I have always been, without hesitation, a dog person. My family’s choice of pet has been an assortment of mutts and purebreds, everything from Basset Hounds to our current menagerie of mixes. Cats have rarely entered the picture.
Granted my college roommate smuggled a kitten into our dorm Freshman year. A cute kitten; however, that cuteness dissipated when it elected my blanket as my litter box. Years later my pit bull mix Meg found a stray kitten and the two fell in love, but the cat ultimately ended up belonging to my then roommate and did not come with Meg and me when we went our separate ways.
It isn’t that I don’t like cats–I like most animals. For one thing I’m allergic to a number of cats. But moreover, as I often tell people, I prefer a dog’s personality. In a world where people spend so much time tearing each other down, I like to know when I come home, no matter what I have or haven’t done that day, I will have two living creatures that are ecstatic that I exist and came home to them. Some might call that insecurity. I’m fine with that.
My husband, on the other hand, likes both cats and dogs, but has a particular soft spot for the cats he grew up with. Grace, his calico, was part mother-part girlfriend. She was not a fan of me (or most other women in his life); however, her devotion to him was unbelievable.
This week though I officially became a cat owner. Our family went to the Lone Star Animal Sanctuary in search of a kitten. (The choice of a kitten was not because we wanted something younger and cuter; with two dogs and two children we figured it would be easier for a younger cat to adapt.) After meeting several candidates and discovering that my one-year old could open the cat cages, freeing the cats like something out of Rise of the Planet of the Apes, we finally settled on Cali, a three-year old calico.
Cali wasn’t actually one of the cats suggested to us. However, she picked my husband and once we got to know her, it was clear that she was meant to be with us. My children were overjoyed and I was happy that we could take home an older cat who had been at the shelter a long time.
Within the hour Cali became Sweet Caroline and took up residence on the second floor of our townhouse. Having never really lived with a cat for an extended time, I have now given a cat medication, cleaned a cat box, and am in the midst of a debate about the inhumanity of declawing. Just in the few days we’ve had her, I have also figured out a few things.
I am not generally a cat person because I have a cat personality. Rather than being friendly and social, I like my own space and I warm up to people in my own time and way. In that light I am very lucky to have a husband with a patient, cat courting personality. That he can balance two of us now, Sweet Caroline and myself, speaks volumes of his patience.
Any of the readers out there cat people? If so, any tips for this new cat owner?