In the grand divide between cat people and dog people, I’ve always been a dog person. My earliest memories include dogs, one or two after the other, consistently, from the time I could walk until the time I moved away from home.
These days I’m surrounded by cats. Even now as I write, I’m flanked by my two boy cats, Jack and Will. They like to guard me. When I anthropomorphize them, I chalk it up to their mutual testosterone levels. They like to bully each other and box with each other. My three girl cats routinely ignore them when they do this.
I think the girl cats are smarter.
How did a dog person end up with so many cats? A case of simple logistics: working full time didn’t leave me time for dog care. I still wanted pets, so cats seemed to make sense. We got two. Little did I know that they
were secretly Satan’s evil minions would take over my life.
As Ernest Hemingway put it, one cat just leads to another. Out here in the country, one cat often leads to five or six more. We were down to our elderly cats when Jack showed up one day, jumping out of the bushes and onto my lap. He lurked for three days before dashing in one fine day when my arms were full of groceries. He made a beeline for the couch cushion where one of my recently deceased cats used to sleep, curled up in her same preferred spot, and refused to budge. This is how strays become house cats. It was clearly a sign.
A few years later an adorable and very tiny kitten showed up, accompanied by one of the wild neighborhood males. She was skittish and unapproachable, but a week or so later I noticed she was remarkably bigger around the midsection. A week or two later she turned noticeably affectionate, and a few days after that had a (thankfully small) litter of three in my garage. The male is long since gone, but this kitten (Klondike) and her three even younger kittens (Will, Tawny, and Tabasco) stayed around. All the homes I had for these little beauties fell through. What else could I do but care for them?
One cat just leads to another. My elderly cats are now gone, but these five remain. I’ve always wanted to have a dog or dogs again, but these are not the kinds of cats who would take kindly to the upset. So I bide my time, secure in the knowledge that despite my cats (and I love them all), I stubbornly remain a dog person. One of these days, I’ll have dogs again.
It just won’t be today.