ever… and that, Leo was your gift.

Leo – you were loving, clever and so self possessed and these things were your gift too.

You were a proud hunter, out there in the jungle of your outside world bringing back the family and yourself your clever catches. And that was a gift too, not always appreciated by the humans of the pride, but still, it was understood… 

You dealt with dogs, those alternative creatures who shared YOUR home, and you knew… You knew how to take charge, how to play and how to let them love you. This was your gift… of course.

And Caroline shared your life and your pictures with us all and that made you everyone’s cat. The everyone who loved your debonair poses, your sleek self assurance and the every day tales / tails of life in cat. What a gift!

You Leo, are a creature of God. All of you magnificent creatures, in what ever pet form you take (cat, dog, rabbit, goldfish, mouse, etc etc) are on loan to us lucky humans. That you were on loan for us for such a short time feels hard to bear. But what a gift you were and are Leo! We have learned so much from you, got so many purrs and rubs, got so much laughter and pleasure and so let’s choose your loving legacy. So for me the choice is that you are a gift with a big red ribbon on (and knowing you, the ribbon wouldn’t stay on for very long…). 

It feels like you were taken from life too soon. Too soon for us, any way. Is that fair for any one? That is what I have felt, but not what I know, when I think with love of where we are. For me, the knowing is that you had your time. That was the thing about you Leo, it was always YOUR time and so thank you, so much for giving it to us. And that is a very rare gift.

We must allow time to grieve and be sad, for that honours what we felt for you, my furry friend. Because you gave us so much, we feel so much now. But I want to celebrate you too. To celebrate the distinct spark of living light that you were. And since I believe we don’t disappear when our bodies stop, I can safely say this to you, where ever and in what ever presence of being you are now. 

And Leo, what ever any one thinks about what is next, nothing changes that we knew you, that you will stay in us and with us for ever and that you made such a marvellous and magical difference. So you, my little one, are a warm, true and loving gift.

So farewell to the one physical element of you, little lion; the gorgeous, perfect gift from God that you are and always will be.

With love and a delicious chin scratch…

   From Sandra xx

PS: The author of this ‘Love Letter to Life’ has published a whole book of these gorgeous ‘Love Letters’, for more comfort, inspiration and a poetical exploration of life.  You can peruse it, dip into it or read it from cover to cover – whether to entertain you, gently answer life’s puzzles, to celebrate or simply to know you that are not alone. You buy your own copy of Peachey Letters – Love Letters to Life on Amazon and book websites around the world, in both paperback and Kindle.