Airplane View: Lessons Learned from Our Cats

Originally written in 2004, this essay would likely enjoy a larger audience as part of a hubmob than sitting on a harddrive all alone.


Like most little girls, I loved cats, and especially Snowball. She was my very own cat. And not unlike many girls about four years old, I tested Snowball's patience by dressing her up in doll clothes and getting too close to her newborn kittens. But I never wanted to hurt my kitty; I just wanted to share my fun.

One of my favorite things as a small child was the exhilaration of an "airplane ride". My daddy, and sometimes my granddaddy, would hold me by the arms and spin around in a circle, letting me fly! I was bigger than Snowball, like the grownups were bigger than me. I thought she would like an airplane ride. But, lucky her! She had a tail! She would be able to spin and see the scenery! On my airplane rides, I could only see the face of my pilot.

We lived on a dead-end dirt road, and that road was my runway. I had plenty of room to spin without bumping into something-or bumping Snowball into something. But just after lift off, I heard Mama yell, "Stop!" She was screaming and running towards me. Startled, I let go, and Snowball flew away. She had a successful landing and taxied quickly out of sight. I thought my mother had scared her.

I was punished, though I don't really remember the details. I remember only the emotions: fear, surprise, the painful process of realizing what I had done. I honestly did not know I was hurting the cat, but I would not convince Mama of my good intentions. I don't think I even tried to justify what suddenly seemed so cruel.

Snowball forgave me. She was not seriously harmed, and she joined me for tea parties again, and she still let me pet her kittens. In fact, Snowball and I more easily reconciled our differences than my mother and I usually did. This is one of my earliest childhood memories, and while many details of the day have faded, an important lesson remained. Life is all about perspective, and children and cats have perspectives of their own.


Petey and Beaches were our first "children", before my human daughter came along. They tolerated her curiosity and affection with only an occasional swat when she tugged too hard at their fur. I figured the cats would set their own boundaries, and I used a soft voice if I had to step in with, "No, no, baby. That hurts the kitty."

As my daughter approaches womanhood, as tall as me now and developing curves that make me wince, I melt when I see her lift Charlie, our latest, most wonderfully tolerant cat, from a sleeping ball on the couch. He stretches, head back, in her arms, and she purrs into his neck before she cradles him to nap on her lap.

Copyright Dineane Whitaker 2008 - Please do not copy and paste this article, but feel free to post a link using this url:


Where you ever inadvertantly "cruel" to your childhood pet?

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Comments 7 comments

Dottie1 profile image

Dottie1 8 years ago from MA, USA

Hmmm...I never thought to give my cat an airplane ride, I only thought of glueing him to the rocking chair. lol The things we did because we loved our cats!

dineane profile image

dineane 8 years ago from North Carolina Author

Thanks for commenting, Dottie - I glad to know I wasn't the only "cruel" kid!

Melissa G profile image

Melissa G 8 years ago from Tempe, AZ

Ha! What a great hub! My sisters and I had a similar game we liked to play with our poor little kitty, Rascal, which involved putting him in the middle of a sheet, lifting up all four corners, and flinging him into the air! Wee! What fun! Wait... where are you going???

Poor thing... he ran into a busy street at a very young age to avoid any more years of our torturous abuse.

KT pdx profile image

KT pdx 8 years ago from Vancouver, WA, USA

I once made a collar out of knotted string for our Australian Shepherd. She, of course, was very tolerant of it, and would never have pulled, but Mom freaked out because she thought that I would strangle Trixi.

dineane profile image

dineane 8 years ago from North Carolina Author

Thanks for 'fessing up Melissa and KT - the comments so far have inspired me to add a poll. I'm feeling much less guilty the more I read :-)

Ryan Hupfer profile image

Ryan Hupfer 8 years ago from San Francisco, CA

Glad that you snagged this off your was probably getting lonely on there. :)

Thanks for being an awesome HubMobster!

dineane profile image

dineane 8 years ago from North Carolina Author

Thanks, Ryan!

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