There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats.
During my bout with cancer and its harsh treatments, two lifelines that got me through those painful and scary days and nights were my cat and my radio. I’ve been enamored with the radio since childhood, recalling like yesterday getting a bright blue transistor radio for my 10th birthday, and in my early teens, Grandpa Knudsen introducing me to a disc jockey at KGY radio station in Olympia, Washington, who showed me the intriguing electronics behind the music, and gave me an Elvin Bishop album. And as a young adult, I wanted to get into radio broadcasting, but that dream got lost in life’s demands and obligations.
I mostly turn on my radio to listen to KX FM, Laguna’s very own radio station. During those dark days of cancer, listening to the station’s shows spanning genres from bluegrass to alternative rock with my adorable cat companion, brawny Bobcat glued to my side was comforting.
Bobcat passed away two weeks before my cancer surgery. Convalescing without my cat pal brought a new level of misery to my situation. Listening to songs and behind-the-music stories told by radio hosts helped me to escape, but coping was much more difficult without a cat. After three months of mourning, I adopted Samantha Jo from the Laguna Beach Animal Shelter on April 2, 2021; just in time see me through my last chemo treatment and seven weeks of radiation. For the past year, we’ve been helping each other heal, as she came to me recovering from bladder stone surgery, which she had to undergo after being relinquished to the shelter.
A lot has changed since April of 2021. Back then, Samantha was skeptical of me; she was guarded and offered only intermittent affection. Today, she lounges on my desk as I work, prances along with me when I dance around the house, and snuggles next to me at night while I sleep.
When Samantha is anxious and fearful because of the noises made by blustery wind or crows hopping around on the roof, I ask Alexa to play “Calm my Cat” and the lullaby melodies put Samantha at ease. Music’s calming effects aren’t limited to just the human species.
Last spring it seemed I’d never feel good again. I was wishing for my hair, eyebrows and eyelashes to make their come-back, and I was wondering if I’d ever fit into my skinny jeans again, which were still baggy from so much weight loss.
What a difference time can make. After pulling through the agony of illness and loss with a little help from my radio and a sweet-faced kitty by my side, my long-lost dream came true. Two weeks ago, with styled short hair and wearing those skinny jeans that I can now barely zip, I co-hosted one of my favorite radio shows on KX FM, The Coast Highway Shuffle. For two hours, host Steve Reid played songs that I selected as we bantered about the powerful impact that music has on our lives.
And I couldn’t let living my dream slip by without playing a song about a cat. As “Tomcat”, a ditty about an old ring tailed tomcat who struts around town resounded in my headphones, my heart swelled with joy.
Music and cats. What a purrrfect way to rejoice!
If you missed the radio show, you can listen to the podcast! Listen to “Tomcat” by The Rooftop singers along with my entire playlist on: The Coast Highway Shuffle!