76 thoughts on “A real miracle: the laying-on of paws

  1. Our cat Ginger helped all my kids go to sleep by going with them to bed. He is no longer with us but he was a fabulous cat.

    1. Braised Jesus is okay, but I personally prefer barbecued Jesus. Slow roast that baby!

      On the other hand, if you’re braising the Jesus as the first step in making a stew, that’s pretty good, too.



      1. Never tried braised Jesus, but a frat brother back in college offered my cat, Israel, a bit of ham. Shocked, he couldn’t understand why the cat didn’t take him up on it.

          1. I wonder… It was nearly 40 years ago, now, but if I find another of my cats turns his/her nose up at pork, I’ll give shrimp a try. By the way, Israel was a stray, and when I found another like him, I named her Egypt. In my home, at least, the two got along fine.

              1. I can’t see the video (you tube is blocked round here ; is it a you tube?), but I’m feeling glad that I brought my “Skeptic Kitteh – findz deze noms unsatisfying [paws Ichthus symbol]” tee shirt. Should attract attention.

          1. Several of my current cats like grapes, but only as toys. There must be something to the consistency, size, and scent. They fairly bounce and give up juice when a fang breaks in.

          2. mustard greens?


            that reminds me, that cat (which, coincidentally since others had mentioned it, was a maine coon) also ate raisins.

            I never got around to seeing if it would like wine…

      2. I’ve done extensive research in zombie cuisine as I was trying to decide whether to attend some culinary institute or another. I am vouchsafed that braised is the preferred method of zombie preparation because it most closely approximates the steaming conditions in one’s mouth brought on by convection of hot air during transubstantiation.

  2. I’ve seen seen similar behaviour from my Maine Coon towards a friend’s baby. My interpretation was far less benign. Cats are carnivors with a taste for milk. Babie smell of milk. That wasn’t a blessing, it was a taste test.

    1. Maine coons are the puppy dogs of the cat world. I sometimes refer to them as “puppy cats.” Mine was…. Well, no better way to put it: If there is such a thing as a soul mate, he was it. And while I never had children, he loved children and other animals as much as I did, no matter what age. He wagged his tail in happy anticipation, running to the door if anyone knocked. He stayed by my side, shocked humans as he demonstrated a clear understanding of ordinary English, earned the description “human being in a cat suit”, and whenever I was under extreme stress, he either got sick for me or took care of me when I got sick. Imagine having the flu, and a huge, warm, purring fluff is curled around your head, reaching out a paw to gently and repeatedly touch your fingers. We were together 18 priceless years, and there is still a hole in my heart over him. Finally, five years after his passing, I’ve found another. Both, mind you, were homeless stray kittens. For this, I consider myself abundantly lucky.

      1. I’ve had some very affectionate cats too, and they’re about my speed. They’re person-like in their wanting to be affectionate but still demanding their ‘me’ time. I like that in people (and cats), and it’s why I’m not particularly fond of dogs – they’re too clingy.

        I have one cat who is essentially mostly imaginary given how infrequently she’s sighted. I have about a year old who I manage to find myself on the opposite side of no matter which direction I’m heading. If I walk towards the kitchen, he’s coming from it. If I’m leaving the kitchen, he’s heading towards – I think he just paces that stretch of the house warding off evil mouse dna infections (on which Abbie Smith yesterday wrote. Hitch was wrong; it’s not religious that poisons everything, it’s mouse dna contamination). He’s brave.

        Then there’s ‘my’ cat (as opposed to the community cats I earlier spoke of). This one is undoubtedly mine. Rather, I’m undoubtedly her property, and favorite person. She’ll ditch anyone if she’s getting face time and I happen around a corner. Some people think it’s love; it’s really because I’ve mastered the tuna can magic she so admires. (I only give her very, very, very scant tastes so as to not cause any bone problems for her).

        All of my cats have the appearance of understanding when I don’t feel well; they seem to linger more often when I’m under the weather than not. No doubt respecting that I’m an atheist, but waiting until I’m not looking to perform a healing on me.

        Your cat sounds like a real darling though.

  3. There’s nothing more soothing than drifting off to sleep next to a warm, purring cat.

    And isn’t that Basement Cat? Big ol’ softy!

    1. I’ll loan you my cat then. But she likes to nibble eyelids while one is sleeping. Also, she bites and will totally jump in the shower with you. She’s odd.

      1. Never heard of an eyelid nibbler. Biting’s just standard communication — Baihu and I are biting each other constantly.

        But jumping in the shower? Is she Siamese? Just a stray droplet from drying your hands is enough to get Baihu leaping in the air looking for the source of the indignation….


        1. She likes eyelids. And there is no snooze button on kitteh-chewing-the-eyelid.

          When she was a kitten, I trained her with a water pistol – and she took a liking to it. And yes, she’s Siamese (hence her name, Kheun). Anyway, she likes water. Leave the door open while showering and she’ll sometimes jump right in and play with the water as it bounces around.

          She’s just an all around oddball – a perfect fit in my home I must say.

    2. I don’t see how you can fall asleep with a cat on top of you. I have a nightly discussion about this with Clawed Monet. I CANNOT convince him of the difference between ON TOP OF, and NEXT TO. You’d think after five years, he’d get it. Eventually he gives in, but I know he’d rather not. Sigh. L

        1. It’s probably a lifetime of battling asthma that makes me uptight about anything heavy on me or anything around my face while I’m lying down. I enjoy having a cat in my lap while I’m sitting. L

          1. That would certainly make sense.

            Curiously enough, none of my cats have been all that fond of sitting in my lap in the normal lap cat position. Tamar liked to sit on the chair under my (bent) knee, and Baihu is especially fond of draping himself across my shoulders. I can get Baihu on my lap for a little while…but only on his back while I rub his belly….


        1. His brother was Pablo Picatso. But, they were feral, and while I managed to tame Clawed, Pablo was always wild and eventually ran away. L

          1. I have never had some people’s gift with naming things. Ever. It’s an ability I really admire in people. And those two names are outstandingly clever and funny.

            We have one feral cat who’s rather company averse. We call her, therefore, Ginger. Because she is. My cat is a black battle type Siamese cat, so we call her Kheun (closest translation we could find for her personality and what not).

            And then there’s Mr. Smittens, named by the youngest kid. No clue why, but it’s a damn slight better than her phase of naming everything Angel. Pet rock – Angel. New toy – Angel. All of her dolls – Angel. That was a horrid year.

            1. I could never have any two animals with the same name, especially not the goats. The goats all know their names, and if I go to the gate and call, the right one comes. I have to be careful that their names don’t sound too similar.

              So, I’ve had lots of practice over the years. L

              1. My goats, of course, all have different names. Well, I say mine. The kids’ goats which live here and I occasionally acknowledge exist all have individual names if someone asks. I just prefer to pretend they don’t exist.

  4. Those people are letting an emissary of Satan have free access to their baby’s frontal lobes? This will not end well. Is the mother’s name Rosemary by any chance?

  5. …the cat looks like a Havana Brown — the preference to use the paws to investigate and connect to the people around them is a breed trait; mine likes to sleep wrapped around my head with one paw over my eyes…

  6. …also I taught her to touch my chin when she wants a treat (she has to be sitting – cause it’s just rude to simply walk up to someone to stick a paw in their face); and then had to teach her “no more”…

  7. The great thing about using a cat for this is that, if faith healing fails, they will automatically switch to acupuncture.

  8. It’s a Christmas MIRACLE! Not only does that cat have baby-soothing powers but the kitty in the vid looks just like our MOCA! Could it be? Has our cat been hanging out with strange babies, soothing them to sleep and filming it all for youtube whenever we aren’t around to see it happen? Could be…could be….

    ; P

  9. My dearly departed cat was seldom friendly to anybody except me, but she would make an exception when one of my daughters had cramps–and it was always her idea, we had no idea how she knew she was needed!–she would climb on them and purr, and her body heat would pretty quickly cure them. We started calling her our medicinal cat.

    She NEVER allowed herself to be in the same room with a toddler, but one time when I was holding my 2-year-old nephew, who was crying inconsolably at night (away from his mommy), she climbed on my lap. He was so shocked–he’d always wanted to pet her but had barely even seen her as she streaked away!–but he dug his little hands into her fur. I was sure she would panic and claw me in her effort to get off my lap, but she stayed there all night, and we fell asleep all night long in the big rocker. Me, my nephew, with his hands clutching my very shy medicinal cat.

  10. This is why I initiated a blog poll asking atheists who owns and who owns dogs. I suspect that cats are more popular among the less religious and therefore most popular among atheists. It would be interesting to find out.

  11. Some years ago, we showed and bred Maine Coon Cats, but gave this up to breed boys instead. Our mother cat was caring for a litter when our first son arrived. Whenever the baby cried,Jo Willie the cat would run down the stairs with a harried look in her eyes, jump onto the kitchen counter and grab the steel wool pad. She would then run back up the stairs and deposit the pad in the baby’s crib. The feline crew often left mouse and garter snake bodies for the baby’s enjoyment.

    1. I wonder how the cat thought the steel wool would help. Did it attract your attention more easliy than other things? Was the MC just using it for leverage? Or did she seem to think it would help more directly? That’s quite a puzzler.

  12. Cat behavior 101 – that critter was inches away from chewing the baby’s skin off his head. (The crying probably overstimulated him). Another great parenting moment heard from. If he injures the baby you just know it’s the cat who will be driven to the shelter.

    1. Wow. Cynical. Dog person? Previous bad experience with a cat? The video doesn’t say or show if the cat in it is declawed, but if it’s not, it’s certainly keeping its claws retracted quite well. It shows no interest in biting. In fact, it’s not behaving aggressively at all. So, why all the worry? The camera proves this was a supervised situation.

      1. LOL! Definetly cynical. Not a cat hater though, in fact I was a vet nurse for ten years. Also study feliformes like cats and civets and am a true cat person. Just watch the video. Are the cat’s eyes dilated or contracted? Does he look relaxed or on high alert? At the very least, the cat’s claws were way too close to the baby’s eyes.

        I hope the cat was not declawed but even if it were, did they remove it’s teeth too? Holding a video camera and getting yourself on YouTube does not qualify as watchfulness. If the cat did decide to bite, they would not be a ble to react fast enough.

          1. Poll? No, but it sure wins points with me. Maybe I should look for a follow-up, to study the percentage of cat people who become atheists, and over what time range. 🙂

        1. I wondered if that was a cat in your arms, in your avatar/photo. So glad to hear your history! I imagine the videotaped cat had done this same thing to calm the baby enough times that its humans knew the routine. Oxytocin stimulated by the sound of a crying baby works across species, and even better for animals who are well fed to begin with. Now, if that were a cyring baby mouse found by a starving cat, my bet would be on the quick snack attack.

          1. Thanks for noticing – my avatar is a painting (strangely I could not find a credit for the artist anywhere) fitting also because I am a black cat fanatic. 😉

            I agree, I should have mentioned, this cat (along with most cats) is probably socialized enough that he or she would not put out its claws. But then again it’s an animal (i.e. nonhuman who does not speak English) therefore we cannot guarantee anything about its behavior so I would be more careful about its interaction around the baby.

            Hopefully no one concludes from my statement that cats should ever be declawed or abandoned at a shelter if one has a baby (or ever). They should not.

            1. About the black cat concept… I have four: three short-haired siblings fostered with their tuxedo sister, all permanently here, now, and one long haired Maine coon mix with the personality of a Rebel Without a Cause James Dean. I hear black cats are considered good luck, in England.

        2. I admit that cat also looked to me more like it was batting at a toy or an annoyance than trying to soothe the baby. When any of my cats look like that I know it’s time to stand back if I don’t want to be clawed or nibbled. I would be extremely nervous about letting a cat with that expression sit there batting at my kid’s face. Hopefully the adult humans involved in that situation know something about that cat that I don’t.

          1. Yes, they know that this cat apparently is unlike yours. My evidence is sketchy, but there does exist a video of this cat reacting to and not hurting baby. Actually, now that I think about it, you know something about this cat that they know too: it reacts to, but doesn’t hurt their baby.


            1. Er, yeah. My cats don’t hurt me every time they bat at me like that either. Just some of the times. And recently one of them managed to slightly scratch my cornea because I wasn’t as careful as I should have been when he was climbing over me and I hadn’t trimmed his claws as diligently as I should have. Just ’cause a cat doesn’t mean to hurt you, there’s no guarantee that it won’t do so unintentionally. And a baby is much less able to defend itself if the cat, deliberately or accidentally, begins to use its claws or fangs in a harmful way.

              I’m not saying that people with babies shouldn’t have cats, or that one shouldn’t let cats near a baby. All I’m saying is that this particular video looks to me like a potentially dangerous situation that just happened to work out okay once. Based only on the evidence of this single video, I would not be confident that similar situations involving this cat and this baby would reliably work out well in the future. If you have privileged access to some additional information about this cat which suggests otherwise, feel free to share. Otherwise, I don’t see any reason to retract my assessment, or to conclude anything other than that you’re just arguing for argument’s sake.

              1. I got a claw-to-the-eyeball as well, woke up to a huge double-paw flash of light because my cat was hungry and batting at my face. He is an extremely mellow cat but as you said, accidents happen. What’s more a new baby must be at least somewhat overwhelming for a companion animal, no matter how stable. I would be a bit more cautious if I were the parents.

              2. They were, of course, cautious enough to be holding the cat’s ocular attention throughout the video. The cat looks up for reaction, as though asking if he’s doing it (i.e., touching the baby) right. Certainly, each cat has its own unique personality, but this cat appears to have a strong rapport with its humans, enough to accept the baby as an extension of said humans and reason for oxytocin production, thereby.

              3. I do not assume the cat was not declawed. First of all, I explicitly said that I hope the adult humans know something about that cat that I don’t, which would include knowing that it was declawed (although I question the judgment of anyone who would do that to their cat). Second, the cat was also nipping at the kid, not just batting at it. Fangs are pointy too, you know.

                And, I don’t really see how “holding the cat’s ocular attention” is supposed to have anything whatsoever to do with whether or not the cat nips or claws the kid. There’s nothing about having a cat’s attention *now* that says anything about whether you’ll have that attention half a second from now, and furthermore, a cat that’s looking at me instead of what it’s batting at is a cat that’s not being careful with its claws. Moreover, its pupils were pretty dilated, which is not an indication of a calm cat.

                I’m not claiming that that situation was necessarily 100% certainly dangerous. As I suggested, it’s entirely possible that those adult humans have more context than I do for judging what’s going on there. All I’m saying is that what’s going on there is not obviously safe and does look a little bit questionable, so I’d be leery of entering my own kid into that situation. I’d be leery of entering my own cat into that situation too, for that matter, because if the kid *does* get hurt, there would be people calling for that cat’s head, or for it to be sent to the shelter. I love my cats too much to risk their safety that way.

            2. It is a cute video, and I am reluctant to pass judgement on a situation that I know nothing about beyond a few minutes of video. However, as someone who has had simultaneously had cats (a total of 10, 2-4 at a time) and babies (2) I have to say that this is not an interaction I would have been comfortable allowing between any of my cats and my babies (or anyone else’s babies). My cats, however, have always had their claws (though I keep them trimmed).

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