Sunday, 12 September 2010

Which are you?

Are you a 'cat person'? Are you a 'dog person'? Maybe a 'both' or a 'neither' person. One thing is sure, I think all of us come down into one of the camps - we don't seem to be neutral.
I am both a dog and a cat person (and, dare I say, if I had a pet rabbit I would be a 'rabbit person' too). When I look back over the dogs I have known in my life I realise that they have collectively given me hours of pleasure.
But it is when I look back over cats I have known that my memory throws up such characters. Maybe because dogs are rather servile towards their owners whereas cats live up to the saying "I am the cat that walks alone. All places are alike to me," they are certainly characters. So let me tell you about a few I have known.
My first cat, Tim, was quite literally a survivor. His mother was killed when he was about three weeks old - run over outside our cottage. I reared Tim on the bottle and he grew into a sturdy, stocky cat who rarely ate cat food, preferring to hunt and bring home rabbits, which he ate starting at the head end and working his way down over several days. When we moved we left him with the new owners of the cottage and he lived to a ripe old age.
The next cat I had was a Seal point Siamese. When we bought him he was so scared that he stayed behind the piano for three days, refusing to come out. Accidentally I left my sun hat on the carpet and before I knew about it the cat saw it, crept out, curled up in it and went to sleep and he never looked back! There was no question about what he should be called. He was immediately christened "Sam-I-Am" after 'The Cat in the Hat comes Back' - the Doctor Seuss childrens' book.
Sam was a wonder cat, popular with the neighbours, always 'the perfect gentleman' when he had to stay in the cattery. He lived to a ripe old age and after he died we had another Siamese - Puss.
Everyone knew Puss. He established a territory and went round it each morning lifting the metallic lids from any milk left on doorsteps and drinking the cream by dipping his paw into the bottle and then licking the cream off. A whole street of houses had wire milk racks fitted on to their walls as a result!
His final fall from grace was when our neighbour had a "Strawberries and Cream" party. She had a silver strawberry dish with a tiny shelf holding a silver cream jug. The guests arrived for the party. She took them on a tour of the garden. When she came back into the room Puss was sitting in the middle of the strawberries, drinking the cream from the jug.
When the farmer and I first married, seventeen years ago, we adopted three adult cats from Cat Rescue. Their names when they came were Onyx, Madiera and Ernest - and the names stuck. Onyx only stayed a short while as he jumped into the back of a van in the yard delivering feed - the driver didn't know he was there until he got back to the feed merchant and poor Onyx jumped out, never to be seen again. After two years Madiera got run over by a tractor. Ernest lived out a long, happy and faithful life here, only dying about three years ago.
He was a tabby cat, quiet, unassuming, a good ratter and mouser and not very friendly. Just occasionally he would honour you by allowing you to stroke him, but on the whole he was just self-sufficient. The same applies to the two farm cats we have now.
But there are two other cats I have known, cats which belonged to my friend, Joan.
Romeo was a large very talkative tabby Tom who ruled the roost completely so that Ellington, his black companion, was always in his shadow. Sadly about a year ago
Romeo had a brain tumour and had to be put to sleep.
What happened to Ellington? My goodness me, has he come out of his shell! Ellington, since he has been the only cat in the household, has taken it over. He greets all visitors, inspects them, jumps on knees, pawing your hand out of the way if he needs to. He joins in every conversation - loudly. He demands to be fed and will not take no for an answer. And this weekend he has excelled himself.
Sometimes he leaves an offering outside my friend's bedroom door - maybe a mouse tail, or perhaps a pair of mouse kidneys, or a bird's wing - you know the sort of thing. My friend accepts the gift, wraps it in tissue paper and puts it in the bin, taking it as part of a cat-owning life.
So, what did he leave outside her door yesterday morning? She opened the door and there on the landing was a mouse trap, complete with a piece of cheese and a dead mouse, just taking a nibble from the cheese. Knowing how clever cats are I am now sure that what Ellington was saying was - you need to get one of these, then you can catch my breakfast for me and save me an awful lot of trouble!
Have you a cat story to tell?

23 comments:

Rare Lesser Spotted said...

Cat person here Weaver, my first cat (1957) was 'Tom' - he lived until he was 23. Todays two cats are Jack and Jill, ginger cats just five months old!
X

Jenn Jilks said...

Wonderful cat stories.

We have 3 rescue cats. All need to be moved 350 km to our new home next week. We have been planning and preparing them. Gonna be tricky! One we have been practicing picking it up. No, wrong, not 'we', hubby is the only person in the world that can pick her up. I'm sure I will have stories to tell next wekk!

Heather said...

What a fantastic post Pat. You are quite right, cats are real characters. I have always been a dog person, but since our youngest daughter left home and we inherited her cat Hamlet, and lost our dog to old age, he has wormed his way into our affections and now just about rules the household. Years ago we gave a home to a stray 'kitten' who, after a short time had three kittens herself for whom we found homes. The girls called her Little Em and she fitted in very nicely with our other cat and dog. We moved to a more rural setting and she would come home from hunting dragging half a rabbit, almost as big as herself. She would take it into the coal bunker where I couldn't get at it, and enjoy a feed in solitude. Sadly, she was run over just outside the house. I suppose I have become a dog and cat person.

The Poetry Bus said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Totalfeckineejit said...

DOGS! Great Aunt Mary used drown kittens in a barrel.(I'm not advocating this)

izzy said...

cats,dogs,chickens,ponies,goats(latter not at present-but talk about character!)
Just adore my 'family' I even have a barn chicken' who runs the place...She almost lost her life to foxes, and got exiled by our rooster. She has feathered feet and when she runs, oh heaven you are fit to die laughing ! Henrietta even bosses my cats around- (2 brothers born into unfortunate circumstances but fine now.) Everyone else is well loved but it would be too long to go into all the stories.

MorningAJ said...

Yo know what they say: Dogs have masters, cats have staff. And I'm staff to three rescue cats - all black!

Bovey Belle said...

AJ - you did make me laugh - "cats have staff" - do they?!!! We have 5 house cats, and then there are 5 strays. There is a constant supply of strays and I could write a book about our cats . . . I like dogs too, but we have agreed not to have any more (though if we did, it would be another Whippet).

Elizabeth said...

Loved your cat tales.
One day I will write an essay on noisy insistent Moroccan roof cats and their adventures.
Robert's favorite was Mr.Booger a disgusting, loyal, friendly old white-ish tom cat..........who occasionally broke into the house itself.....
and Mimi the only cat in the medina to wear a plastic collar after a little 'op'.
Gosh she was mean and ripped holes in the woman vet's arms......

Pondside said...

Great stories about your cats!
I'm a dog person - I like cats, but my daughter is deathly allergic, so we have a terrier that doesn't shed. Even if we could have cats, I think I'd still be a dog lover.

gleaner said...

Dog person here - I just watched the TV program 'Martin Clunes: Man and his Dogs' which was fantastic and illuminated how dogs have become man's best friend. I like cats but mainly for their entertaining mannerisms - aloofness and demanding attention behaviours etc

Von said...

As you probably know I'm a goose person, a bird person, cat person and a Greyhound person.If the truth be known a bird and animal person all round and have a blog to prove it!!
Love the mouse trap story!

Titus said...

Dog, dog, dog!
Lovely cat stories though; I don't dislike them, just don't wish for one.

George said...

It's a lay-down hand for me, Pat. Dogs, dogs, dogs. I don't think I could communicate with a cat. My wife, however, would own one of every species of animal if I did not object.

Reflections said...

Dog person first, animal lover in general. However, my allergies do not allow me to pursue the cat person part anymore.

Granny Sue said...

Dog person here, although the addition of two cats this year are making changes in that. I thought I just wanted them for mousers, but they are so entertaining and endearing. Not like dogs, certainly, but so funny and, I have to say, I think more intelligent.

ChrisJ said...

Anyone who knows me would say I'm a cat person, but it's not strictly true. I'm a cat person because I love dogs too much and could NEVER leave a dog in a kennel. My husband likes to travel, but with pets it's hard. So now we have no pets. But I told him if he ever has to put me in a home it had better be one that will accept a cat! -- or a goat -- or a donkey -- or anything that has fur.

Everton Terrace said...

Fun cat stories. I am both a dog and cat (and yes probably bunny given the chance). Just love all creatures. I grew up with both and have lived with both. This is the first time in my life I am without a pet, losing our last dog a few months ago. We will probably get a dog again as my husband prefers them to cats. I'm not sure I'm a pet bird person. Can't stand to see them in cages.

Titus said...

Weaver, your books went in the post this afternoon. Many thanks.

Everyday Goddess said...

I've never owned a cat or a dog, but I would love to!

I have owned two rabbits, and they were the most friendly, cuddly little beings ever! They were house trained and loved to scamper about, I could go on and on....

Just over from Derrick's, so nice to meet you.

Golden West said...

Our visiting cat, Thomas, has developed a hankering for roasted chicken and walks straight to the refrigerator in anticipation! He has trained us well!

Derrick said...

I suppose I'd be a 'neither' person, Weaver! Although my sisters have had both and my parents had a cat. Don't think I'd take kindly to the little presents though!

Gerry Snape said...

I'm a dog person who has only had cats for the last 30 years. I want a dog but the potter isn't keen...so there you go!