Tuesday, August 3, 2010
I'm Not a Cat Person--A True Story
I’m really not a cat person and below is my true story.
by Christine Michaels
I’m not a cat person, so I adopted a kitten.
I’m not a cat person, so I adopted a second kitten (who passed away two years ago).
I’m not a cat person, so I joined Cat Network.
I’m not a cat person, and I help humanely trap homeless cats to get them spayed/neutered.
I’m not a cat person, and now I foster kittens.
I’m not a cat person, and I have cared for countless cats.
For years, I used to say I’m not a cat person. Then one weekday, while at the pet store shopping for dog food for my maltese dog, a young man was cradling a four- week old orange marmalade kitten and asked me “Would you like a kitten?” I said, “Me? No I’m not a cat person”. He then went on to explain that he found the kitten and already kept four other ones he found in earlier weeks. “It’s kitten season, and I just can’t have anymore cats and want to find this little guy a home”. Of course those milky blue eyes contrasting the orange fur just blankly looked at me and I replied “He’s so cute I’m sure someone at my office will want to keep him”.
So I took the kitten to work and walked around the office confident someone would instantly want him, love him, and make him part of their family. But it was a busy day and many employees were out in the field for various projects. When I took the kitten home, my dog, fell in love with the kitten. Instinctively she was nurturing and licking him like a mother and playing with him. I knew I wanted a playmate for Ma Cherie who’s long face and sad eyes ripped my heart every time I left for work. But I couldn’t have a second dog, mostly because my association did not allow more than one “pet”.
With time I discovered the kitten was the perfect solution. Ma Cherie had a playmate she long desired, and for me it was easier to care for the cat and not worry about walking it, grooming, bathing regularly, etc. So he was baptized with a French name of course, Jean Pierre. Naturally, I fell in love with the kitten. (For condo buildings that do not allow pets, I discovered many residents have cats because they don’t make noise, and you don’t have to walk them outside—the invisible pet).
So why did I say was not a cat person all those years? Upon reflecting, I would say it was out of ignorance. I never had a cat of my own to care for from kittenhood. Normally I would base my decision on other people’s cats. Soon I learned that cats have unique personalities, gestures, antics and so much more, just like dogs. In this case, Jean Pierre was more like a dog. He greets me at the door, just like Ma Cherie, and he rolls over on his back to scratch his belly. He’s also affectionate.
Then when I would take Ma Cherie with me shopping and on errands, Jean Pierre cried. He didn’t like being alone. So I adopted a second kitten, Pepe Francois. This was the next best decision. The three siblings played together, ate together and slept together. Jean Pierre never meowed again out of loneliness. Cat experts say it’s better to get two kittens than one. They are so right!
Pepe Francois had his own personality. He was more shy around strangers but he was my guardian angel, laying at my feet, crowned my head as I slept or perched on chair while I sat at my office desk. Sadly he passed away suddenly at five years of age. The heartache was too much to bear my outlet were both tears and writing a tribute to my baby boy.
But God works in mysterious ways. I lost one cat. And then I gained four.
I highly recommend adopting a cat as a playmate for owners of certain dogs. But I also recommend adopting two cats! Also, the advantage of adopting from the Cat Network (a South Florida non profit), is that you know the disposition, personality of the cats. Unlike other organizations where cats are kept in cages with limited human interaction, cats from Cat Network are nurtured in the loving homes of volunteers.
Now I am a cat person. Moreso, I proudly say I AM A CAT WOMAN!
So every time someone tells me they are not a cat person, I ask them why. Their story is a copy-cat of my story. Imagine that! They never raised a cat and based their decision on other cats (unless they have strong allergies to cats). So I share my story.
Most likely you are a cat person!