Cats are Outdoor Animals
As an author, I guess I’m supposed to love cats. However, had I not given birth to a bona fide cat person, I probably never would have had a cat of my own.
In my growing up years, cats were outdoor animals. This was especially true on my grandparents’ Kansas farm. Cats ran wild in the haymow to keep the mice population under control. I never remember being able to catch one. Nor did I particularly want to try. (I wasn’t into pain and their claws were like needles.)
Fast forward to when my daughter comes into my life and by the time she is three or four is dragging cats home that she finds in the neighborhood. “She doesn’t belong to anyone,” she would insist, holding a cat nearly as big as she was. “She was all by herself.”
I was mystified. Unlike me, she had absolutely no fear of claws.
Cats are Still Outdoor Animals
Upon our move to a rural area, I promised Rhonda she could have many cats. I was good to my word; and I learned how fast they could reproduce. Rhonda was in heaven. She was in fifth grade before I met another bona fide cat lover (an adult) and learned more about my daughter’s feline penchant. Her behavior began to make more sense to me. It was still a rule at our house that cats are outdoor animals.
When a kitten got lost – or worse yet, got killed – the agony and the grief this girl endured was difficult for me to fathom. My mind kept saying, “It’s just a cat.” But I never uttered those words aloud. She was absolutely crazy about cats.
Now a House Cat
Another fast forward (to post-divorce days), Rhonda and I are living together – along with her cat. She is now in her mid-twenties and the older she got, the smaller the house became. Also I wasn’t too pleased about there being a house cat in my midst. Rhonda was getting antsy as well, ready to fly the coop.
“I can’t wait till she has a place of her own,” I would mutter to myself, “for her and for her cat.”
“Help Me Choose a Cat…”
The day came. Rhonda moved into her own apartment. I was free to spread my writing and research work throughout the entire house (it was a small house). One month after she moved, I called her and said (I am not making this up), “Rhonda, would you please go to the SPCA with me and help me choose a cat?”
After her laughter died down she said she would. Now all these years later, I have been through three cats and have loved each one of them. Not like Rhonda loves them, but still and yet, in my own way I love them. And now it’s never just a cat.
So now, thanks to my daughter, I can join the legions of authors who are noted for their devotion to their feline friends.
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