Living with Charlotte since September 2008 (this is the cat who was only supposed to live for six more months) has taught me many things about life, cats, this house, and myself, some of which I will share with you.
1. I exist to wait upon Charlotte. She has somehow worn down my resistance and now gets two small saucers of milk a day. (Don't yell at me. I know cats shouldn't have it; that's why I resisted at first. Then I was thinking, "Well, hell, she's only got six months to a year to live anyway, what harm is a little milk going to cause?" Now we're a little bit beyond that life expectancy (not that we're getting cocky about it) but it's now part of the ritual.
2. Bellies, even when exposed, are not for rubbing if you don't like the sight of your own blood.
3. Sometimes the gruffest exterior hides a marshmallow inside.
4. I am for snuggling with during the day. Jeff is for snuggling with at night. She rarely ever comes onto my side of the bed. Jeff thinks that she's ceded that side to me, but refuses to cede his side to him.
5. Charlotte is queen of the house, though she does freely and without a grudge acknowledge that I am second-in-command. (See #4.)
6. The Paw of Doom can terrify an entire household of animals and humans. (Paw raised above head, in a threatening manner. It rarely actually has to be deployed.)
7. One can indeed make a foe back down with the hatred in one's eyes if one focuses enough.
8. Sometimes it really pays off to take a chance on someone else. When I met Charlotte at the shelter, she bloodied my hand somewhat badly when I tried to pet her. (To her credit, there was a hellacious ruckus being made by some dogs in the next room over, and she was freaked OUT.) I saw a shelter worker come in and widen her eyes at the dripping red. I was highly concerned at that point that if I didn't take her after THAT stunt, that Charlotte might have become a candidate for being euthanized, and I decided to take a chance on her.
9. There are a variety of noises that a cat can make that don't involve meowing. Cats can grunt, thrum, and even gronk in a series of noises that are actually quite eloquent.
10. If you act like you are the queen, others have a way of falling in line and doing whatever you want them to do.