Love Me, Love My Cat

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I am most definitely a cat person. I adore cats and always have. When I was seven our neighbour’s cat had a litter of kittens. I still remember my excitement. Having viewed the kittens, I rushed home, rehearsing plausible arguments and heartfelt pleas in my head as I ran. In the end, I couldn’t believe that Mum gave in so easily. Especially after the goldfish episode. I imagine she prayed that my having a cat would not be as stressful as the goldfish debacle. All that shrieking: “Mum he’s swimming upside down again!”

So Fluffy came to be part of our family. The first in a long line of cats.

I was a cat person from an early age.
“Fluffy likes to be dressed up, Mum.”

I’ve been thinking about cats a lot lately. During the worst of my blasted cold, I remember thinking that a purring cat in my lap would be just the thing. Comforting. Restorative, even. When one is coughing and hacking or simply feeling low, there really is nothing like sitting in a patch of sunlight, feet up, with a cup of tea, a good book, and a cat in one’s lap.

The summer I was eight, and sick with hepatitis, I lugged Fluffy with me everywhere. I dressed her up in my doll’s nightgowns so she could be recuperating too. I remember Mum laughing at how she lay quietly, and never tried to squirm away.

Sometimes I had more than one cat. Like the beat-up looking, black and white tomcat who arrived at our door one day. I fed him, named him, and he stayed for months before wandering off again. He wasn’t allowed in the house, so I built him his own little house out of cardboard boxes, and was nonplussed when the adults all laughed at my “cat house.” Years later when we lived on the farm, my much younger cousin Davey did the same thing for our barn cats, and I finally got the joke. I lugged that old stray everywhere, just like I had lugged Fluffy, cuddled him, nuzzled him, and was sad when he left without saying goodbye. Mum used to sigh and say, “Susie always has an old cat stuck in her face.”

Me as a child, and one of my cats.
Me with “an old cat stuck in my face.”

One year my current cat ran away. It was a different time; things often happened to cats in those days. We lived in a semi-rural area, with lots of woods nearby, and cats roamed freely. When my cat ran away, I was devastated. I told all my friends at school to keep an eye out for him, described him in detail. So when my friend Cathy arrived back at school after lunch one day to say she was sure that my cat had turned up at her house, I was delighted. After school she ran home to get the cat and returned with him. I carried him home on the school bus, so excited to have Winkie back. I know, I know, I was not terribly clever with names.

Back at home I thought for a brief moment that Winkie did seem maybe a little smaller than I remembered. When Mum arrived from work, I told her the wonderful news, proffering Winkie for her approval. She rolled her eyes and said, “Susie, he’s not even the same colour.” Apparently, although I don’t remember this, I offered the rationale that due to the rain we’d had he might have faded. Still, against all odds I was allowed to keep him. But he had to have a new name, since he was not actually Winkie.

That weekend, my sister’s friend, Gail, and her boyfriend arrived triumphantly with another cat. Again, not Winkie. But a sweet, butterscotch and white stray that had camped out on their doorstep for a week or so. Having heard about my missing cat, Gail thought I should have her. And so she stayed as well. Good thing Winkie never came home. I think that three cats and four kids in a three-bedroom apartment would have put mum over the edge.

When we moved from our apartment to the farm after my mum married my step-father, I was over the moon. Not just my own room under the eaves of the old farmhouse, and horses, and acres of fields to roam… but cats. Lots of cats. Eventually the cats all migrated from the barn to the snug box newly placed in the back shed. I must admit that this was not met with enthusiasm by anyone but me. Barn cats were supposed to stay in the barn, apparently. I still remember those cats sleeping all in a tangled pile in that box. So cosy.

After I left home and lived in one apartment or another, I had to forgo cats for a while. Until I met Hubby. He had two cats. A fact that pleased me no end. That’s Doc below, having his afternoon nap with Hubby. Doc lived to be twenty-one. Part of his longevity, I think, must be attributed to his ability to sense when anyone was napping, anywhere in the house. Me, Hubby, a guest who might be staying with us. Whomever. Doc didn’t mind sleeping around. He had a very restful life. Ha.

Hubby’s other cat was hell on wheels. In a good way. Having spent the first five months of her residence at Hubby’s house holed up in the cedar hedge, afraid to come out except to eat, she’d been appropriately named Scaredy Cat. In the first few months I dated Hubby, I only heard about Scaredy, and occasionally heard her mew. She hid in the woodpile in the basement when I was there. Eventually, though, we became firm friends. In fact she was so affectionate, I used to laugh that she was like Velcro.

So, we had two cats. One for each of our laps. As I’ve said before, Hubby was definitely the man for me.

Hubby is definitely a cat person too.
Hubby is a cat man, which pleased me no end.

Not long after I moved in with Hubby, I was tested for allergies. I’d been sneezing, with red and itchy eyes for months. My doctor made an appointment with an allergist and I went off to be tested. Afterwards I rushed home to share the news. I was allergic to dust, a few trees, and… wait for it… cats.

When I came in the door that evening, Hubby was in the living room, reclined on the sofa in front of the fire. Doc was asleep on his chest. Scaredy, curled up on his thighs purring, lifted her head and blinked at me.

“I’m allergic to cats!” I blurted out. Hubby looked down at the two cats, and said drily, “What a shame, guys. Just when we were starting to get used to her.” Hardy har har. He’s such a funny man sometimes.

Actually, I think what he meant was: love me, love my cats. No worries there. Allergy shots and antihistamines were the obvious solutions to my problem.

Now, have a look at this little video from the Simon’s Cat collection, and tell me you didn’t laugh at that.

So, yeah. I am a cat person And so is Hubby. Although he’s also a dog person. I think that’s kind of like being ambidextrous. I like dogs. But I don’t go all mushy and silly around them like with cats.

I miss having cats. Especially when I’m sick, or reclined on the couch reading, which I’ve been doing a lot of this winter. But until we stop travelling so much, we’ll have to stay cat-less. It’s a trade off.

In the meantime, I shall worship other people’s cats. Watch Simon’s Cat videos. And jealously peruse the Instagram feeds of people lucky enough to own a cat. Sigh.

So, are you a cat person? Or a dog person? Or maybe you’re ambidextrous like Hubby? Do tell.

Linking up with Catherine at #ShareAllLinkup.

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28 thoughts on “Love Me, Love My Cat”

  1. Simon’s cat is great isn’t it . No need to tell you I’m a dog person . Our old family Scottie, Dusky , knew all my childhood secrets & consoled me through some hard times . She didn’t love everyone. Dad had to make a gate thing for the front door so she didn’t dash out & bite passers by . But she & I were inseparable & had lots of adventures . However there was also Fluffy the cat, yes Fluffy ! & I had enough love for her too . She slept on my bed every night until she produced a litter of kittens there & mum wasn’t happy .
    It is tricky when you are away a lot . We tried travelling after we got dogs but it didn’t work . Our minds were back home & we found ourselves counting the days to getting back . To be honest we had travelled an awful lot by then & seen most of what we wanted to see so it was no hardship to stay in the UK . We do have some trips abroad separately with family or friends but really we’ve moved happily into our dog phase . The Scottish Highlands always called to us .
    I do like Stu’s sense of humour . Love a man who makes me laugh – or a woman come to that .

  2. Susan is sleeping next to me at present. Her ears swivelled as I played the video but she is far too comfortable to move. I am sending this post to Correcto Man any second because he will nod with recognition. Susan’s favourite occupation is to check any shopping that comes into the house. She likes seeing what is in the post too. Unlike me, CM is both a dog and a cat man but my lines of demarcation are firmly drawn. I like dogs and enjoy their company but I don’t want to own one. That’s why I like cats – you never own them, they are always just passing through. I have lived alongside quite a few in my life and that never changes. I had a wanderer with the sunniest of natures who took himself off just because he wasn’t a settler. Fair do.

  3. I love all cats and dogs. We have always been cat people, as they are a little easier to leave for a few days, and tidier to clean up afterwards. The parrot? (Remember him Sue?) I was the only one who loved him! Currently I am a frequent babysitter of a great big purry furry cat named Hector who is Audrey’s. He hogs my side of the bed at night and starts my mornings with loud purring. Love those pics Sue!!

  4. Dog person here. Have always had dogs. At one time, I had five at the same time–three retrievers (the mom and two of her two sons), a doberman and a dachshund–as well as four children. In a small house. Me. Single mother. I was officially insane. The mom retriever (and I) managed to deliver a litter of seven puppies during one son’s 3rd birthday party. I might add that none of my friends ever topped that birthday party.
    As you can see, cats never really had a chance.
    PS–Found the rest of the litter good homes. Guess I know a lot of dog people.

  5. I realized I had cat allergies the summer I was 13 and babysitting for a couple with five kids. (Yes, it was a crazy year, but I was the oldest of six and they needed a commander. Ha!) The mom got them an adorable kitty and we all played with her endlessly. Sadly, I developed a cold that would start to abate on weekends, but then come rushing back on Mondays. Once I discovered it was an allergy to cats, the woman gave the kitty away, because where would she find another competent babysitter for five little kids (two still in diapers). Needless to say, the kids hated me for it.

    Both my daughters LOVE cats, and one has a bit of allergy herself but has somehow muscled through it. I, however, find my allergies getting worse as I age. But I’m not allergic to dogs (go figure) and I love our aging dog. It will be a sad day when he succumbs to his multiple health problems. Pets can be a real comfort, and when you’re sick or down – all the more.

  6. We always had a cat when I was growing up. Now we have a lot and I’m the official crazy old cat woman. I don’t believe cats are unfeeling, but they certainly don’t give the unconditional love that dogs do . we’ve had three dogs in all and it was like losing family when we lost one. Now we only have the cats but still can’t travel anywhere but someone would have to move in and take care of all their special needs. It is rather a bone ( forgive the pun ) of contention. Not to mention what it costs in food and the vet.
    I love them to bits,BUT there are days like today when not so much. My big fat tom has a weird phobia of electrical plugs , I think he views them as some kind of reptile. Today he went in a room where he’s not allowed, I went to pick him up, there was a plug nearby , he shot up n the air and lashed out at my hand. Now nursing a very sore hand with two large sticking plasters.
    Like your hubby mine is a cat person, no-one else would put up with me. Or I with him !

  7. I’m definitely a cat person and always have been. Our current fur babies, Cassie and Garden, keep our home lively for sure. I wrote a cat mystery which is on my blog now if you are interested. Click on over. It was fun to write. Enjoyed your post!

  8. I have so much in common with you. I also love clothes, reading and traveling. I also love cats and used to have one named Winkie. I like people’s names for pets, but my ex-husband did not, so the name Winkie was a compromise. No pets now due to traveling, but we do baby-sit a cat occasionally and for the last week a cat has been hanging around, looking in our windows.

    1. I wanted to name our last cat Georgie, after the character in the sixties movie Georgie girl. Our cat was a fair ginger. Thank goodness I didn’t. My husband reminded me of our neighbour’s husband, George, who had died the year before. Imagine how our poor neighbour would feel every time I shouted for Georgie out our back door?

  9. Love both dogs and cats-but not together. I’ve tried once,but my dog was deeply offended,jealous and didn’t want to communicate with me at all-so, the sweet kitten had to go to another home
    Life circumstances and travel are the reason why I didn’t take new members of the family after I’ve lost the old ones.
    Dottoressa

    1. It’s funny how many human emotions animals display. Our old cat used to ignore us for a few days when we came home from vacation. And he would let us know how he felt by sitting on the coffee table in the living room right in front of us, but with his back to us. Then when we reached out to pat him, he’d meow and run away. Definitely showing us he was not please with his abandonment. Ha. Hope you are passing the winter well in lovely Zagreb. 🙂

  10. As I read this sweet blog, I was impressed with the love and kindness of your mother. She certainly was unselfish and obviously saw the needs of your heart.
    Wise to travel as much as possible and then enjoy your cats when frequent travel becomes more difficult .

    1. Thanks, Pat. You are so right. And as a kid, I didn’t appreciate at the time how the mess I left when I “cleaned” the cat’s litter box created extra work for Mum. Not to mention the cost of cat food. For a single mother with four kids every penny counted. Plus she doesn’t even particularly like cats. 🙂

  11. I love both dogs and cats … but have never actually had a pet. Like you, I adopted a few strays over the years and begged to keep them but my mum seemed to be allergic to all animals … or so she said! Now, travelling means that I don’t think it would be fair to have a cat or a dog, especially as I wouldn’t want them to go to kennels or a cattery.
    My children have cats, which I adore and often look after when they’re away. My son up until recently had four! They adopt elderly, unwanted cats from a charity so they can give them lots of care and love in their remaining years …
    Stu’s comments and sense of humour make me laugh … and he cooks! You’re a lucky lady! 😊
    Rosie

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