I never thought I’d have a cat. I’ve always been a dog person – bouncy, fun-loving friend for life is what you get with a dog. And, I confess, I always felt that utter devotion was a compelling character trait. I didn’t have anything against cats, I just didn’t see the point in them. They didn’t do anything – they were just there, often skittish, aloof and seemingly dismissive of me.
But then our two beloved pooches died of old age, within six months of one another, and we were bereft. I don’t need to explain to devoted pet owners what that feels like. Suddenly, our home was devoid of anything furrier than Gerry and, as affectionate as he is, I couldn’t expect him to bear the weight of attention I used to lavish on our dogs. I tried, but after a while he started to get a little twitchy.
Then the next door neighbours’ cats made themselves at home. Having noticed the house was no longer guarded by two big dogs, clearly they saw their chance.
At first it was a novelty for us, “Oh, look, next door’s cat has wandered in…”. Then it became commonplace, “Cats with you all day were they?” Then it became addictive, “Where are the cats? Have you seen the cats? They’re normally here by now. Is something wrong, do you think?”
When we moved house and had to leave them behind, I was bereft again. I even tried to get Gerry to go next door and ask the neighbours if they really wanted their cats. If not we’d be happy to take them off their hands. But in the end cooler heads prevailed (Gerry’s) and we bid them a sad farewell.
But I couldn’t leave it there – it was too late, the bug had well and truly bitten. So now we have Frank or Frankie Pantaloons as we call him, because of his fluffy back legs, and Pugsley or the Pugga Wugs as he’s commonly known (I know, revolting isn’t it? But these things are a compulsion when you have cats it seems).
Frank is a black and white tuxedo cat we got from a local pet rescue crowd and Pugsley is a big ginger bruiser we bought from the same place. Both have settled in and made us their servants, as is the natural order of things. They have become my constant writing compadres and each of them loves little more than stretching out on the desk or helping me to invent new words like “bfe93sj9ssb*bie” by walking across the keyboard. So, they’re creative geniuses as well.
Every so often, one of us will look at them lounging on the furniture and we’ll say, “We have cats” in a tone of mild bewilderment. But that’s what cats do – they get under your skin. So much so that they take die-hard dog fiends and turn them into indulgent, fawning serfs willing to do their every bidding. At least that’s what they did to us anyway.
Our two may at some point have a cat friendly dog to torment, but for now they’re the sole bearer of my attentions and they’re coping quite well. At least they haven’t started to get twitchy… not yet anyway.
*Do you have a cat-loving confession to make? Go on, get it off your chest you’re among friends.