True Companions

The world can be divided into two categories: Pet People and Non-Pet People.  I am a Pet Person from birth.  My sisters and I grew up with varying numbers of dogs and cats. Yes, at the same time — my mother loves cats and we almost always had at least one, while my dad considered hunting dogs indispensable.  I like both cats and dogs, but I married a man who spent large chunks of his youth as a paperboy being chased by neighborhood dogs.  Ergo, our pets have always been felines.

The current non-human population of our home consists of two cats and a refugee gerbil from my oldest daughter’s dorm room. I have written thousands of words with one or both of our cats curled up beside (or on) me.  Nominally they belong to our children, who selected them as kittens from our local Humane Society.  (Unless you want a specific breed of animal for a particular reason, I strongly encourage adopting from a shelter.  Even if it charges fees for spaying/neutering and micro-chipping your new pet, it’s a bargain compared to pet stores and you are likely saving an animal’s life.)

Star is our Siamese mix (we believe the other part is moose).  She’s sort of like Dory from Finding Nemo, if Dory shed a lot and weighed 20 pounds.  Star suffers from short term memory loss, except when she can see the bottom of her food bowl.  At those times, her determination to get our attention and bring us to the site of the disaster would put Lassie to shame.  Star doesn’t care for laps, but she likes to curl up beside me when I write notes on the couch or when I sit downstairs at my desk.  Her weakness is clean socks, which she steals and hides in her lair under the bed.  We once found a dozen pairs there.

Tiger, our ‘plain ol’ cat’, is just plain rotten.  I knew this the first time I set eyes on him flipping  dried poo outof the litter box in his cubicle at the Humane Society and batting at it.  Unfortunately, when your 7-year-old looks up at you and says “But Mommy, he looked right in my eyes and said he wanted to come home with me,” you know you’re doomed.  Luckily for him, he grew up into a very handsome fellow with the softest fur ever, and he loves having a writer in the house.  When he’s not making himself comfortable on my lap, he’s happy to chase down the Evil Crinkly Balls of Paper after I wad up my notes or other scribblings.

The companionship of pets bring so much into our lives.  Their dependence on us calls forth our best qualities: love, caring and patience.  They love us unconditionally,  listen to us when we need to talk, and sometimes when we need to cry.  Food and a clean litter box are a small price to pay, though I’ll admit I could live without the hairballs.

Are you a dog person or a cat person? Or even a reptile person? (I have always found monitor lizards and smaller members of the constrictor family fascinating.) Tell me your favorite pet story or memory!


6 thoughts on “True Companions

  1. I love both cats and dogs but my heart was captured by a Miniature Schnauzer. I went to a kennel just to see what these little charmers were like. There was a pen with about five puppies romping all over and one little one sitting sadly in the corner. I asked what was wrong and the breeder told me that the pup had mites but they could be gotten rid of by taking him to a vet. He looked so sad…as if he knew no one would want him with the problem. That little sweetheart looked into my soul and captured my heart. He was my little soul mate. He was a perfect pet and everyone who knew him always remarked at how lucky I was. He was like a little tail…following me wherever I went in the house or yard. He gave me eight and a half years of absolute love and companionship. He passed away in 1977 and I miss him still. I believe that it was no accident that ‘dog’ is ‘God’ spelled backwards. There is no other living creature who loves us so completely and unconditionally?


    1. JMJ, your little guy sounds like he was very special indeed — what a blessing for both of you that you took him home that day!


  2. Ann, your writing here is a blessing to cats and lucky readers. JMJ has a lovely pet story, too.

    Growing up, we had cats. Midnight and Tarzan come to mind, named by brothers with big imaginations.

    My grandma always had great felines, big toms with personalities shaped by home cooking scraps and love. One cat was a skinny, mangy young stray that my cousin, Jeff, found in an ally and brought home to grandma. A vet trip later and her nursing skills built a healthy strapping cat,
    with kitchen privileges.

    My husband and I don’t have cats, just a succession of Schnauzers, mostly, and birds. A treasured yellow Indian Ringneck, Tweety, didn’t talk. Instead, when petted, he’d arch his back and purr like a cat. Our African Grey, Rookie, talks up a storm and does say, “Here, kitty, kitty–meow!”

    Life is surely better for us humans, sharing our homes with pets.


    1. Ahhh, pet names…kids come up with some good ones, don’t they, MJ? Still, I think the best cat name we’ve had was thought up by my husband, who named a regal gray adoptee Louis Catorze, The Rightful King of France (yes, he insisted on the entire name). We quickly shortened that mouthful to Louis Cat. (Or when we didn’t think anyone was listening, to WooWoo.)

      A bird that purrs! That is great!! He must have sensed that you’re a woman of vast cat experience.


  3. My cats are called Pipper,Totty,twopence,Tiny and Miss Ming who only has three legs thanks to the local constabulary and is the president/patron of our business Ming Books.The patron has to be black and white by tradition.Mossy is my dog a black labrador the picture of who is on facebook.

    Mr Mossy attended the birth of all the cats accept Pipper who is mother


    1. Cats and bookstores go together in my mind! Your lab sounds like quite the midwife, too. My dad’s best friend always used Labradors as hunting dogs because they’re good around families and other animals. They’re one of my favorite dog breeds. Thanks for stopping by, Robin.


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