Cat-fessions of a dog lover

I love my cat. There, I’ve said it.

I was, and am, a dog person. I’ve had dogs my whole life. From my highly intelligent and trainable border collie to my, let’s just say, more-‘independent’ purebred Siberian husky, to my loyal German shepherd husky mutt. Oh, how I have loved them all. Never in a hundred years did I think I could be equally won over by the relatively small, highly independent (and, therefore, seemingly-indifferent-to-human-companionship) domestic cat.

I looked at the plethora of cat photos on Facebook with only mild interest (likely the same reaction that friends without kids have towards all the baby and first-day-of-school pics). What’s the big deal? I thought. Then … a grey tabby kitten came into our lives around Christmas 2015. My two kids, ages 3 and 5 at the time, had long been asking for a cat. Living out of town, every time I emptied a mouse trap, the idea became more appealing. When I heard of a litter of kittens needing a home, I committed to taking one home.

There were some initial challenges. Hugo, the family dog, seemed intent on killing the kitten. We swifty purchased a muzzle and told the kids that if they didn’t become friends, our loyalties lay with our 8-year-old K-9.

However, it quickly became apparent that Hugo was all growl and no bite and that the kitten, despite its tiny size, could hold his own. They engaged in a territorial battle, the cat sometimes sitting atop the dog kennel, where Hugo sleeps at night, and the dog growling any time the cat walked by his food. Eventually, tensions lessened and, amazingly, they became friends! They still have their turf wars over food and beds, but they greet each other with a nose-to-nose sniff, in the yard, and the cat will even rub affectionately against Hugo’s side.

It was Dominic, our son, who named the kitten “Percy” (likely after the children’s train character). He quickly realized the play on words and we changed the spelling to Purrrcy to make it all the more phonetically obvious.

Both Dominic and Daniela (our daughter) have formed quite a bond with Purrrcy, who often sleeps in the crook of their bent legs. A cat in a bed! I never thought that was an appealing or hygienic idea … but I tell you, they grow on you.

Cats are undemanding and independent, yet affectionate. Sure, I loved my ever-energetic border collie, fetching for hours on end, but there is a calming quality to cats. They have an uncanny ability to find the comfiest spot in the house, whereupon they sprawl out comfortably. Their cat naps total 12 to 14 hours a day, providing a visual reminder to slow down and relax. Cats are pretty easy, as pets go—no human-lead exercise needed (if let outdoors), and no litter training (he just figured that one out). Did I mention they are quirky and offer comic relief?

We “live” on water and, to my surprise, Purrrcy often comes to the dock with the family. One day, he walked right off the dock … onto my kayak. Thus began my evening paddles with “cat on-board.” He doesn’t sit still. He saunters back and forth, from bow to stern, and even into the cockpit or onto my lap for a pat. If it gets windy, he positions himself behind me with his tail up my back to steady himself. He’s ever alert, watching the pike shooting out from the reeds, or the swans flying overhead. For me, my happy place is an evening paddle on a lake of glass. Add to that the companionship and novelty of a cat, swishing its tail back and forth across the bow, and I’m literally smiling while I paddle.

This will be our third winter since we brought Purrrcy home. I will admit that I now have many gigs of cat photos saved on my computer. My favourites are the which-of-these-things-does-not-belong series, whereupon we have found Purrrcy in odd places: between novels on the cluttered bookshelf, in the dishwasher, sprawled amidst tomato plants in the greenhouse, in the bottom of the clothes bin, atop a tall pile of freshly laundered and folded sheets—even in the woodstove with the coals still slightly warm! Cats do keep you entertained, that’s for sure.

Now don´t get me wrong … I still totally love my dogs, but Purrrcy the cat has clearly won us over and become part of the family. (I promise not to post too many photos to FB.)

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