Are you a cat person or a dog person? For many years I had Siamese cats, which are almost a cross between the two. When I moved up here into the country, from a city, I made the mistake of bringing my Siamese with me. He adored my next door neighbour and she would have been delighted to take him, but I thought he would move happily. Sadly he didn't - he hated it up here and lived for only a short while. Although he was quite old I always felt he would have been happier staying behind. Whoever said, "I am the cat that walks alone - all places are alike to me" certainly didn't know my Sam. An amusing story about him, which I may have told you before -
My neighbour was rather posh and used to have little afternoon tea parties on her terrace during the school holidays (she was Head of French in a Girls' Grammar School). She set out the tea and then took her friends for a tour of her garden. When they got back to the table, our Siamese was sitting in the middle of a silver salver of strawberries eating from a jug of cream with his paw.
Once settled up here in the Dales I began to think it was a more suitable environment for dogs and so I bought my first dog, Algy - a black pug. He was adorable. Anyone who thinks pugs are lap dogs has never known one. As the owner of the kennels where we took him when we went on holiday said - he was more like a battery power pack!
Then some folk in our village went to work in Japan. They had a German Short Haired Pointed called Oscar and they called one day to ask if we would rehome him. We did and he was a wonderful dog. He got on well with Algy and guess who was the boss ??
If Oscar lay in front of the Aga on the rug and Algy came in, he would climb over Oscar and push has way to the nearest part. They never had a cross bark.
We also had a male tabby cat called Maxi, who got on well with both and spent most of his day curled up in a chair. That is until we got two new farm cats - Blackie and Creamy (guess what colour they were?) - within a month he had become an outdoor cat and obviously preferred it. Sadly he eventually got run over in most distressing circumstances, which I still can't bear to think about.
Algy died at a good old age and then four years ago Oscar also had to be put to sleep - again a good age for the breed. Then, after a week during which I couldn't bear a dogless house, we bought Tess, a Border Terrier, and what a joy she has been. And luckily she gets on very well with Tip, the farmer's Border Collie, who is himself a very good age and arthritic now.
People who are not 'animal people' miss such a lot in their lives in my opinion.
Regarding my son's cats - they are now down to one, Sinbad, who is himself a rescue cat who found them. He is the most beautiful, long-haired tortoiseshell, very affectionate. About two years ago he came in with a very badly damaged front leg - it seemed that someone with an air gun had shot at him. The vet had to amputate his left front leg which has left him quite disabled. He leads a very quiet life but seems happy and contented.