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Cat-aloguing Cat-astrophes

Dog Day reflections on feline companionship

This affectionate kitty loves people and rewards you with purrs when you pet him.
    So says The Capital.
    That’s a healthy note of skepticism you read in my words. Or perhaps it’s jealousy. For assertions like this one crank up a notch or 10 the friendly competition one newspaper editor feels on reading the pages of another paper.
    Can every cat featured in Adopt a Pet — not just the homeless little dreamcicle pictured above the caption for this SPCA waif — have all the qualities I’m missing at home?
    I’ve had good cats. More of them than I can enumerate in this space. But I have room enough to tell you about a few.
    Big Black Kitty, who jumped into my arms when I knocked on a graphologist’s door for our appointed interview, loved us with the devotion of a dog. In truth, he had many more virtues than Slip Mahoney, the beagle-German shepherd mix with whom he coexisted, and only one of Slip’s many vices. BBK craved bread, donuts and sweet rolls, as did the dog with whom he shared them after he’d skillfully liberated them.
    Big orange tiger Clapper was a lover too, full of purrs and cuddles. His vices were few, though he did bathe in bed. He did also awaken spouse or me from a sound sleep on the pretense of needing to go out when, in fact, he was angling for a midnight feeding. Otherwise, he was all kitty virtue.
    White Boy, whose 17 years I celebrated in these pages as they coexisted with that many years of Bay Weekly, mixed catitude with affection. If he had any kitty fears, I never saw them. He owned the house from his arrival, and guarded it from trespass. I have seen him leap on the back of neighbor dog Salty to chase him out of the yard. I have also seen him bite the grandchildren. Still, he seldom bit hard, and he cultivated good human company.
    All three of those cats and many more we had from kittenhood, so we got the best of them in the beginning and over many years.
    Now, I’ve apparently used up my share of good cats, because the two who dwell with me display none of the qualities that make a cat desirable.
    The haughty Miss Ouri, a long-haired tortoiseshell who came to us from the woods, has looks but lacks charm. She follows her own clock, which is never synchronized with mine. If you displease her — and who knows why or when — she punishes you with tooth and claw.
    Worse is Jungle Bob, above. For a plain pinkish cat born under a propane tank in Rose Haven, Bob has high expectations: meals on demand, unrestricted entrance and egress, immaculate litter boxes, soft cushions and deep rugs — all with no repayment. Bob has never purred, barely tolerates a touch and patrols passageways with the long paw and sharp claw. From acrobatic kittenhood (hence his name), he’s grown into indolent adolescence. No worries that his love is tunaffection: He has no love to give. He ambushes Missy and ignores us. Only Moe the 100-or-so-pound Lab has his regard, and Bob brushes him coming and going.
    The kitties in the paper purr loudly in return
    For scraps of human attention, a reward for which I yearn.
    They have exotic markings like dark, deep jungle cats.
    Dull Bob opens an eye in indifference. Endearment — he wants none of that.
    Woe is me; of all the good cats that need homes, none has lately come to my home.
    If you need a good cat or dog, the kind I admire in Adopt a Pet, you’ll find guidance in Shelter and Support—Resources for Companion Animals and Their Humans (page 2) and Rescuing Teddy (page 5) in this week’s paper, our annual Dog Days issue.

Sandra Olivetti Martin
Editor and publisher; [email protected]