The Sound of Happiness
I know that when I was younger, I could hear cats purring. There were a few strays that I used to sneak into my bedroom at night (they would jump on the windowsill and I would open the window). I always loved to hear them purr.
As I got older and adopted my own cats (no sneaking involved), it got to where I had to put my ear against their chest to hear them purring. Within the year or so before I lost all of my hearing, even that wasn’t a guarantee…there were many times I could feel the vibrations but heard nothing.
It was a real triumph when I was able to put my head near Beanie and hear her purring a few weeks ago! She’s one of those cats that purrs with gusto, and now I can easily hear her purring even if I’m just near her in the room. Thanks to my cochlear implants, I no longer have to rest my ear against her chest.
Three of our cats were feral when we trapped them and had them spayed two years ago. We brought them inside (they had been living under the deck) and made sure the two kittens, Allie and Gracie, got all their vaccinations. Their mom, Maxie, got her shots plus the vet cleaned and sewed up an abscess when he was spaying her. We wanted them to be safe so we gave them a place down in the workshop, never expecting them to become really friendly housecats. They’ve surprised us though. They all come around for petting and affection, we can brush and comb them, they’ll sit on the couch with us and come into bed with us. The only thing they really freak out about it is being picked up.
Maxie, the mom, is really kind of a love bug and will come over to me if I walk into the room she’s in. A couple of days ago I walked into the bedroom, where she was sleeping on the bed. She opened her eyes, stretched, and walked across the bed toward me so I sat down to pet her for a while. Although I’ve snuck in a kiss on the top of her head every now and then, it generally alarms her so there was no possibility of me laying my head on her back or chest to see if she was purring. All I could do was sit quietly while she walked around me, brushing up against me as she walked past, then butting her head against my hand to get me to pet her some more.
As I sat with her, I realized there was a sound in the previously-quiet room. Huh. I tilted my head as she rubbed her face against my hand. crunch … crunch … it was the sound of her grinding her teeth as she rubbed her face on my hand. It’s this weird little habit she has, which I’ve always been able to see (it looks a little like she’s chewing food) but I’ve never been able to hear.
Now there’s more sound. I rest my hand for a moment on her back…is she purring? I’ve never been sure if Maxie purrs because I can’t feel it or hear it. But now it’s unmistakable. For the first time ever, I can hear rumbling as she winds her body around me. I still can’t feel it as I pet her, but there’s no doubt that my little formal-feral is a happy girl.