For The Love Of A Cat
Misconceptions I once held: Cats are independent & mysterious & selfish & nasty. Cats don't bond to people, & they really like to be left alone. Cats aren't really my kind of animal. Cats just are too, well, "cat-ish" for my taste.
Aside from the "nasty" adjective, these are some of the things I honestly thought about cats before I moved in to share a space with my friend Anne. Her cat Boots was a beauty. An older cat, she had diabetes & a bad back, & Anne taught me how to give Boots her twice daily insulin shots as well as her pain medication. I'd always thought of myself as more of a dog person, but Boots started to change my mind.
Don't get me wrong. As an animal lover, I've always liked cats, & part of me did find them fascinating. When I was a small girl, my family had two cats in succession. Sam, an orange tabby who we'd originally named Samantha but nicknamed Sam, until we realised that she was actually a he. Let's face it. Cats are NOT the easiest creatures to determine the gender of by most people. Pebbles was a white beauty, & I gave her that name. I don't remember Sam too well, but Pebbles I have a little bit of a memory of. I gave her that name, &, yes, she was named after Fred & Wilma Flinstone's daughter.
I think that I started to be turned off cats by a different Sam. This Sam was a Siamese tom who liked to go on top of our wood pile, which was in our carport under our kitchen window (we lived in a townhouse complex by this time & no longer had cats of our own) & spray the window. He was quite vocal, too, which I've since learned is a characteristic of the Siamese. Sam was a nasty cat, too, which I knew wasn't true of all cats. Still, he was definitely a deterrent away from all cats for me.
I haven't had a great deal of experience with cats. They've come to me because I usually don't try to get their attention. Then I moved into Anne's place, & Boots became a part of my daily life.
She was a sweet charcoal shorthaired beauty with white paws. Thus the nickname "Boots." Anne's from Belgium & had given her a name from her country, but she always called her puss puss Boots.
I remember how Boots loved to rub her cheeks on my mom's purse, which was a very soft leather. That was funny to me, but very endearing.
About a year after I joined Anne & Boots, I moved away. No cats were part of my daily acquaintance for a long time. I never really gave them a second thought unless someone told me about them. When Anne told me that she'd put Boots down, I was very sad for her & knew that the world had lost an exceptional cat. Still, that was about it for me, & I carried on.
Then in November 2008, I met the cat who would change my life & my view of cats.
Allen, my brother, & Danielle, his wife, have two black & white cats - Mungo, a Manx, & Mabel, a cat whose of mixed decent. Both are handsome cats, but Mabel, who's a boy but Danielle was sure was a girl when she & Allen got him, is a very elusive & shy beast. He's rarely seen by anyone outside that household. There's also Oogie Boogie, a terrier X, who barks a lot.
My parents & I were visiting Allen & Danielle for my brother's birthday in November 2008 & were chatting away, when in walks a small orange cat. Mom & Dad said that he was very much like our Sam, & Danielle told us the story of how the cat came to join their household.
One rainy night, Danielle & a friend were out & driving by the Duke of Dublin Irish Pub & Grill in Abbotsford, which is where I grew up & Allen & Danielle live. They saw a poor little beastie in a puddle outside the Pub & Danielle snatched him up. There was no collar or tag, & so there was no way of knowing who the creature belonged to. Danielle named him Dublin after the place where she found him, & she made a promise that she would keep the cat until a good home could be found for him.
On the aforementioned night, Dublin pretty well made a beeline for me. It was love at first site for both of us, & I found myself wanting him. He was very endearing, the way he propped his front paws up on the edge of the couch & his chin on my leg. I sat & petted him for a long time until he decided he wanted to meet my parents, too, but he returned to me. I said that I would ask my landlord & landlady if it'd be OK for me to have him. On the way home, Mom & Dad questioned me to make sure that I was sincere about this. Yes, I was.
I was given the approval, & so I told Danielle, & she & Allen made an appointment at the vet for him to be neutered & have his shots & anything else that needed to be done.
On Saturday 6 December 2008, I drove out to Abbotsford - about 45 minutes from where I live - & picked up my new roommate. He still had his collar on & he called out a few times on the way home, & I talked to him, & that was very soothing to him.
When we got home, I opened the door of the carrier that I'd borrowed & let him decide when it was right for him to come out. He sniffed a bit first to make sure that things were safe & looked around. I walked away but kept an eye on things to see what he would do. He left the carrier, sniffing as he went. I let him go wherever he wanted so that he could just explore to his heart's content.
A few days later, I removed the plastic collar he'd been wearing to keep himself from getting at his stitches, & he got his bearings. Once he'd reoriented himself to the freedom of having full use of his whiskers back, he started to tear around like a maniac. I wondered what I'd gotten myself into, but by this time there was no going back.
I was a cat mom, although I wouldn't admit it for over a year.
Since Dublin entered my life, things have been better in some ways. I don't feel loneliness like I used to sometimes. I have a creature in my life who loves me just as I am. Even if I'm feeling down or upset or in a bout of self pity, he accepts me just as I am. He's shown concern when I've been sick & weeping like a baby, & he's been ecstatic at my return when I'm gone all day & overnight. He shows appreciation when I do something he enjoys & he shows his utter disapproval when I don't give in to his demands.
Yes, there are frustrations - like when he's sick or has an accident (thankfully these things happen rarely), or is just acting like a brat & whining constantly about something or other - but these are far & few between, & the rest of the time things are good.
The benefits of Dublin living with me have been innumerable. I know that I could never really list everything that I love about my little puss puss, my bubbadoo, my liddow biddy Dublin. There really are too many, & some are unspeakably marvellous. However, I couldn't go back to living without him right now & have loads of love for him. I know that he loves me, too, unconditionally & know without a doubt that people who say that cats aren't as loving or loyal as dogs have never lived with a cat as precious as Dublin. The more I meet people who've been touched by cats in their lives the more I'm convinced that God put these precious creatures on the earth for all those who need a special touch from Him.
He's intelligent & sweet & loving & compassionate. He comes & gives me a head butt or rubs up against my leg just because he wants me to know that he loves me, & we spend literally hours together with him curled up on top of me.
I tell Dublin daily that I love him very much, & I thank God daily for him, one of the greatest blessings that God has ever bestowed upon me.