It didn’t start out this way. I was a dog person for the first half of my life – I grew up with dogs. I didn’t think about having a cat until I met a couple of Siamese in the early 1980s. Then we got Brio – the most dog-like cat you could have ever imagined – and a cat in spades besides. I was hooked, and after 33 years of being a cat staff member I wouldn’t have it any other way.
So what is it about cats that has turned my pet owner world around? Quite a few things, actually.
- A cat’s love for you is more subtle but it’s real. To know this you have to watch them and learn their language. A wagging tail does not mean the same thing as it does with a dog.
Hanging out where you are and snoozing next to you are more a cat’s speed. Also a cat’s love is based on equality rather than servitude so don’t expect anything less than genuine give and take. Mostly take. 🙂
- You can spoil a cat and you won’t get a behavioral problem. In fact the cushier a cat gets it, the more he likes it. Cats seem to luxuriate in warm places or soft pillows, and they love those treats.
- Cats don’t always do the expected. Why Mr. Oates likes to sleep in a bathroom sink rather than a cat bed is a mystery to me – he hasn’t decided to confide in me yet.
- Contemplative calm. When a cat is in his element, he’s not boisterous. It’s more a slow, heavy lidded eye blink and a peaceful countenance that tells you he’s in Zen City.
- That purr. That wonderful purr that heals pain, lowers blood pressure, calms everything within earshot, tells you that it’ll be OK, it’ll be OK. Nothing like it in the world.
- The sheer reliability of it all. Wake, hunt, eat, groom, sleep…rinse and repeat. No cat would have it any other way. And don’t try any changes, Buster. That includes new food, different litter, and above all trips to the vet.
- Cats are infinitely adaptable given time. Mr. Oates lost his home and family and spent some time in a cat shelter. That shook up his world but he’s sure got his Mojo back now.
- A head butt and a touch of a paw at 4 AM. Just checking to see if you’re still here. You can get the cat toys out later.
- The experience of living with a panther without minor inconveniences like being ripped limb from limb. No mice around either.
Two great feline pals in 33 years and now starting over with a guy who’s an amalgam of the first two. Talks like Brio, hunts like Sam. Loves his sinks. Go figure.