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And Then There are Cats
I have always believed that one should own a dog and a cat. The dog will make you feel like you’re the queen of the world. The cat will remind you that you’re not.
A dog will read your emotions, shake uncontrollably when you’re crying or upset and nuzzle up close to you. He will feel a desperate need to ease your pain even if it means taking your pain on as his own. “Don’t cry,” he’ll say. “I’ll take your pain. I’ll cry for you.” A cat on the other hand is more likely to say – if they could talk, of course – “Pain this. I’ve got problems of my own.” But between the two extremes, your self-worth finds a happy balance.
As an adult my first pet was, in fact, a cat. My husband (at the time) and I went to the Humane Society looking for a kitten, and we found her. Gertie was a grey, brown and white tabby with longer back legs than front, like a Manx. Her tail curled over her back and the staff at the Humane Society had taken to calling her “Piglet.” It was an apt appellation in more ways than one considering her appetite. She loved her food. And she loved her freedom.
About a year after we adopted Gertie, we went back to the Humane Society, this time looking for a puppy, and he found us. There was a litter of lab mixes that were just at the barely adoptable age of eight weeks. Their cute factor was off the charts. But off in a corner cage my husband noticed another lab mix that was pushing four months old. I really wanted to raise a young puppy, with less history, less baggage and I was sure, a lot more malleability.
But this jet black puppy (except for a streak of white on his chest) just kept workin’ it with the tail wagging, and the perky ears. I remember making my case for the younger pup with my husband while we were standing outside the windowed puppy room. Every time I turned to look at the younger pups, my eyes were drawn to the corner cage and every time I looked at him his tail would start wagging and his ears . . . well, let’s just say he had the most hopeful ears I’ve ever seen. Needless to say, we named him Fred and took him home with us that very day.
Gertie was not amused. But once she realized that her status as “Alpha Cat” would not be challenged, Fred and Gertie got along just fine.