Endearing Things Hope Does

— She stretches as she walks. She never stops moving, but her whole body gets long and stretchy, and one leg stretches out in the back, “toes” splayed out, then the other leg.

— She lies in bed, facing away from me, in a classic passive-aggressive cat pose. When I get up to move or whatever, she looks over her shoulder at me. It’s so adorable.

— When I start to pet her and she is all relaxed, it is like I can almost see her thinking. “Hmm. I like this. I am feeling comfortable right now. That touch feels really good. I’m not sure how much further I should allow her to go. I am concerned about my dignity. I need to keep a LITTLE bit of myself to myself.” But then she throws caution to the wind, and rolls over on her back, legs spread open, arms up in the air, giving me full access to her belly. It’s hilarious. It never comes right away – she has to talk herself into it.

— When she greets me at the door. Sometimes she seems to pretend that she’s ‘over’ me, and will start to give herself a random bath at those door-greeting moments, as though to let me know, “I’m not REALLY that happy to see you.” But her purrs tell another story.

— How she sits at the window, ears alert, staring out at the world. I glance into my main room and see her little hunched-up back at my windowsill and laugh out loud.

— We are now at the point in our relationship where she drapes herself around my head as I sleep. I wake up smothered in fur.

I post this today explicitly for the gentleman who was nice enough to email me and tell me it was “stupid” how much I “anthropomorphized” Hope. It “annoys” him.

You know what’s really stupid, sir? Taking the time to email some woman you don’t know and be a whiny bitch about how she writes about her cat! Or – not even the email part – but to actually waste the emotional energy to be “annoyed” at someone else’s posts about her pet. That’s what’s truly stupid!


So of course I need to write posts where I anthropomorphize her even MORE. I’m contrary that way!


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43 Responses to Endearing Things Hope Does

  1. Rob says:

    Geez, what is it with people? Change the channel, turn the page, click the mouse …

    Besides, it’s not all that bright to provide a brilliant red, pulsating button for someone to push. :)

  2. amelie says:

    does hope have personality, or cattitude? i’d say both!

    [[feel free to groan at the punniness.]]

  3. lynD says:

    HA! Hope sounds almost as cute as my girl ;)

    How nice that the gentleman has such a full and balanced life that your post can so disrupt his day.


  4. brendan says:

    what I find annoying is your habit of anthropomorphizing inhuman morons.

    please stop it immediately.

    hee hee!

    type anthropomorphize three times fast and see what happens…




    I love Hope!

  5. Ken says:

    There was an old commercial from the ’70s, might have been cat food. The last line of dialogue was some sweet old lady saying, “Dogs are dogs and birds are birds, but cats are people.”

    Our two kittens and our spaniel are a criminal gang.

  6. brendan says:

    Our two cats (siamese sisters) are secretly plotting their escape at all times.

  7. As another man you don’t know, I love to hear your observations about Hope. Anyone that doesn’t understand that cats are sentient creatures has something missing from their souls.

    Cheers, Kellie.

  8. Grey says:

    Cats aren’t human. By definition, they do not feel human emotion, whatever that is… but the idea that they can’t feel feline emotion is just bizarre! Cats have a limbic system, much like ours. Cats also show outward signs of emotion, much like we do. Lastly, cats learn to react to displays of both human and feline emotion in relatively sophisticated ways. Thus, it is totally unscientific to conclude that they only seem to feel emotions — this is pretty clearly an attempt to explain away something, rather than to explain it. Fortunately, modern affective neuroscience has begun to take the issue of animal emotions seriously.

    We humans may or may not understand them correctly, and cats may or may not share the full range of human emotion — I personally suspect there’s a good dash of “not” on both counts — but there’s no question in my mind that cats can think and feel.

    I think this person has a very interesting take on the issue:

    At any rate, I don’t think your pet posts are excessively anthropomorphizing, and I hope you’ll continue them, pun fully intended! I like hearing about Hope. :)

  9. Stevie says:

    Oh, pshaw, Mister Man. Nothing you ever say about Hope is anthropomorphizing – it’s all innately catlike behavior, with a large dose of unique Hope personality (like all other cats I’ve ever met). I’m delighted with every report, personally.
    Love and hugs from BG and Stevie xxxx

  10. deirdre says:


    (Soylent green, V2.0)

  11. red says:

    Grey –

    My “HOPE IS HUMAN” scream at the end is a joke meant to piss off the jackass who wrote to me. No need for a treatise on why cats AREN’T human.

    It was a joke. Sigh.

    Also – what is it anyone’s business if I anthropomorphize or not?? I’ll write an entire cat-diary post from Hope’s point of view if I feel like it. Actually, now I feel I HAVE to!

    I no understand the issue!

  12. red says:

    Stevie – I miss BG!! Even though I only got that one teensy glimpse of him when he came out into the room and stalked around in a circle, never taking his eyes off me.

    So cute!!

  13. Cullen says:

    Anthropomorphics! It’s like an ’80s-era comic book revolution up in here!

    I love the Hope posts by the way.

  14. Emily says:

    Dude, if this guy has a problem with your anthropomorphizing cats, someone should tell him to never, ever, under any circumstances, watch Grizzly Man. That would probably send him into a homicidal rage.

  15. red says:


    “Listen, Mr. Chocolate, Jezebel is just flirting. You need to be more patient with her. We all know how women are, and Mr. Chocolate, I know you’re hurting right now, but please don’t get so angry!”

    Dude, “Mr. Chocolate” is a grizzly bear. Not only is it his JOB to slay all the other males who want to screw Jezebel, it will also be his JOB to eat you and your girlfriend. HE’S A GRIZZLY BEAR.

  16. De says:

    How is it possible that someone can go onto the internet and take ANYTHING seriously?

    I mean really…who would think Sheila believes Hope is human? Surely we would have had signs of her insanity long before this! ;)

  17. red says:

    De – hahahaha I know, really. I think some people just don’t get my sense of humor, which mainly is based on absurdity and hyperbole.

    And a healthy dose of insanity too!

  18. Grey says:

    My “HOPE IS HUMAN” scream at the end is a joke meant to piss off the jackass who wrote to me. No need for a treatise on why cats AREN’T human.
    It was a joke. Sigh.

    Oh, sorry that part of my statement came off badly — I got the joke, no worries. I hadn’t meant it to contradict you, just thought it needed to be said before I went into the rest of the stuff. Half the time people freak out and scream “ANIMALS AREN’T HUMAN!!1!” anytime you start to talk about emotions (as if there’s any proof, or even evidence, that humans are the only creatures with emotions), so I always start off by stating that they do not feel “human emotions” by definition, in order to try and preclude most of the usual crap. Sadly enough, I’ve found that there IS a need for a “treatise on why cats aren’t human”, because otherwise people freak out. :(

    Sorry if it came out wrong. I don’t understand “the issue”, either!

    At any rate, I think you ought to do an entire post about Hope’s secret position in the International Cat Cabal, just to drive the point home. :)

  19. Emily says:


  20. red says:

    Grey – Thanks for clarifying!!

    i was just having a conversation recently with my friend Ted who is studying neuroscience and we were talking about animals – and what it must be like to have no language. How we, as humans, name things, label them … Sometimes I do look at Hope and wonder how she sees the world.

    But she obviously has emotions like fear, sometimes pain (her ear is all scratched up right now, self-inflicted) – contentment – It’s strange how people get all up in arms about this, isn’t it?

    I don’t know – I pet her neck and she seems happy. Why does that stick in people’s craws?

    There is definitely a Cat Cabal of wild strays who hang out in our backyard and it seems almost cruel to not let her go out and cavort with them. But as much as it pains me, I’m keeping her inside. This is an urban environment, she shouldn’t be out there. But she sits there, STARING at the cat activity going on out there, making weird moaning sounds at the back of her throat.

  21. DBW says:

    Let’s face it, we should all just accept our feline overlords, and be done with it.

  22. melissa says:

    Hope needs a blog :-)

  23. Stevie says:

    BG misses you, too, Sheila! You’re one of the only humans he’s allowed to glimpse him in three years. He’s about 20 years old now. His drool is so prolific that I have to put a terry cloth towel on my shoulder when we snuggle. He about went nuts during the marathon cooking of the turkey – the aroma was just too much for him. But it turned out his favorite was mashed potatoes and gravy! (Mine, too, actually.) xxx Stevie

  24. I have to moderate comments on several sites for my job — YouTube, Yahoo Shine, etc. Comment sections have always been a free-for-all but it seems that lately, far more people have bugs up their butts. It astounds me that they take the time to write such hateful, mean things. The racism and homophobia are stomach-turning.

    I cannot and will not ever understand that mindset.

    P.S. Have you seen the Catbook application on Facebook? Hope can have her own page and she can friend other cats.

  25. De says:

    I don’t want to blog this but we have a library cat now.
    Someone dumped three kittens off here and two quickly disappeared leaving the third one alone, hungry and scared.

    We eventually brought him in and he’s been a bit hit.

    His name is….


    I’ll have to send you pictures. He’s got the run of the library and there is no telling where you’ll find him.
    Laying on a keyboard?

    It’s his library now!

  26. De says:

    That’s supposed to be “big hit”.
    You’d think I’d learn to preview by now!

  27. Emily says:

    “Stacks” for a library cat! That’s a great name!

  28. red says:

    I love Stacks already! Every library needs a cat of some kind!

  29. tracey says:

    Oh, my God. I wanna crack some skulls. I cannot deal with the steady stream of this lately.

    Following Emily’s idea: I now need to have an Obama “Hope” poster for my window with Obama replaced with actual Hope. I NEED it. NOW.

  30. red says:

    I wish I was better at Photoshop – I’d make you a Hope poster!

  31. tracey says:

    Seriously. It is all I can think of. Someone must know how to do it — from a picture of Hope. T-shirts. Posters. Mugs. Mousepads, haha. She can be her own little cottage industry. I would wear my HOPE t-shirt with pride!

  32. red says:

    This could be the image.

  33. tracey says:

    Hahahaha! Yes, that’s perfect. Okay, forgive me, I don’t know how to do links in your comments, but I DID find a site with a bunch of examples of this, so it can be done. And there’s a link on this site to some tutorials …. I kind of like the Genghis Khan one …

    Uhm, okay, link that I don’t know how to do:


    Drat. I know that didn’t work. You’ll have to type it in, sorry!!

  34. tracey says:

    I hate myself. I am obsessed. With that image and the tutorial, someone could do it! Someone who reads you must be great at Photoshop. Again, I am obsessed and loathsome and I promise I will not talk about this anymore!

  35. Emily says:

    Ken’s pretty good at Photoshop, Sheila and Tracey. I could ask him.

  36. Kate P says:

    Oh, man, the dude should know better than to dis Hope. Hope is good people! I am so glad you and Hope found each other, Sheila.

    I’d like a Hope apron when that cottage industry gets started.

  37. just1beth says:

    What a dickwad. I hate him. I love Hope. That’s all there is. The end.

  38. Kerry says:

    I’m just catching up on this, but now there is another stupid idiot reading Sheila’s blog who needs to be punched in the mouth. Dude, go elsewhere if you don’t want to read about Hope. Write your own blog. Get a life.

    I, for one, LOVE the Hope posts, and I love Hope. And I would like to see pictures of Stacks.

  39. Erik says:

    I love the Hope posts too! And she is gorgeous in that photo you linked to.

    Sometimes I’ll wake up to find my cat Cathy “grooming” my beard, and if I turn my head away, she’ll reach out and try to pull my chin back and then give me this annoyed look, like she’s thinking: “Hello, I’m not done cleaning your beard, stop moving.” IT’S SO HUMAN-ESQUE OF HER.

  40. Mark says:

    Following Emily’s idea: I now need to have an Obama “Hope” poster for my window with Obama replaced with actual Hope. I NEED it. NOW.

    Sorry I’m late. Here you go. And here’s a smaller, less bandwidth hogging one.

  41. red says:

    Mark!!!! OH. MY. GOD.

    I … I have no words …

  42. Carrie says:

    “You know what’s really stupid, sir? Taking the time to email some woman you don’t know and be a whiny bitch about how she writes about her cat!”

    Best line ever.

  43. All hail my friend Mark

    … for taking a of Hope and turning it into the Obama poster. I didn’t even ask Mark to do it but we were all like, “does anyone know Photoshop??” (Here’s the whole thread). Mark just made this: I…

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